The Daily Digest: 12-17-08

The canvassing board will begin Day two of the ballot ballad today. When the first day was done, GOP Sen. Norm Coleman extended his lead over Democrat Al Franken to 264 votes but that’s mostly because the board examined Franken challenges. MPR, the Pi Press, the Star Tribune, KARE, the New York Times, WCCO, AP, Forum Communications, KSTP, Fox9 and MinnPost have stories.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says he still hopes to finish processing the challenged ballots by Friday night but he isn’t certain if that’s when they’ll declare a winner. The board may wait until the fate of wrongly rejected absentee ballots is settled. The Minnesota Supreme Court holds a hearing on the issue today. The Pi Press and AP have stories.

Franken’s campaign is also suing Olmsted County over wrongly rejected absentee ballots.

MPR takes a look at hand counting vs. machine counting.

There’s more coverage on GOP Sen. Norm Coleman’s decision to hire a defense attorney. Politico says Coleman will use campaign funds for his legal defense.

CNN and AP also follow the story.

State Budget

The budget deficit is forcing counties like Hennepin and Dakota, to make cutbacks.

DFL Rep. Lyle Koenen tells county officials that they’ll feel the state’s pain.

Beltrami County Commissioners, however, gave themselves a pay raise.

Minnesota’s non-profits are also slashing budgets.

Some lawmakers are scrambling to save a plant in Spring Grove

DFL Rep. Tom Rukavina writes an op-ed supporting a Rudy Perpich like approach to the economic downturn.

State Government

3M asks a judge to toss a lawsuit related to chemicals in the water in the East Metro.

MPR and some St. Paul churches oppose the LRT route. MPR and MinnPost have stories.

An environmental group appeals the Nashwauk decision.

Funding for St. Cloud’s Human Rights Office is in jeopardy.

Missed this one yesterday. Delta Airlines is looking to restructure the agreement with the MAC.

Congress

The Food and Drug Administration is accusing a drug firm of a monopoly. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar is mentioned. AP and the Star Tribune have stories.

GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann asks President Bush to not bail out the auto industry.

An investigation finds that the EPA dropped more than 500 clean water enforcement cases. DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is mentioned.

MinnPost says state farmers are worried about an EPA proposal.

Obama

President-elect Obama is expected to name former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as Ag Chief.

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