Good morning!

In Minnesota

A Minnesota Republican Party official issued a “call to arms” against Muslims Thursday, calling them “terrorists” and “parasites” and suggesting that someone should “frag ‘em.” (Star Tribune)

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton hosted House Speaker-designate Kurt Daudt for lunch at the governor’s residence. It was their first meeting since Election Day, when Dayton won a second term and Republicans won control of the Minnesota House. (MPR News)

In the past, control of the state House has been won or lost in competitive suburban swing districts. Not this year. Are the metro suburbs becoming DFL territory? (MinnPost)

Even with its renewable energy standard and new solar law, Minnesota is not on track to meet federal emissions reductions aimed at addressing climate change, state officials said. (MPR News)

A recount of the state House race in District 48A has been completed, and it confirms the original results, with DFL Rep. Yvonne Selcer holding on to her seat by 41 votes. (Star Tribune)

National Politics

President Obama announced a plan to protect 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, infuriating Republicans but satisfying immigrants who have fought for years for such relief. (Washington Post)

A senior House Republican said Thursday that it’s impossible to “defund” President Barack Obama’s upcoming moves on immigration in an upcoming spending bill. (AP via Pioneer Press)

Retiring Congresswoman Michele Bachmann denounced the plan said Obama was trying to bring “illiterate” immigrants into the US who will become Democratic voters in 2016. The plan does confer citizenship on anyone. (MPR News)

Farm and livestock producers said President Obama’s executive action on immigration announced Thursday will do little to help farm operators struggling to get the workers they need and could drive more agricultural production outside the United States. (USA Today)

 

The main players at the Minnesota Capitol have been doing some pre-session socializing this week.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton hosted House Speaker-designate Kurt Daudt for lunch today at the governor’s residence. It was their first meeting since Election Day, when Dayton won a second term and Republicans won control of the Minnesota House.

“Pork and potatoes,” Daudt said. “It was good.”

Daudt said the conversation ranged from their dogs to their priorities for the 2015 session. He said they both included transportation funding.

“We didn’t get into real specifics about how to solve the problem,” Daudt said. “We just talked about the fact that we need to focus on transportation over the next two years. I think everyone realizes there are challenges in that.”

One of the challenges is coming up with the money needed to tackle a backlog of transportation projects. Dayton has repeatedly said additional revenue is needed. Daudt and other Republicans want to find money elsewhere in the state budget, and they want the emphasis on roads and bridges, not mass transit.

Dayton also held separate private meetings this week with DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and the outgoing DFL House Speaker Paul Thissen, who will serve as House minority leader next year.

Bakk said he expects transportation funding to be a front-burner issue in 2015, and it came up in his meeting with the governor too. Bakk  said Senate Democrats will not limit their discussion to roads and bridges. He said they’ll push for a comprehensive approach that includes transit.

“It is important transportation infrastructure here in the metropolitan area, to a lesser extent in rural Minnesota,” Bakk said. “But there are some communities where it’s important. So, I suspect that a Senate transportation thing is going to have more emphasis on transit than what I hear at least is coming from the House.”

Still, Bakk said he thinks disagreements over transportation funding and other budget matters can be resolved for a timely adjournment of the session in May.   He noted that the last time Minnesota had a DFL governor, a DFL Senate and a Republican House was in 1985. That session didn’t go well, and a special session was needed in June to pass a budget.

“That was a significant failure on the part of the Legislature,” Bakk said. “They weren’t able to negotiate an agreement. I don’t want to make the same kind of mistakes that were made in 1985.”

The 2015 session begins on Jan. 6.

Good morning!

In Minnesota

A look at some of the new members of the Republican majority in the Minnesota House who want to take lawmaking in a more conservative direction. (MPR News)

Officials with Minnesota’s health insurance exchange say the system has seen a spike in consumer visits since the workweek started but is handling the load well. (AP via Pioneer Press)

Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh announced her resignation, concluding nearly four years at the helm of the regional planning authority during one of its more productive and controversial periods. (Pioneer Press)

National Politics

Tonight President Obama will use a televised address to lay out how he intends to overhaul the immigration system. MPR News will carry the speech live at 7 PM CT.

Republican leaders are warning their members to avoid talk of impeachment around Obama’s executive order. (Politico)

In a sign of the difficulties GOP leaders face in keeping their unruly caucus on-message, retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann said that the immigrants given new protections by the president could become “illiterate” Democratic voters. (Washington Post)

Kentucky Sen. and likely 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul helped filibuster legislation that would have put limits on National Security Agency data collection on American citizens. Now, some of Paul’s libertarian supporters feel betrayed. (Politico)

Congressman Tim Walz’s bid to be the top Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee was scuttled by party leaders eager to keep the seniority system in place. (MPR News)

Sen. Al Franken is piling on with critics of the ride share app Uber and asking the company to explain its privacy policies in light of some recent unsavory allegations. (Bloomberg News)