The Daily Digest (Session running off the rails? Super PACs ramp up in 8th CD, Romney goes two for two)

The big question heading into this week is whether the 2012 legislative session is running off the rails.

On Friday, Gov. Dayton vetoed the civil lawsuit bills pushed by Republicans. Dayton said it was “laughable” that they were characterized as job creation bills.

The move comes just weeks after Senate Republicans effectively fired one of Dayton’s political appointees.

And it doesn’t appear that either side is willing to back down on the rhetoric.

Gov. Dayton is scheduled to give his State of the State speech on Wednesday and it doesn’t look the GOP-controlled Legislature is willing to give up the entire news cycle to Dayton’s agenda.

A committee in the Minnesota House will hold a hearing on the release of a committed sex offender. A committee in the Minnesota Senate will hold a hearing on that same day on a proposed constitutional amendment that would require people to provide photo identification to vote.

GOP Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem said on Friday that “it’s time to put the spears down.” The comments come less than two weeks after the Senate speared PUC Chair Ellen Anderson, one of Dayton’s political appointees.

Stay tuned but the rhetoric makes it look like everyone has their eyes more on November.

Revenue Picture

January tax collections are below forecast. The next budget forecast is scheduled for Feb. 29.

Constitutional Amendments

Forum Communications says the GOP is looking at amending the constitution to enact some of their pet policy dreams.

Property Taxes

The Pi Press takes a look at the GOP effort to cut the statewide business property tax.

Two St. Cloud area lawmakers told the St. Cloud Times that they regret their votes to eliminate the Market Value Homestead credit.

Under the Dome

MPR says Republicans are increasing their scrutiny on the release of a committed sex offender. Three judges approved the release.

A Ramsey County judge outlined the conditions of the release.

Dayton told a group of faith leaders that social equity is still a priority.

MinnPost says the members of the LCCMR asserted their independence after House GOP members attempted to fire the group’s executive director.

The panel will focus on invasive species.

AP says the State Capitol is in urgent need of repair but budget pressures could put funding in jeopardy.

St. Paul dropped its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and go to trial against a group of landlords that sued the city over its aggressive housing code enforcement.

Students held a Saturday rally to call for stronger protections against bullying.

Vikings Stadium

Gov. Dayton suggested that they may have to go into overtime (2013) in order to get a stadium done. It’s another sign that the stadium issue is losing its urgency at the State Capitol.

Ramsey County rebooted its plan for a new stadium.

The Vikings said no to the new Ramsey County plan.

The Pioneer Press says charities worry electronic pull-tabs for a Vikings stadium could be a loser for them.

Congress

President Obama is scheduled to release his budget plan today. The New York Times says he’s betting that higher taxes on top earners and spending on manufacturing and infrastructure will trump concerns over the deficit.

Weekend talks to extend the payroll tax cut have failed.

Obama revised his birth control policy for religious institutions. He said the new plan meets his needs.

Bishops rejected the plan.

Minnesota groups watch and wait on the compromise.

Top Republicans still want a vote on the requirement.

The New York Times visits Lindstrom, MN and finds that even critics of the safety net are dependant on it.

The Obama Administration is slowing some environmental rules as it considers the political impact.

Minnesota joins a federal program on immigration reform.

DFL Rep. Betty McCollum says she wants companies to consider bills paid once the bills are postmarked.

McCollum says she was called a “terrorist supporter” for not backing legislation that would end all U.S. contracts with Pakistan.

DFL Sen. Al Franken keynoted a California Democratic convention.

GOP Rep. John Kline opposes the No Child Behind waiver.

Greece

There’s rioting in Greece after lawmakers passed another round of austerity measures.

Race for Congress

MPR says super PACs are preparing an onslaught in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. Supporters and opponents of GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack are ramping up for this year’s election.

Sara Severs, the official spokesman for DFL Rep. Tim Walz, will manage his campaign.

GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is fundraising off Howard Stern’s comments that she’s the “worst person in the world.”

Politico called Bachmann a “winner” at CPAC.

Race for President

The Obama campaign has created a rapid response “truth team.”

Mitt Romney won the Maine caucuses and the CPAC Straw poll.

Ron Paul is not conceding in Maine.

Rick Santorum suggests Romney rigged the CPAC vote and is planning an aggressive strategy against Romney.

There are also questions as to whether Romney overstated his role in turning around the Olympics in 2002.

Santorum is defending his views on working women.

Newt Gingrich is focusing on donors to help keep his campaign alive.

Santorum hired Alice Stewart, Bachmann’s former campaign spokesman.

  • Ralph Crammedin

    GOP Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem said on Friday that “it’s time to put the spears down.” The comments come less than two weeks after the Senate speared PUC Chair Ellen Anderson, one of Dayton’s political appointees.

    GOP hypocrisy in general, and David Senjem’s in particular, are brightly displayed, as legislative Republicans intentionally run the session “off the rails.” Senjem’s attacks on the DFL budget and on Ellen Anderson, and GOP attacks on gays and the elderly, disabled and other vulnerables (via photo ID) are all calculated for 3 political purposes.

    The GOP strategy:

    1) fire up the GOP base of extremists for the November elections,

    2) distract media attention from the unfolding GOP $$$ and sex scandals,

    3) do maximum damage to the institutions and operations of MN government, to assure a difficult recovery in the inevitably DFL-controlled 2013-2014 legislature.

  • Ralph Crammedin

    Tom, this is a remarkable digest, covering an incredible amount of material. Whew! Sometimes you amaze me with your breadth and energy.