Gov. Dayton is criticizing Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature for putting measures on the ballot that they couldn't get signed into law. Speaking at a rally held by the National Association of Social Workers, Minnesota Chapter, Dayton said he doesn't support the Legislature's focus on constitutional amendments.
"This is supposed to be the center of democracy for the state of Minnesota," Dayton said. "That involves the give and take between the legislative branch and the executive branch. It doesn't mean going around a governor because I can't veto a constitutional amendment and putting constitutional amendments on the ballot that the DFLers don't have anything to say about."
He said he was especially concerned about amendments "that would take away people's rights."
Dayton also expressed confidence that Minnesota would be the first state to reject a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
The House and Senate have also each passed a constitutional amendment to require people to present photo identification to vote. A House/Senate conference committee is expected to be appointed to reconcile the differences on the bill. If the House and Senate agree on new language, both chambers would have to vote again on it for it to pass.
Other lawmakers say they'd also like to pass the "right-to-work" constitutional amendment that would make union membership and dues voluntary for all members.
The governor cannot veto constitutional amendments, so the questions would be put on the ballot if the House and Senate pass the legislation.
Thousands of Minnesota voters are expected to show up at Tuesday night's caucuses, and groups involved in three potential changes to the state's constitution are using the events to organize for election efforts involving a same-sex marriage ban, changes to union rules, and voter identification requirements.
Minnesota Majority, a group that backs the ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage, is asking supporters to incorporate a resolution in favor of the amendment into their party's platform.
The group is also asking caucus-goers to add voter identification requirements and language that would cut into the power of unions.
Lawmakers have introduced legislation that would put both those issues on the ballot this fall.
Meanwhile, Minnesotans United for All Families, a group that opposes the same-sex marriage ban, is looking for caucus night recruiters to talk caucus-goers into opposing the amendment.
The latest Public Policy Polling survey says 53 percent of those polled approve of the job Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is doing. Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature are faring much worse. 23 percent of those polled view them negatively. The poll says Democrats in the Legislature are winning in a generic ballot against their GOP opponents but the DFL approval numbers aren't much better than Republicans. Just 31 percent of those surveyed have a favorable opinion of Democrats.
The poll also shows that the constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman is close. 48 percent of those surveyed say the support the ban on same-sex marriage. 44 percent are opposed to it.
59 percent of those surveyed also don't support any public money going to a new Vikings stadium but that's only if the team stays in Minnesota. Public opinion appears to shift if public money is the only way it will keep the team in the state. 46 percent of those polled say they'd support public money for a stadium if "that's what it took to keep the Vikings in Minnesota."
Read the full poll here.
With MPR's Brett Neely.
Rep.Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., announced today she's running for re-election to Congress after ending her presidential bid earlier this month. The announcement ends weeks of speculation that Bachmann might leave Congress after her term ends.
Bachmann ended her presidential bid earlier this month after a fifth place finish in the Iowa Caucus. After the defeat, there was speculation that she might leave Congress when her term ends. Bachmann told reporters today that she plans to focus on her work in the House of Representatives.
"I laid everything on the line in the last election because I saw how severe this spending crisis is in the United States," Bachmann said. "This debt crisis, it's impacting national security. I think people recognize that I'm an extremely hard worker and that I've represented their values."
When asked if she would seek a leadership position among House Republicans, she said no.
"I'm more concerned about the issues," Bachmann said. "I'm more concerned about turning the economy around and protecting the safety of the American people than I am about a leadership position."
But Bachmann does face hurdles - she's lost some key staffers, her campaign coffers are likely close to empty and a recent statewide poll suggests that Minnesota voters have developed a negative impression of her.
Another factor is what her congressional district might look like. A court panel is scheduled to release a new set of political boundaries next month as a result of the once a decade redistricting process. Bachmann currently represents the 6th District which will see significant changes because of its fast growing population.
(Listen to what Bachmann said to reporters this morning: Listen)
DFL Party Chair Ken Martin issued a statement criticizing Bachmann.
"Rep. Michele Bachmann has done absolutely nothing for the people of Minnesota's Sixth District in the last year. Since September 2011, she has missed over 90 percent of the votes in Congress.
Instead, she was flying around the country and catering to her Tea Party friends as part of her failed bid for president. The American people have overwhelmingly rejected her extreme right wing agenda, and the people of Minnesota have shown the same dissatisfaction.
It is time for Michele Bachmann to put her Tea Party initiatives aside and finally start working for the people of her district.
Recent poll numbers show a record high disapproval rating for Representative Bachmann because her right wing agenda, radical policies and extreme rhetoric are not what Americans or Minnesotans want. The poll numbers are clear, almost 60 percent of Minnesotans say Bachmann should not run for re-election."
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) issued a statement praising Bachmann for her decision to run again.
"Michele Bachmann is a powerful conservative voice in America, and I am very pleased that she has chosen to run for re-election to the House of Representatives in 2012. Michele is a dedicated public servant who will continue standing up for the Constitution and free enterprise principles on behalf of hard-working Minnesota families.
Michele understands that the greatness of America lies in the freedom and opportunity of its people - not the size of its government. I applaud her tireless fight to repeal ObamaCare and reduce the size and cost of government so that Americans can create their own prosperity. I join House Republicans in welcoming Michele's continued service in Congress and look forward to working with her in the years ahead."
Bachmann's decision brings some certainty to a Republican Party that has been speculating about her future. She could help deliver votes for state and federal candidates in 2012, since she has worked to elect them in past election cycles. She is also heavily supported by Christian conservatives and could help deliver votes for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Update: Minnesota Republican Party Chair Pat Shortridge issued this statement on Bachmann's decision:
"Congresswoman Bachmann has worked extremely hard on behalf of Republican principles for the past three terms in Congress. She continues to fight for limited, Constitutional government, personal freedom, traditional values, and a strong and secure America. We are thankful to have her on our side and confident in what she will continue to accomplish on our behalf in Washington," said MNGOP Chairman Pat Shortridge.
Some prominent Minnesota Republicans announced today that they'll work to defeat a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage.
Members of the Log Cabin Republicans and Republicans Against the Minnesota Marriage Amendment joined forces with Minnesotans United for All Families. During a news conference, former gubernatorial candidate and long-time Republican advisor Wheelock Whitney said he was donating $10,000 to the cause and urging his friends to do the same.
"There's nothing, absolutely nothing in my Republican value system that supports marriage bans in our constitution," Whitney said. "So, I strongly oppose this amendment as a lifelong Republican."
Whitney was joined by Dale Carpenter, Susan Kimberly Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, and Richard Painter.
Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton says the party platform strongly supports the amendment. He downplayed the group's opposition.
"Not every Republican is going to agree with every plank in the platform," Sutton said. "However, we're going to vigorously support our platform and our position."
Sutton would not say if the party will provide financial support to the pro-amendment effort.
The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board released a draft report that details when groups are required to disclose donors who give to support or oppose a ballot initiative.
The board will consider the proposal at a time when groups are ramping up efforts on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.
"In the past, ballot questions haven't been as polarized or contentious as the current ballot question that we foresee in the 2012 ballot question is shaping up," MN Campaign Fiance Board Executive Director Gary Goldsmith said. "There wasn't much question because organizations were raising money and it was clear that the purpose of raising that money was to promote or defeat a ballot question."
Goldsmith says the proposed guidelines are meant to offer some guidance to outside groups that may contribute to or work on a ballot initiative. Goldsmith says the board already required disclosure for donors who wanted to give money to fund a ballot initiative or was asked by a group to contribute to help a ballot initiative.
The draft proposal would also detail how a ballot initiative donation to an outside group should be disclosed. For example, a group that details its work in other areas but also mentions the support or defeat of a ballot initiative will have to determine how much of the contribution is directed to the ballot initiative. Those groups would now have to determine how much of a contribution was used for a ballot initiative.
Goldsmith says the Campaign Finance Board will consider adopting the guidelines at a Tuesday meeting.
Here's the document released by the MN Campaign Finance Board:
Minnesotans United For all Families has announced that it has hired Richard Carlbom to direct the group's efforts to defeat the constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. Carlbom currently serves as Communications Director for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. He was also campaign manager for DFL Rep. Tim Walz in 2010.Carlbom was also the Mayor of St. Joseph from 2005-2007.
Carlbom's experience stumping for votes in rural Minnesota played a factor in his hiring.
"That's a certainly a huge asset to any statewide campaign," Minnesotans United For all Families spokesman Donald McFarland said. "We need to win votes in every county to win this so that's a huge asset."
DFL Sen. Scott Dibble and GOP Rep. Tim Kelly participated in the hiring process of Carlbom.
"I know that Richard Carlbom is the individual who can lead us to victory. His work ethic is excellent, and his intelligence and insight inspire confidence," Dibble said in a news release.
"Mr. Carlbom is a fantastic choice. From my perspective, this issue is not one of partisanship but rather, one of individual freedom and choice. Richard has the ability to bring this message to all Minnesotans in a clear, concise manner, and I look forward to being a part of that effort," Kelly said in a news release.
Carlbom will leave Coleman's office to take the job. He starts the new job on September 24.
Voters in the 2012 election will decide whether the state's constitution should be amended to require that marriage is defined between one man and one woman. If a majority of those voting in that election vote yes, the constitution will be amended.
Update: Minnesota for Marriage, a group working to pass the amendment, announced today that it hired Chuck Darrell as communications director. Darrell was a spokesman for the Minnesota Family Council.
The Minnesota Family Council sent an e-mail to supporters today encouraging them to volunteer to help pass a constitutional amendment that would ban same sex marriage. Minnesota Family Council CEO John Helmberger said in the e-mail that the group would include the Minnesota Family Council, the Minnesota Catholic Conference and the National Organization for Marriage:
For our campaign to be successful, however, we need people of faith to rise up, speak, and participate in the campaign. We know that those who want to redefine marriage to their own purposes will benefit from millions of dollars in support from wealthy donors in Hollywood, New York, and other centers of "popular culture". They will not lack for resources. We must counter that with the power of our people, who will volunteer their time, speak the truth, and contribute of their resources to help our campaign.
Our campaign plan relies on recruiting and deploying thousands of volunteers throughout the state of Minnesota. We will be conducting a massive voter education effort - speaking one-on-one with every Minnesota resident about the amendment and why it is necessary to preserve traditional marriage in our state and prevent activist judges or legislators from ever redefining it without the support of voters.
(Full e-mail below)
Helmberger also said the media "overwhelmingly against the amendment and they slant news coverage to make it seem as if we are going to lose" and suggested that they would be outspent by opponents of the amendment.
Both sides are gearing up for what is expected to be a costly battle. 31 of 31 states have voted to amend the constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Groups working to defeat the amendment include Project 515, OutFront Minnesota and the Human Rights Campaign. The Minnesota AFL-CIO also announced yesterday that the coalition of labor unions would work to defeat the amendment.
"The labor movement is, and has always been about protecting and advancing the rights of all people," said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson in a news release. "We will not stand by and allow discrimination to become part of Minnesota's constitution."
Voters in the 2012 election will decide whether the Minnesota Constitution should define marriage as between one man and one woman. The constitution will include the marriage definition if a majority of those voting in the election vote yes.
Here's the e-mail: