Opponents of same-sex marriage will rally today at the Capitol.
Dayton OK with $3 state minimum wage increase (MPR News)
"Gov. Dayton said he would be comfortable with increasing Minnesota's minimum wage to $9.00 or $9.50 an hour. That's lower than a House proposal to raise the wage from $6.15 an hour to $10.55 by 2015."
IBM decision causes uneasiness about company's future in Rochester (MPR News)
IBM's decision this week to move some of its Minnesota operations to New York and Mexico has some wondering how much longer the company will stay in Rochester." IBM has downsized its workforce there in recent years."
Minn. lawmakers unveil more modest gun plan (Associated Press)
"A House majority backs a new plan that would tighten the state's background check system, add to who cannot legally own a gun and help crack down on illegal gun owners. The bill would not impose universal background checks for gun purchases."
Latz: Minnesota Senate isn't run by NRA (MPR News)
Sen. Ron Latz, said he believes the Senate Judiciary Committee has the votes to pass universal background checks. He had harsh words for a gun bill backed by the NRA that has lawmaker and law enforcement support but no universal checks.
Bills seek to monitor, study underground water supply (Pioneer Press)
"Lawmakers have begun hearing proposals to shore up the state's groundwater, a fundamental resource that advocates say has been too-long ignored and risks serious depletion statewide."
Bill demands American-made steel in state projects; Iron Range could benefit (Duluth News-Tribune)
"Legislation that would require contractors to use American-made steel for all government construction projects in Minnesota passed its first committee Wednesday at the Capitol."
Head of college Republicans endorses same-sex marriage (Star Tribune)
"The effort to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota has picked up support from the top state college Republican. Minnesota College Republicans Chairman Ryan Lyk said he supports efforts to overturn state law that bans same-sex marriage."
Tax deal close for Minnesota, Wisconsin (Pioneer Press)
"Minnesota and Wisconsin tax officials are within $6 million of a new tax agreement that would allow 80,000 residents who live in one state but work in the other to resume filing a single state income tax return."
Revised Minnesota budget by early next week, Dayton says (Associated Press)
"Gov. Mark Dayton hasn't decided whether to keep a proposed sales tax expansion intact but says he expects to announce a revised budget early next week."
Report: Spend more on special ed, but curb costs (MPR News)
"In a response to the concerns of school officials about spiraling special education costs, Minnesota's Legislative Auditor is recommending more state funding and steps to curb the increasing costs of those programs."
Push to use legacy dollars to make movies in MN (KSTP)
"Part of the Legacy Amendment's goal is to preserve arts and cultural heritage. State Reps. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis and Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township want to invest some of that money in movies."
House votes to avert shutdown as Obama looks for big deal (Washington Post)
Congress won't face pay cut in automatic cuts (Washington Post)
Assault weapons ban being readied for Senate action (CBS News)
Dayton, archbishop talk today as anti-gay marriage groups rally
Gov. Dayton is scheduled to meet privately today with Archbishop John Nienstedt and other Catholic Bishops in Minnesota. The meeting is the same day that groups working to defeat a bill that legalizes same-sex marriage hold a rally at the Capitol.
A spokeswoman for Dayton says Dayton and Nienstedt meet once a year to discuss a variety of topics like fair taxes, sex trafficking and minimum wage. She says she wouldn't be surprised if same-sex marriage was discussed since they talked about the topic last year.
Dayton has signaled support for the legalization of same-sex marriage. The Catholic Church opposes it and spent $650,000 in investment income to help pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in the Minnesota. Voters rejected the amendment in November. -- Tom Scheck(0 Comments)
Policast for March 7, 2013:
Actor Josh Hartnett was among those testifying at the state Capitol yesterday as the state's film and TV production industry pushes for an increase in incentives designed to attract projects to Minnesota.
In the last biennium, about $1 million to fund incentives for film and TV projects came from the Legacy Amendment. But the film board is proposing an increase to $10 million, which would come from the state's general fund.
Lucinda Winter, executive director of the Minnesota Film and TV Board, said on MPR's Policast that incentives are "really true, pure economic development."
"It's really become a tool used by just about all the states, there are nine states that don't have an incentive, and we are lagging far, far behind," Winter said. "Not only are we not seeing growth, but we're seeing contraction in our industry."
The Tax Foundation, a conservative non-profit critical of the effectiveness of incentives, released a report in 2011 that found state production incentives had ballooned from $1 million in 2001 to $1.299 billion a decade later.
The board also wants to increase the top reimbursement level for film productions to 25 percent.
Policast is a daily roundup of Minnesota political news hosted by Mike Mulcahy and Cathy Wurzer. Subscribe on iTunes. The entire discussion with Lucinda Winter can be heard on the March 6, 2013 episode.(0 Comments)
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton hosted a private breakfast this morning with Archbishop John Nienstedt and Catholic Bishops from around Minnesota, but according to the governor, they did not spend a lot of time discussing same-sex marriage.
Nienstedt was a leading supporter of last fall's failed campaign to amend the state constitution with a ban on same-sex marriage. Catholic leaders are now lining up against the proposed legislation to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota.
"We didn't talk at all about the amendment, and we really didn't talk about the law or its prospects or anything like that," Dayton said.
Dayton said only aspects of the issue came up, including a concern about being punished for applying their religious principles. On other issues, he said the archbishop and bishops expressed support for a minimum wage increase and more funding for families on public assistance. Dayton said he also heard concerns about the impact of proposed anti-bullying legislation on private schools.
"They think they're doing a better job of preventing bullying in their schools," he said. "They think some of the requirements that are being written into the legislation now would be undully prescriptive and restrictive."
A Minnesota House committee today approved a bill that would allow higher contributions to political candidates running for state offices and the Legislature.
The bill approved by the House Elections Committee would also require additional disclosure from independent groups that spend money to influence elections.
Increasing the campaign contribution limits will help candidates compete with outside groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, said Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL- Golden Valley.
"We're getting to a point where outside interest groups and their agendas are driving our political campaigns rather than candidates and their conversations with voters," Winkler said.
Winkler's bill would allow donors to give candidates for governor $6,000 every election cycle. Current law allows gubernatorial candidates to raise $2,000 in an election year and $500 in other years. Candidates for state Senate would be able to raise $3,000 for the cycle instead of $800. House members would be able to raise $1,500 per cycle instead of $600.
Several groups, including Common Cause Minnesota and the League of Women Voters, praised the bill but worried that increasing the donor and spending limits will only give more power to moneyed interests.
The bill would also require all independent groups, including non-profit trade groups, to disclose receipts and expenditures. It would require associations to disclose high-dollar donors. Current law does not require trade groups and other non-profits to disclose their donors. Democrats complained last election that business groups used the issue advocacy loophole as a way to promote and defeat political candidates.
Andrea Rau with the anti-abortion group, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, spoke against the bill. It would have a chilling effect on donors to her organization, said Rau.
"Regardless of intent, it does seem that the real effect of these burdensome reporting requirements is less to inform the public and more to deter citizens from publicly engaging in the issues of the day," Rau said.
The House Elections Committee approved the measure on a divided voice vote. The bill has several more committee stops before it reaches the House floor.
Gov. Dayton has said he will only sign elections bills that have bipartisan support.(0 Comments)
The group Minnesota for Marriage brought together its members from throughout the state to hear from several like-minded religious leaders and legislators. House and Senate committees have scheduled hearings next week on the marriage bill.
Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, who sponsored last fall's failed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Minnesota, told the crowd that the battle continues.
"And we have to understand that we are fighting for our children and our culture and our way of life," Limmer said.
Limmer was among three-dozen GOP lawmakers at the rally.
Several opponents of the legislation highlighted what they see as the religious implications of the proposal. Joe Rigney, a professor at Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, said legislators have no authority to re-define an institution invented by God.
"We did not send them here to undermine fundamental institutions of society," Rigney said. "We did not send them to here to perform a social experiment on our children by defining marriage in a way that no society in the history of the world has ever defined it."
Jake Loesch, communications director for the group Minnesotans United, which supports the legislation, said he was disappointed with some of the things he heard at the rally. Loesch said there are also many people of faith who support legalizing same-sex marriage. He also noted that the bill addresses potential religious concerns.
"The legislation that's been introduced has very expansive religious exemptions to ensure that no church or clergy member is ever going to be forced to violate their own convictions or their deeply held religious convictions," Loesch said.
Former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman announced tonight on Twitter that he won't run for political office in 2014. Coleman announced earlier this year that he would not run against DFL Sen. Al Franken but tonight's announcement means he's ruling out a run for governor as well.
Public service is an important part of my life.It will remain so even though I will not run for public office in 2014.— Norm coleman (@normcoleman) March 8, 2013
Want to mentor a new generation of optimistic, limited government focused leaders who aren't afraid to find common ground to solve problems— Norm coleman (@normcoleman) March 8, 2013
will focus time and energy helping MInnesota elect Senator &Governor who support free enterprise,efficient govt & seek 2bring folks together— Norm coleman (@normcoleman) March 8, 2013
Coleman's announcement, which was first reported by KSTP's Tom Hauser, means there is now a wide open field for Republicans looking to challenge DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Franken.
Coleman has been repeatedly mentioned as a top candidate to challenge either Franken or Dayton in 2014. He lost to Franken in 2008 by 312 votes.
U.S. Rep. John Kline and U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen have left open the possibility of challenging Franken in 2014.
Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson has said he's thinking about challenging Dayton. Other possible candidates include state Sen. Julie Rosen, state Rep. Kurt Zellers, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and businesssman Scott Honour.