Supporters of same-sex marriage unveil legislation today at the Capitol.
Hundreds of water permit holders pump more than allowed (MPR News)
"Over the last six years, hundreds of individuals, businesses and even state agencies have pumped billions more gallons than permits allow. Even in a drought, violators face few consequences; DNR concedes there's little enforcement."
Minnesota legislators brace for more bad budget news Thursday (Star Tribune)
"The state's slow economic recovery remains stronger than many states, but bruising political fights in Washington over the so-called fiscal cliff, automatic budget reductions and the debt ceiling continue to weigh on the economic outlook."
Big giving by wealthy shaped Minnesota's '12 campaigns (Star Tribune)
"Three donors are responsible for nearly $6 million of the $9 million given by the top 25 donors to state parties and campaign committees in the 2012 election cycle, according to a Star Tribune analysis of campaign finance records."
School officials turn down lawmakers' repayment offer (MPR News)
"Lawmakers are offering to pay back the money they borrowed from schools, but education officials say they'd prefer the state use its money to provide new funding for schools, money that would likely continue into the future."
Frac sand moratorium bill passes first legislative stop (Associated Press)
"A state Senate committee approved a one-year moratorium on new silica sand mines on Tuesday as part of a senator's broader effort to increase oversight of the booming industry. The bill passed on an 8-4, party-line vote."
Tighter Financial Controls in Mayo Expansion Bill (Associated Press)
"The public dollars would pay for infrastructure upgrades associated with Mayo Clinic's planned expansion. Lawmakers added language requiring consulting arrangements and other contracts using the public money be subject to state audits."
Justices turn back challenge to broader U.S. eavesdropping (New York Times).
The repeal Obamacare chorus quiets (Politico)
Poll: 87 percent say never OK to cheat on taxes (Associated Press)
GOP activist Pat Anderson: Minn. Republicans should back same-sex marriage
In a Pioneer Press column, Pat Anderson, a leading GOP voice in Minnesota and former state auditor, urges Republicans to support same-sex marriage.
"We're not losing elections because our principles are weak, and we're not losing young voters because our message isn't relevant to them. Conservative principles of limited government, individual liberty and personal responsibility are more important now than ever," she said in the column published Tuesday.
"We're struggling as a party because we continue to dangerously alienate significant groups of Minnesotans -- including same-sex couples and the people who know and love them."
Biden taps Minnesota native as next National Security Advisor
A Minnesota native already runs the White House staff. Now another will become the top national security aide to Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden named Jake Sullivan to be his new national security adviser on Tuesday. Sullivan, who's from Minneapolis, comes to the White House from the State Department, where he served as the head of the highly influential Policy Planning Department and also worked as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's deputy chief of staff.
Sullivan also worked on Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign and served briefly as U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar's chief counsel.
Last month President Obama named Stillwater native Denis McDonough as White House chief of staff. -- Brett Neely(0 Comments)
WASHINGTON - Keith Ellison, one of the most liberal Democrats in the U.S. House, went into the lion's den on Tuesday night, appearing on conservative commentator Sean Hannity's television show on Fox News.
The result was "an epic battle" according to one blogger at The Atlantic. The pair were supposed to discuss the coming automatic, across-the-board budget cuts that begin March 1.
Ellison fired the shot first, calling Hannity, "the worst excuse for a journalist I've ever seen," and then continued to pour on the invective.
Hannity eventually countered, calling Ellison, "a total waste of time."
While the interview made for possibly cringe-worthy television, the episode will likely energize the most conservative and liberal supporters of both men.
You can watch the fireworks for yourself here (via
Two DFL lawmakers from Minneapolis unveiled legislation today that would legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Karen Clark outlined their proposal during a State Capitol news conference, surrounded by supportive clergy members and families. The effort follows last November's defeat of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Dibble said the legislation affirms the things that people share throughout the state.
"This is a day to be very very proud to be a Minnesotan," Dibble said. "Because Minnesotans have rallied around this unifying, this clarifying discussion about the power of love in our lives."
Dibble said he doesn't know if there are enough votes now to pass the bill, but he believes they're close. He said he expects supporters to engage with their legislators on the issue in the coming weeks.
Clark said she thinks there will be voters spoke loudly last fall.
"It was a very clear statement, and I think we're now ready to take the next step," Clark said.
The legislation has one Republican co-author. Sen. Branden Peterson, R-Andover, did not attend the news conference but issued a statement.
"As a strong proponent of limited government, conservative principles and individual liberty, I am proud to add my name as a co-author of legislation to secure the freedom to marry for same-sex couple in Minnesota," Peterson wrote.
The bill would strike the language in current law that prohibits same-sex marriage, but would also make it clear that churches are not required to marry anyone. The formal introduction of the bill will come Thursday in the House and Senate.
Opponents of the efforts scheduled an afternoon news conference to respond.
UPDATE: Several Republican lawmakers held their own news conference to blast the marriage bill.
They claim it would redfine the institution of marriage in a radical new direction. Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, said the supporters of proposed legalization of gay marriage have misinterpreted the message voters sent last fall.
"It is in no way a mandate from the people of Minnesota," Limmer said. "The people simply said that they didn't want to include the definition of marriage, as it is written in Minnesota state law, and include it in the state constitution."
Other Republicans, including one ordained minister, suggested that the proposed change could infringe on religious freedom, even with the exemption in the bill.
Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville, said he doesn't want to be forced one day to perform a marriage that he objects to.
"I personally will go to jail before I ever perform a marriage to a homosexual," Hall said.
(photo: Tim Pugmire)(6 Comments)
Policast, Feb. 27, 2013:
The state Senate author of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota predicted that the proposal will pass with bipartisan support.
DFL Sen. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis he's optimistic despite the fact that there hasn't yet been a hard count of supporters in the Legislature.
"My sense is that we have the momentum and we're in a strong position," Dibble said on MPR News' Policast. "But it's going to be a lot of hard work."
Although most supporters of the same-sex marriage bill are Democrats, at least a few prominent state Republicans have also backed the bill. The press conference by supporters to announce the bill Wednesday was attended by former Republican State Auditor Pat Anderson.
The legislation is also co-authored by Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, who voted last session to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
"I think the partisanship of this is diminishing dramatically," Dibble said. "A number of colleagues who regretted their vote to put this on the ballot last session are now looking for an opportunity to amend that vote and now vote yes for something that's positive."
The National Organization for Marriage pledged earlier this week to spend half a million dollars to defeat Republicans in the state who vote for a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, but Dibble dismissed their effort.
"The level of political risk and downside has diminished to the point of non-existence," Dibble said. "The National Organization for Marriage and their ham-handed, threatening manner, are engaged in a self-defeating strategy there."
Dibble said he believes the electorate has already shifted on the question of same-sex marriage.
"For the most part, people just don't have the intensity of feeling that they used to have around this because they're sure that nothing bad is going to happen and only good things are going to happen in people's lives," Dibble said. "I think they're just ready to settle this issue and move on."
The legislation would repeal the state's Defense of Marriage Act and reaffirm that no church will be forced to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies.
If the bill passes in its current form, Dibble said same-sex couples in Minnesota will be able to marry starting on Aug. 1.
Policast is a daily roundup of Minnesota political news. The entire interview with Sen. Scott Dibble can be heard in the Wednesday, Feb. 27 episode. National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown appeared on the Feb. 26 episode.(1 Comments)
WASHINGTON - In the first hearing in the U.S. House related to the Sandy Hook school massacre in December, the panel's six witnesses unanimously rejected proposals to place armed police and guards in every school in the country.
The hearing in the House Education Committee, chaired by 2nd District Republican Rep. John Kline, were marked by a subdued, wonkish tone. No victims of gun violence or their relatives testified. Instead, a panel of six experts delivered measured testimony about the roles of police assigned to schools, counseling services and mental health programs.
So far, Kline has introduced no legislation related to the school shootings and made it clear in his opening remarks that the committee would not move anywhere near as rapidly as the traditionally slow-moving Senate has.
"The purpose of today's hearing is not to assign blame," said Kline. "It isn't about a press release or a bill introduction or a media opportunity."
When the entire witness panel was asked by New Jersey Democrat Rob Andrews whether they supported proposals introduced by state lawmakers around the country and a measure touted by the National Rifle Association to arm teachers and station more armed police in schools, the result was a unanimous "no."
"It's a very dangerous, risky proposition," said David Osher, a vice president with the nonpartisan American Institutes for Research, who has conducted extensive research on violence prevention in schools.
The committee's Republican members mostly sought to avoid discussion of the role of guns in shooting incidents and allowed the witnesses to discuss issues such as bullying and schools situated in crime-ridden communities.
Other witnesses included Bill Bond, who's currently a school safety specialist with the National Assocociation of Secondary School Principals. Bond was also the principal of Heath High School in Paducah, KY when a student opened fire and killed three students in 1997.
Bond emphasized the need for schools to constantly update their contingency plans for events such as shootings and also said that there were limitations to deploying additional cameras and metal detectors at schools.
"If they really want to, kids will find a way around all your security equipment," said Bond.
The House hearing came as the Senate Judiciary Committee, which counts both of Minnesota's Democratic U.S. Senators among its members, held hearings on a proposed ban on the assault-style weapons that were used at Sandy Hook and other recent mass shootings. That committee is expected to vote on draft legislation as early as Thursday.(0 Comments)