The Daily Digest: 3-21-08

The Minnesota Department of Transportation closed a St. Cloud bridge that was of similar design to the I-35W bridge. The acting Transportation Commissioner says the bridge will be closed until it can be fixed or replaced. Gov. Pawlenty just said on his weekly radio show that “it was excellent to err on the side of caution” when it came to closing the bridge.

DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is also talking about the St. Cloud bridge and the NTSB’s decision not to hold a public hearing on the I-35W bridge collapse on MPR’s Midmorning.

The St. Cloud Times, the Star Tribune, MPR, AP and the Pi Press have stories.

Some St Cloud residents are worried about the bridge closure.

Minnesota’s jobless rate is up slightly in February. The Pi Press says more Minnesotans are giving up on the job hunt. A Wells Fargo economist says the job market looks sickly.

The Census says the suburban surge is sagging.

The foreclosure scourge is hitting the suburbs.

The Health Department is probing flu deaths in the same family. MPR and the Star Tribune have stories.

Forum Communications says differences remain heading into the second half of the session.

KARE says a U of M study finds a majority of parents want sex education in schools.

A wood burning plant is embroiled in politics.

The Duluth News Tribune says nonprofits are battling the recent court tax ruling.

Forum Communications says health care reform is still alive.

MinnPost says Gov. Pawlenty opposes a plan to change how judges are elected.

DFL Rep. Tom Rukavina writes an op-ed criticizing Gov. Pawlenty’s budget, especially its harm on higher education.

TCF Bank cuts back on student loans. The Pi Press and the Star Tribune have stories.

Duluth may try to limit smoking outside of bars and restaurants.

The Duluth News Tribune has an interesting column on Eric Magnuson, the new Minnesota Supreme Court justice.

Congress

The National Journal has a story on Congressional staffers leaving their posts to become lobbyists. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar is mentioned. Two of her staffers left for lobbying positions.

Klobuchar, GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad and DFL Rep. Keith Ellison want a moratorium on restrictions to Medicaid funding.

The Pi Press says medical device makers pump up their lobbying.

Financing for the proposed coal gasification plant is still elusive.

Some vets are still waiting for benefits. DFL Rep. Tim Walz is mentioned.

GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann will honor a World War 2 Veteran in Stillwater next week.

DFL Rep. Collin Peterson hosts a homegrown conference in Crookston.

DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar will hold a hearing that looks into the death of an El Paso airline mechanic.

2008 Race for President

Survey USA has poll results out on the presidential match-ups in Minnesota. Republican John McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama but Hillary Clinton leads McCain. Both Democrats are beating McCain in the Wisconsin poll. Got all that?

Michigan lawmakers won’t back a new Democratic primary.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is backing Barack Obama.

2008 Race for Senate

North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole will hold a fundraiser for GOP Sen. Norm Coleman in Minnesota later this month.

CQ wonders whether Dems could get to a filibuster majority. Coleman is mentioned.

2008 Race for Congress

Republican Ed Matthews challenges DFL Rep. Betty McCollum. MPR, the Star Tribune, AP and the Pi Press have stories.

MinnPost profiles DFL candidate Steve Sarvi.