The House expects to vote today on the creation of a Minnesota health insurance exchange.
Several state senators plan to announce a new Capitol 'Purple Caucus', where members of the Minnesota Legislature can "unite from across the aisle to share ideas in a constructive way."
Highest earners pay smaller piece of income in state taxes (MPR News)
"The lowest income Minnesotans paid a higher percentage of their incomes in state and local taxes than did the wealthiest Minnesotans in 2010," the state Revenue Department says.
Minn. gun owners to back law changes (Associated Press)
"In a turnabout, Minnesota gun rights advocates are lining up modest revisions to the state's gun laws as a way to fend off more serious restrictions and give lawmakers the chance to make some progress on a politically charged issue."
Poll: Background checks draw strong gun owner support (Star Tribune)
"More than 70 percent of all respondents, including 60 percent of gun owners and 64 percent of Republicans, favor universal background checks, a rapidly emerging gun-control priority in the legislative session, a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll finds."
Is the Iron Range on the cusp of another mining boom? (MPR News)
"Proponents of two proposed copper-nickel mine projects in northeastern Minnesota say the projects will create jobs and generate billions in economic activity. Not everyone is convinced the short-term benefits are worth it."
Bill would shield Minn. coaches from parent gripes (Associated Press)
"A bill now before the Legislature would add a sentence to the existing Minnesota law that governs the rights of coaches to contest their dismissals. It says that parent complaints can't be the sole reason for letting a coach go."
Minn. House panel considers boosting business fund (MPR News)
"The measure, which mirrors a proposal from DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, would provide $30 million over two years to the Minnesota Investment Fund to help relocating and expanding businesses that promise to create new jobs. "
Health exchange incentive for insurers added to Minnesota House bill (Pioneer Press)
"Key lawmaker adds a provision to entice health insurers by guaranteeing them the chance to sell a limited number of products in the new health exchange marketplace. The change is the most significant contrast between bills in the House and Senate."
911 pranks draw stiffer penalties under bill (Associated Press)
"Bipartisan legislation would make it a gross misdemeanor to report a fictitious emergency to 911 dispatchers with the intent of luring authorities somewhere. If the call results a serious injury, felony charges could ensue."
With sequester in place, what's next? (CBS News)
Deal to avert shutdown likely, Boehner says (Washington Post)0 Comments)
Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, and Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, have formed a "purple caucus" with the hope of putting the needs of the state above party politics.
Miller and Reinert appeared at a news conference at the State Capitol today to announce the group. They say the goal is to start showing that lawmakers can cooperate across party lines.
"What is the price of admission?" Reinert said. "It's the idea that you're willing to be a Minnesotan first and some other label second."
Reinert says the group plans to start meeting on a semi-regular basis to discuss where they agree. Miller says he hopes the focus will mainly be on the budget, jobs and the economy. But he said they aren't coming forward with a legislative agenda.
"I don't think anyone is making any promises," Miller said. "I learned you don't make promises in politics. We have a commitment to create good relationship building."
They say Sen. Branden Peterson, R-Andover, Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, and Sen. Melisa Franzen, DFL-Edina, have also joined the group. It will also be open to House members but none has joined yet.
A news release said some of the proposed guiding principles of the "Purple Caucus" include paying attention, inclusivity, showing respect and "do not gossip"
Both Miller and Reinert say they intend to attend regular meetings of their respective party caucuses as well.
WASHINGTON - After coming close to unseating Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Democrat Jim Graves appears to be inching toward another run against the state's most conservative member of Congress.
In an email to supporters on Monday, Graves noted that Bachmann voted against the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act last week (she was the only one of the state's eight member U.S. House delegation to vote no), and he condemned the budget standoff between Republicans and Democrats in Washington.
"I know that the work we started last year, well, it isn't over," Graves wrote, in a signal that his electoral ambitions may not have passed.
Before taking on Bachmann in 2012, Graves made a fortune in the hotel industry. He contributed heavily to his own campaign.
Last month, Graves told the St. Cloud Times that he will decide by April 1 whether to run again.
Bachmann represents the 6th Congressional District, the state's most conservative district. Voters there backed Republican Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama by a 56 to 41 margin, but Bachmann prevailed over Graves by just 1.2 percent, a little more than 4,200 votes.(1 Comments)
Gov. Dayton often does interviews. For the most part, they (like today's appearance on MPR's The Daily Circuit) focus on serious policy proposals. But in one recent interview, Dayton was asked whether he would sign a bill into law that would allow people to wear shorts to work.
Dayton agreed to a tongue-in-cheek interview with "The Dude" when he visited Children's Hospital on Valentine's Day. The broadcast was created for Children's internal TV station that plays in the kid's rooms at the hospital.
The interviewer hosts the Kid's Clubhouse TV show for Children's Hospitals. He wore a t-shirt that said "Proud to be Awesome" for his interview with Dayton.
"The Dude", who is played by improv actor Eriq Nelson, relies on an interviewing style that closely mirrors Wayne and Garth from Saturday Night Live's Wayne's World fame. He asked mostly basic and humorous questions like "Are you a night owl or an early bird?" (Dayton's response: night owl) and "What would you say to the cat people of Minnesota?" (Dayton's immediate response: "Meow")
Dayton played along with the interview - suggesting at one point that he was ready to be "grilled like a hamburger." He also had a pretty quick response when asked to list his favorite Selena Gomez song.
An official with Children's Hospital and Clinics says the internal TV show aims to improve the care of the patients at Children's Hospital. The hospital says a growing body of research shows that integrating the arts into health care helps improve overall patient outcomes.
You can watch Dayton's interview here:
Groups spent $65 million to lobby Gov. Dayton's administration, the Legislature and metropolitan units of government in 2011, according to a new report from the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board.
The top five in lobbying spending were: Xcel Energy ($2.3 million), The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce ($2 million), the Minnesota Business Partnership ($980,000), Alliant Energy ($960,000) and the Minneapolis Radiation Oncology Physicians ($900,000), the report said.
Other big spenders included the Minnesota Vikings ($840,000), The MN AFL-CIO ($820,000), the Coalition of MN Businesses ($748,000) and the DFL-leaning group The Alliance for a Better Minnesota ($670,000).
The lobbying expenses in 2011 came during a tumultuous time for Minnesota government. Dayton and the GOP-controlled Legislature were at odds over the best way to craft a two-year budget. The stalemate led to a three week state government shutdown.
You can read the full report here.