Mayo Clinic seeks state help for major Rochester expansion (MPR News)
Clinic leaders propose $5 billion investment in Rochester to build a "destination medical center" and add up to 45,000 jobs statewide. They'll seek $585 million in public spending to pay for public parking, transportation, other infrastructure.
State working on adding 145,000 to Medicaid rolls (Star Tribune)
"Dayton's budget would expand the Medical Assistance program -- Minnesota's version of Medicaid saving the state $143 million, as the federal government picks up the tab for health care that the state, or local emergency rooms, now provide."
State Supreme Court says post calling doctor 'a tool' is protected speech (Associated Press)
Court dismisses claims of Duluth neurologist who took offense when a patient's son posted critical remarks about him on rate-your-doctor websites, reversing a state Appeals Court decision that would have allowed the suit to go to trial.
President to push gun plan during Minneapolis visit (Star Tribune)
"President Obama will meet with local leaders and law enforcement in Minneapolis on Monday to discuss his plans to reduce gun violence, a White House spokeswoman says."
Ex-GOP Rep. Mark Kennedy criticizes tea party, Occupy movements (St. Cloud Times)
Kennedy, who served in Congress from 2001 to 2007, wouldn't "judge the objectives of the tea party but said its tactics have not been effective. He also said the tea party and the Occupy movement have contributed to congressional paralysis."
Some families to be priced out of health overhaul (Associated Press)
Senate hearing on guns suggests an uphill fight on new limits (New York Times)
Is Hillary Clinton closing the door on politics? (CBS News)
Gun supporters expect to pack legislative hearings
Gun rights backers are putting out the word to pack hearings next week at the Capitol.
The House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee on Tuesday starts three days of hearings focus on universal background checks, restrictions on high capacity ammunition magazine and other sensitive gun topics.
The NRA Institute for Legislative Action, worried Minnesota may put new restrictions on firearms, is spreading the word to members to show up in force next week at the hearings. A bigger hearing room may be required.(0 Comments)
WASHINGTON - One of the most deep-pocketed Democratic outside spending groups of the 2012 campaign has put out a new list of House Republican lawmakers it plans to target in 2014, and Minnesota's Michele Bachmann and John Kline are both on it.
The House Majority PAC spent $35.4 million in the 2012 election cycle, mostly running negative ads against Republican House members, according the Center for Responsive Politics. The group spent nearly $1.5 million in Minnesota's 8th District in the successful effort to unseat U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack.
While Kline won his race last year against Democrat Mike Obermueller 54-46 percent, Democrats see an opening in the 2nd District because redistricting added Democratic-friendly areas such as South St. Paul to the district. Overall, the district also narrowly supported Barack Obama for president over GOP challenger Mitt Romney, a sign that a Democrat could take the seat.
Bachmann's district is far more conservative, having voted for Romney 56-41 percent, but her personal popularity in the area appears to have taken a hit. She only narrowly eked out a win against DFL challenger Jim Graves with a margin of a little more than 4,000 votes.(0 Comments)
WASHINGTON - A new Congress usually means a game of musical chairs with committee assignments and this time, DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has come out holding the top slot on the Senate Judiciary Committee's Antitrust Subcommittee.
In addition to overseeing the work of the Department of Justice's antitrust enforcers, the subcommittee also oversee the Federal Trade Commission and reviews the state of competition in various industries.
Before this subcommittee, Klobuchar had chaired another panel with oversight over the federal court system.
High-profile hearings in the last Congress helped scuttle a planned merger between AT&T and T-Mobile.
Fellow Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, also a Democrat, keeps his top slot on a subcommittee that looks at the relationship between law and technology.(0 Comments)
Democrats in the Minnesota House are proposing to change how the House operates during floor debates.
The plan would require proposed amendments to be filed 24 hours before the debate on a bill starts. It's a dramatic departure from current rules that allow members to draft and propose changes to legislation as members are debating it.
House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, said she's making the change to give lawmakers and the public more time to consider proposed changes to legislation.
"The floor debate is where Minnesotans have the least amount of access," Murphy said. "When amendments are being drafted on the floor and then debated on the floor, it's hard for representatives to be able to talk to constituents and get answers to questions as to what it means."
Murphy chairs the House Rules Committee, where the rule change is likely to be debated today.
Republicans are furious with the proposal.
"What they're doing here is Washington-style politics," said House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. "I don't think anybody thinks that government in Washington runs better than Minnesota. Why are we going to Washington-style rules?"
Daudt says the plan would also limit a lawmaker's ability to take the temperature of the public on a particular bill. For example, he said there have been times when lawmakers have heard ideas from lobbyists and constituents that were eventually drafted as amendments.
"As interactive as we are in today's day and age, constituents can call us or text us or Facebook us or Twitter us and say there's a huge problem with this bill," Daudt said. "This basically removes the public from participating in debate over the last 24 hours."
Daudt said Democrats are afraid of robust debate. But Murphy argued there won't be any restrictions on the length of floor debates. She said the change would just allow lawmakers to be fully informed as they prepare to debate a bill.
"We think that giving everyone access to the amendments before the debate will allow us to facilitate the discussion," Murphy said.
Murphy said the proposed rules would also restrict reintroducing amendments that have already been voted on by the full House.
It isn't clear whether the proposed changes would lengthen or reduce the time it takes for the House to debate a bill.
Gov. Mark Dayton will lead a group of Minnesota businesses on a trade mission to Germany, Sweden and Norway June 12-21, his office said today.
The group will meet with business leaders and government officials in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Oslo and Stockholm.
From the governor's office:
The goal of the trade mission is to increase state exports, attract foreign direct investment opportunities, and connect with potential customers and longstanding partners in Europe and Scandinavia.The three countries are "vital trade partners that account for nearly $1 billion in annual exports from Minnesota," the governor's office said. (0 Comments)
Minnesota exports are a growing part of the state's economic development strategy, reaching a record $20.3 billion in 2011. Minnesota exports have set quarterly records for eight straight quarters and are expected to post another annual record when final figures are tabulated for 2012.
A Minnesota House committee is considering a bill that would allow significantly more people to vote by absentee ballot beginning in 2014.
Under the measure, eligible voters could get an absentee ballot without stating a reason why they can't vote in person at their neighborhood polling place on Election Day. Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park, told members of the House Election Committee today that his no-excuse absentee voting bill would put Minnesota in line with 27 other states. Simon said the current absentee system is unenforceable.
"My point of view is that we shouldn't make lawbreakers out of the folks who for reasons of convenience or otherwise choose to vote absentee," Simon said. "As long as we have integrity protections in place, I think it's important that we make voting reasonably convenient for increasingly busy people."
The proposal differs from so-called "early voting" laws that require voters to place their ballots into a secure machine ahead of Election Day. An absentee system gives voters a period of time to change their ballot if they choose to.
Simon, who chairs the committee, said he thinks there can be bipartisan support for his bill, since that's the threshold DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has set for signing any election bills into law.
But Republicans aren't yet ready to make any commitments. House Minority Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said he wants to make sure that the bill is solving a real problem, and that the proposed changes don't place any unnecessary burdens on local election officials. Daudt is also mindful of the governor's requirement for bipartisanship.
"That gives us a little power, that if we don't put up any votes that these things aren't going to happen," Daudt said. We want to make sure that we're giving all of these issues and arguements due consideration before we say yes or no."
The elections committee plans to take additional testimony on the bill and several amendments at a later date.(2 Comments)