The Daily Digest: 3-24-08

The Digest leads this morning with bridges.

The Star Tribune says old photos released by the NTSB show flaws in the steel of the old I-35W bridge.

The story comes just days after MnDOT closes a bridge in St. Cloud. MnDOT still has not determined whether they will open the bridge back up to traffic before they replace it.

The St. Cloud Times says federal funding for the St. Cloud bridge won’t be delivered unless GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann changes her position on earmarks. What is the definition of a conundrum?

Funds to aid the victims of the 35W bridge collapse go unclaimed.

Legislature and State Government

Lawmakers are back in St. Paul on Tuesday after taking an extended Easter break.

They plan on releasing portions of their budget fix this week. Forum Communications says there is no easy budget solution.

Forum Communications also has a legislative issues update.

The Senate is expected to take up a health care reform bill later this week. The Bemidji Pioneer says some rural lawmakers don’t like it.

Rural folks are also lobbying for Gov. Pawlenty’s SEED initiative.

A new poll says outstate Minnesota is glum about the economy.

Non-profits hope to regain their sales and property tax exemption.

The West Central Tribune says some lawmakers are already casting thoughts on the November election.

There’s a push to make contributions to a state college savings plan tax deductible.

Gov. Pawlenty tells Sid that the Vikings need a partner if they want a stadium built.

Congress

The U.S. Death toll in Iraq has hit 4,000.

The Ag Secretary is set to deliver funding to fight bovine TB.

Abigail Taylor, the girl injured in a pool drain accident, died last week. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar and GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad are mentioned.

Klobuchar is also touring SE Minnesota. Red Wing and Rochester are two of the stops.

McLatchy says the Bush Administration is going to make it harder for people to get out of nursing homes. Klobuchar, GOP Sen. Norm Coleman, GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad and DFL Rep. Keith Ellison are mentioned.

A ban on horse slaughter could cause problems for the equine industry. DFL Rep. Tim Walz is mentioned.

Walz is also holding a hearing on veterans issues later this week.

There is no sign of a Hmong man from Minnesota who has been missing for two years. DFL Rep. Betty McCollum is mentioned.

The New York Observer says DFL Rep. Keith Ellison was in NYC over the weekend.

GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann will award certificates of merit to students later this week.

Bachmann also met with Stillwater city officials to talk about that city’s bridge. DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is also mentioned.

The Star Tribune says federal policies bar farmers from getting more land for specialty crops. Walz and DFL Rep. Collin Peterson are mentioned.

Peterson is also mentioned in a story on how the wheat shortage is causing problems for bakers.

DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar recommends moving the Washington transit station.

Oberstar also challenged the head of the Coast Guard about the size of its force. He suggested the Bush Administration pressured the Coast Guard to keep its size estimates quiet.

2008 U.S. Senate race

The latest poll by Rasmussen Reports has GOP Sen. Norm Coleman with a two percentage point lead over Al Franken.

Update: Politico has a story on Minnesota’s Senate race.

2008 Race For Congress

The GOP endorsing convention in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District is this weekend. The Star Tribune has a preview.

Race for President

The latest poll by Rasmussen Reports has Barack Obama leading John McCain and McCain and Hillary Clinton in a dead heat.

Pawlenty for VP Watch

The L.A.Times says John McCain is pondering his running mate.

Robert Novak pushes Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as a possible VP candidate.

MPR has a story on the making of a Vice-President. A VP scholar says it’s unlikely that McCain will pick Pawlenty.

2008 RNC Convention

The Pi Press says GOP delegates will find a beefed up telecom network at the convention.

Other

Sara Jane Olson’s get out of jail free card wasn’t so free or true.

Finally

I’m headed out of town for the rest of the week. Mr. Mike Mulcahy has volunteered to do the Digest for the rest of the week (Are those cheers I hear?). Have a nice week…

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