The NRA is holding a Friday news conference to discuss last week's shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.
President Obama says he'll support legislation that reinstates the assault weapons ban.
There are deep divisions on gun control legislation in Minnesota's congressional delegation.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz says he could support legislation that limits the sale of assault style weapons and large ammunition magazines.
Gun control is also an iffy proposal at the State Capitol.
The Star Tribune says Anoka County set a record for gun permit applications in one-day.
It's all about having a backup plan, says GOP House Speaker John Boehner (who isn't abandoning talks with President Obama). But the Washington Post says Senate Democrats and President Obama don't like the backup plan.
Politico says Boehner's move puts the Farm Bill in doubt. DFL Rep. Collin Peterson is mentioned.
Meanwhile, President Obama reported proposed changing how inflation is factored into Social Security. Politico says the move upset some Democrats.
Under the Dome
It's pretty quiet at the State Capitol. The House of Representatives is still moving offices in preparation of the new session.
Gov. Dayton will meet privately today with commissioners and staff to discuss his plans for the two-year budget. MPR says sales tax changes could be part of the discussion in the upcoming session.
Worth a read: Check out MPR's series on the difficulties of teaching a growing number of international students in Minnesota's schools.
The Star Tribune says the Met Council is set to yank a rail contract with URS.
Golden Valley approved a fourth light-rail route.
The Duluth News Tribune says the St. Louis Count Board approved a Boundary Waters land swap with the federal government.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann wants the Cold Spring Post Office renamed for slain police officer Tommy Decker
The 911 transcripts of the shooting are released.0 Comments)
Will there be a deal in Washington by the end of the year to avoid automatic spending cuts and tax increases? Call it a fiscal cliffhanger.
The details of a possible deal are changing by the hour, but there's a chance a plan to slow the growth of spending on Social Security benefits will be part of the final package, a proposal President Barack Obama has put on the table.
Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District Rep. Keith Ellison isn't hot on the idea. As co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, he says the proposal will mean big cuts to benefits.
"The current average earned benefit for a 65 year old on Social Security is $17,134," Ellison said in a statement. "Using chained CPI will result in a $6,000 loss for retirees in the first fifteen years of retirement and adds up to a $16,000 loss over twenty-five years."
Seniors will see smaller benefits under the proposed Social Security plan - the administration estimates its proposal would save about $122 billion - but it's difficult to say exactly how much of a cut that would mean per beneficiary.
Currently, Social Security benefits fluctuate with the price of goods. When the cost of goods goes up, so does the benefit.
Obama has proposed switching to the chained-CPI, an inflation measure that assumes beneficiaries buy less or stop buying a product when its price goes up. For instance, when the price of beef increases, the chained CPI assumes people buy chicken, which is cheaper, instead.
That means benefits would continue to go up, but at a slower rate. As a beneficiary gets older, benefits would get smaller compared to current law.
Among other prominent fiscal experts, the chained CPI is favored by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairs of Obama's Deficit Commission, as well as some conservative groups.
Ellison is among those who say says using the chained CPI it will mean big cuts to Social Security benefits.
Most agree that beneficiaries will see smaller Social Security checks. But estimates vary partly because they include different assumptions about how much the chained CPI index would increase annually, partly because different groups look at different time frames, and partly because some estimates, including the one Ellison is relying on, look at the cumulative loss over time rather than annual losses.
Ellison's numbers come from Social Security Works, a group that wants to increase benefits for the elderly and is supported by an array of labor and liberal groups, including MoveOn.org. It looks at the cumulative loss in benefits over different time periods to come up with that estimate.
AARP, which also opposes switching to the chained CPI, estimates that benefits would be 2.9 percent lower than current law after 10 years in the program, and 8.4 percent lower after being in the program for 30 years.
Meanwhile, Marc Goldwein, who is Senior Policy Director, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a group that supports the chained CPI and that Simpson and Bowles are both involved in predicts that, over 10 years, the average Social Security earner would see his or her benefits go up $4,000 under current law but only $3,400 under the chained CPI plan, which is about a $600 loss in year 10.
Goldwein also points out that many chained CPI proposals, including the Simpson-Bowles plan, include a benefit "bump" for those who have been in the program long enough, which helps offset some benefit losses.
There are a variety of estimates that use a variety of assumptions to predict how dramatically the chained CPI would affect Social Security benefits. Ellison's comes from a group that opposes switching to the chained CPI and is backed by partisan organizations.
But that's not to say that seniors won't see smaller benefits under the new plan. The question is just how much smaller.
As a result, this claim is rated inconclusive.
Social Security Works, Social Security COLA Cut: A Benefit Cut Affecting Everyone, accessed Dec. 18, 2012
The Washington Post, Everything you need to know about the chained CPI in one post, by Dylan Matthews on December 11, 2012
The Social Security Administration, Monthly Statistical Snapshot, Nov. 2012
Politico, What is chained CPI?, by Ginger Gibson, Dec. 18, 2012
The Social Security Administration, letter to Rep. Xavier Becerra, June 2011
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Measuring Up: The Case for the Chained CPI, by Adam Rosenberg and Marc Goldwein
The Heritage Foundation, Social Security's COLA needs to be more accurate, by David John, July 11, 2011
Email exchange, Jeremy Slevin, spokesman, Rep. Keith Ellison, Dec. 18, 2012
Interview, Marc Goldwein, Dec. 18, 20121 Comments)
Democrats in the Minnesota House have announced plans to establish a new bipartisan jobs panel for the 2013 session.
House Speaker-Designate Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said in a news release today that Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, will chair the Speaker's Select Committee on Living Wage Jobs. Thissen said the group of DFL and Republican lawmakers will research, investigate, report and propose legislation to address the decline of living wage jobs, and look for ways to grow the economy and strengthen the middle class.
"Minnesota's economic success hinges on the ability of hardworking Minnesotans to earn a decent living and provide for their family, but that basic bargain has been chipped away for many middle class Minnesotans," Thissen said. "I am confident this committee will bring good ideas to the Legislature so that we can grow our economy from the middle out and move this state forward."
Rep. Winkler said he plans to hold hearings in St. Paul and other regions of the state to gather ideas.
State Rep. Terry Morrow, DFL-St. Peter, announced today that he will vacate his seat before the start of the 2013 Legislative session on Jan. 8.
Morrow said he's taking a job in Chicago as legislative director for the Uniform Law Commission. The ULC is a non-partisan organization that provides model legislation to states. Morrow also is resigning his faculty position at Gustavus Adolphus College. He said it was a difficult decision, but he's excited about the new job.
"For someone who's a lawyer, a legislator and an academic it was the perfect mix of skills and a wonderful opportunity," Morrow said. "I'm very grateful to them."
Morrow just won a fourth term in the Minnesota House. He ran unopposed for re-election. Gov. Mark Dayton will call a special election in House District 19A. Morrow said he's optimistic that some good candidates will come forward.
"There are a lot of great people here who can step in and be a wonderful representative," he said. "So, I know folks here are going to be in good hands for a long time to come."(1 Comments)