A fresh legislative start, Bachman’s return, midge life, Wisconsin’s wolf hunt

The Minnesota Legislature begins a new session tomorrow. Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove and House majority leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, highlighted their priorities in a Star Tribune editorial.

Excerpt

We are 20 years behind in streamlining government, and Minnesota taxpayers are paying for it every day. This session we will continue our push to make government more effective for the people it serves and those who pay for it.

From local government mandate relief and outcome-based spending to consolidation of administrative and back-office functions, our reforms will seek out and eliminate waste.

We will also support a great idea we received while out on the road: require city and county governments to present budget and spending information in an easy-to-understand format designed to educate taxpayers and engage citizens in local government spending decisions.

In 2011, many good reform ideas were put on hold as we grappled with the budget (and the snow). Today we’re pledging to make 2012 the year of reform.

This is not a partisan agenda. It’s Minnesota’s agenda — an agenda we can’t let rest.

Zellers also joined Cathy Wurzer on Morning Edition.

Sen. Koch considers running again

WCCO: “In her first television interview since she stepped down as Minnesota’s Senate Majority Leader, Amy Koch is rethinking her decision not to run for reelection after admitting she had an inappropriate relationship with a Senate staffer.”

Gingrich surge may put Minnesota in play in GOP battle

KARE11: “Front runner Mitt Romney conceded his road to the GOP nomination will be longer, and tougher than originally projected. At the very least it will extend the nominating battle into February, giving Minnesota’s February 7 precinct caucuses more significance.”

Winter bug may offer climate clues

Star Tribune: “Diamesa mendotae, a cold-hardy but delicate insect also known as a midge, is very real and may provide a measure of how the state’s climate is warming, and what effect that might have.”

Ely bear Jewel birth to at least 2 cubs

Duluth News Tribune: “Jewel, a 3-year-old bear whose den near Ely has been under video surveillance this winter, gave birth to at least two cubs” Sunday morning.

Bachmann calls for repeal of Roe. vs. Wade at Minn. anti-abortion rally

MPR News: “Rep. Michele Bachmann made her first appearance in Minnesota since dropping out of the Republican presidential race on Sunday at an annual anti-abortion protest.”

In Vikings stadium game, St. Paul is likely loser

Pioneer Press: “One facet of a Minneapolis stadium plan, the proposed debt forgiveness for the Target Center, would create an uneven playing field for Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul leaders say. The two arenas compete for national acts.”

A rocky first year for St. Paul Central Corridor construction

MPR News: “The first year of major construction on a future light-rail line in St. Paul suffered from communication lapses, haphazard planning, and inattention to community concerns — and that’s according to the government agency that manages the project.”

Moorhead member of ‘Miracle on Ice’ team fights to get hockey jerseys returned

Forum of Fargo Moorhead: “The opening line of the Hall of Fame letter addressed to Bill Christian reads: ‘On behalf of the Hockey Hall of Fame, may I personally thank you and your son Dave for donating these sweaters to the Hall.’ But Dave Christian maintains it was a loan, not a donation.”

Cravaack gives back unused expense allowance

Duluth News Tribune: Rep. Cravaack “returned $90,000 in leftover expense allowance from 2011. … The amount returned amounts to about 7 percent of Cravaack’s $1.3 million office budget for 2011.”

Op-Ed: Amy Klobuchar knows which side her bread is buttered on!

Cafe con Leche Republicans: “Most Minnesotans don’t want for ‘big brother’ to control the internet! Both Franken and Klobuchar stood firm behind the MPAA, and, while other members of Congress wisely listened to their constituents and withdrew their support.”

Wolf hunting to begin in Wisconsin

WDIO: “Some Wisconsin residents will be able hunt problem wolves as early as next week according to the state DNR.This comes after wolves were removed from the federal endangered species list last month.”

Floodplain update nearing long-awaited end

Faribault Daily News: “The five year process to digitize flood insurance maps and update flood ordinances is finally nearing its conclusion. And Faribault is on track to update those items to meet the federal standards necessary to remain in the national flood insurance program.”

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