State budget and tax plans are in a bit of a holding pattern as lawmakers await Gov. Dayton's revised proposals.
Nurse staffing bill faces roadblock in the House (MPR News)
"A key committee chair says she doesn't intend to hold a hearing on the bill unless the Minnesota Nurses Association and hospitals get closer to a compromise."
Ex-Minn. justice: Sex offender program needs urgent reform (MPR News)
"The head of a task force to recommend changes to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program says if the Legislature doesn't reform the program soon, a federal judge may force the state to act."
Pay hikes suggested for Minn. government leaders (Associated Press)
"Recommendations slated for action today call for the first salary hikes for Minnesota's governor and legislators since the late 1990s, as well as a substantial restructuring of how top state agency managers are paid."
Troubles continue for electronic pull-tabs in Vikes stadium finance plan (MPR News)
"The latest figures show the games continue to roll out, but the roll out slowed in February, slipping by almost a third from the site-per-day January rate. It's looking more likely the stadium finance plan is going to need a backup revenue plan."
In gun debate, lots of emotion but little solid research (Pioneer Press)
The lack of objective gun violence research has become evident as Minnesota and the U.S. grapple with proposed law changes Some say it's time to reinvest in research, which virtually ended more than 15 years ago amid pro-gun lobbyist opposition.
Norm Coleman: Minnesota efforts will not end (Star Tribune)
"Ex-U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman is swearing off a 2014 run for office but that does not mean Minnesotans will not see him around. Coleman plans to stay involved in the state's politics through the conservative outreach group Minnesota Action Network."
Cuts give Obama path to create leaner military (New York Times)
Can Obama build on his outreach to GOP? (CBS News)
Yellowstone weathers painful budget cuts (Washington Post)
States wrestle with health exchanges (Politico)
Bill toughening economic disclosure rules on ice for the year
Supporters of a bill that would require public officials in Minnesota to disclose more about their sources of income will have to wait another year.
House Elections Committee Chair Steve Simon, DFL-Hopkins, initially said he wanted to pass something this year, but now he says he's not holding a hearing on the bill because he thinks it needs more work.
"I am committed to doing something and doing something significant," Simon said. "I would have liked to have done it this year but it became clear that a lot of stakeholders and a lot of public groups want to weigh in on this."
An MPR News investigation found that in many cases the disclosure forms filed by elected officials provided little if any meaningful information about the sources of their outside income and potential conflicts of interest. -- Tom Scheck(1 Comments)
Policast for March 11, 2013:
The only Republican in the Legislature currently supporting a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota said he's already taken some heat from constituents for his stance.
"I always take that very seriously," Sen. Branden Petersen of Andover told MPR's Cathy Wurzer on Monday. "Issues like this that are really about equal justice under the law and that are transcendent ideas in our democracy, I don't think you should ever make those decisions just because 50 percent plus 1 percent of people believe it ought to be done."
Some have said the same-sex marriage bill is moving too quickly. Petersen disagrees.
"When you're talking about equal protection and equal justice under the law, it's always the right time to stand up for those issues."
Petersen, 27, is the Senate bill's co-author. He said that young Republicans and older members of the party are divided on the issue of same-sex marriage.
"Every piece of data shows that Republicans, in particular under the age of 30, actually the majority support marriage equality under the law," Petersen said. "That's the beginning of a trend that I think is a good thing for Republicans as well."
Petersen, who voted along with most other Republicans in 2011 to put a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on the ballot, said he changed his stance after "reflection."
Committees in both the state House and Senate will consider bills legalizing same-sex marriage tomorrow.
The entire discussion with Sen. Branden Petersen can be heard on the March 11, 2013 episode of Policast. That episode also includes an interview with Rep. Pat Garofalo on his bill that would shrink the size of the Minnesota Legislature.3 Comments)
Several members of the Minnesota House are criticizing Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, for introducing a friend on the House floor by saying that that he said "exited the gay lifestyle."
Gruenhagen used what's called in the House vernacular "a point of personal privilege" to introduce Kevin Petersen, who is a member of the Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum that worked to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
"The interesting thing about Kevin is he was active in the gay lifestyle for about ten years and then he left it, got married and now has three children," Gruenhagen said. Listen
While some members clapped, a bipartisan group of lawmakers groaned when Gruenhagen made his comments. The announcement prompted DFL House Speaker Paul Thissen to ban the practice of allowing members to publicly introduce guests who visit the chambers.
"It's a totally inappropriate use of the point of personal privilege," Thissen said. "It offends members of our legislative body."
Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, said he was shocked by Gruenhagen's comments.
"It was an absolutely inappropriate use of the privilege of the House and it was very offensive. I'm glad the speaker ruled the way that he did," Paymar said.
Gruenhagen's comments came one day before committees in the House and Senate hold a hearing on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. Gruenhagen couldn't be reached for comment after his speech. He opposes the bill. He made news a few weeks ago when he said during a news conference that homosexuality is "an unhealthy, sexual addiction" and argued that there is "no gay gene."
GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt initially sidestepped questions about Gruenhagen's comments, but later issued a statement calling Gruenhagen's comments "inappropriate." He agreed with Thissen on the decision to stop allowing members to announce guests on the House floor.