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MN lege: To the session’s end, Part 5

by Dan Burns on May 26, 2017 · 0 comments

Minnesota-State-CapitolThe article is a good round-up that goes into some detail. Your guess is as good as mine, as to whether Gov. Dayton will “say no to elements of it.”
 

Minnesota lawmakers left for home Friday after a four day of special session to approve the final parts of a new $46 billion state budget, which would increase spending in some areas and provide targeted tax cuts.
 
That package is headed to Gov. Mark Dayton, who is facing considerable pressure to say no to elements of it.
(MPR)

From Session Daily, more on the State Government Finance bill, and bonding bill, with links to spreadsheets and all.
 

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trump17It turns out that Pr*sident Trump’s trillion-dollar infrastructure investment plan is just another mega-lie.
 

All right, so there is no new investment. The “one trillion dollars” was never happening, even back when the plan was only a nebulous stub, and now we learn that “one trillion dollars” is, in fact, bupkis. This is the same administration that is defending a two trillion dollar math error in their budget, so it should come as no surprise that some half-literate cretin working from under a White House desk still swears up and down that the money-farting unicorns will indeed ride across the sunny American skies, so long as you truly believe in them…
 
So there you go, then. It was all crooked from the beginning, and anyone who listened seriously to any of it, knowing what we all know about the pathological liar and his daily, hourly, and by-the-minute lies, needs to have an infrastructure project to cement over the hole in their head. Good God, people, how many times can the man play you before you get tired of getting played. There is no good side to Team Trump, they’re just a set of common thieves borrowing ideas from C-list economic loons whose ideas were proven wrong decades ago. The man and his team will never, ever stumble upon doing a good thing, not even by accident.
(Daily Kos)

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MN lege: To the session’s end, Part 4

by Dan Burns on May 25, 2017 · 0 comments

mncapitol2For some reason, people are huffy that the legislature has been missing its artificial “deadlines,” and legislators have a chance to actually carefully read and consider what they’re voting on, and people whose lives will be affected have opportunities to make their opinions known. I don’t see the big old calamitous problem with that.
 

After hanging around the Capitol all night Tuesday and not getting much done, legislators made some progress Wednesday afternoon and then took the night off.
 
Both the House and Senate voted on a tax cut bill and an education funding measure, but they still have to resolve some differences before sending them to the governor.
 
Other bills, including funding measures for health and human services and state departments, still need to be passed, and lawmakers still hope to pass a public works construction bill.
 
And as the House and Senate struggled to pass bills Wednesday, some DFL-leaning groups tried to put pressure on Gov. Mark Dayton to start over to try to get a better deal.
(MPR)

More on the education bill, which isn’t great to say the least, here, from Session Daily. Ditto on the transportation bill, here.
 
And more on some of those who are not pleased, from Twin Cities Daily Planet, here.
 

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trump21I couldn’t resist the image at the right, but it’s not entirely accurate. Most Trump voters are not “clueless morons” in most areas of life. But when they voted they certainly were. Why so many suspend reason and common sense when it comes to politics, time and time again, does not admit of a quick and easy explanation, because human psychology is endlessly messy and complicated.
 

None of this should be a surprise. Trump is a coward. He says wildly offensive things when the objects of his derision aren’t around, but crumples when he actually meets them. In his presidential announcement speech, Trump called Mexican immigrants “rapists.” But when he sat down with his Hispanic Advisory Council, he proved “humble” and “conciliatory” and called mass deportations “neither possible nor humane.” During the campaign, he endlessly trashed Mexico’s government. But when he actually arrived in Mexico City last August, he declared the trip a “great, great, honor” and when President Enrique Peña Nieto asked him about his famous pledge to make Mexico pay for a wall between the two countries, Trump refused to discuss the subject. During the campaign, Trump accused Black Lives Matter of being responsible for the murder of police, and described African American living conditions as hellish. But when he actually showed up at a black church in Detroit last September, he spent most of his time flattering his hosts. Trump’s speech, noted The Washington Post, constituted a “jarring shift in tone and message.” During the campaign, Trump repeatedly claimed that China was manipulating its currency. But after meeting with China’s president, he acknowledged that was not true.
(The Atlantic)

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State Auditor Rebecca Otto on her farm.  (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)

State Auditor Rebecca Otto on her property in Marine on St. Croix on Friday, January 8, 2016. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)

Here’s why: All the available data strongly indicates that Otto will beat all the other contenders across state in the upcoming Governor’s race.

 

Democrats have two major problems to face in 2018 and beyond. First, how do we win elections? Second, how do we remain true to our progressive and liberal roots?

 

For Democrats, 2018 is a must-win election, and Minnesotans have a lot at stake. Will the state remain the shining star of the North, or will it go the way of Wisconsin, and sink into a Republican dark age of union busting, environment polluting, professor bashing, service slashing, and economic activity destruction?

 

Of all the candidates running or suspected of running for Governor in 2018, Rebecca Otto is the only one who can most clearly win and at the same time preserve and advance core, human based, Democratic ideals, in my opinion.

 

The smart move for the DFL in 2018 is to turn to a candidate that has won several times statewide and has strong name recognition, positive feeling among the voters engendered by her commitment to widely held values, and a strong base of support. State Auditor Rebecca Otto is the only candidate with that resumé. Otto has racked up several historic victories, including the largest upset of an incumbent in 112 years, and is positioned to do it again in 2018. Her statewide electoral prowess far outstrips her nearest competitor, Tim Walz, who is largely unknown outside of his first district, and is untested statewide. Beyond that, Otto stands for strong for Democratic values, while Walz has shown himself to be a DINO-style Democrat. Walz enjoys a very high rating from the NRA, for example, and in February of 2013 was one of only six Democrats in Congress to vote to expand gun sales to the severely mentally ill, over the objections of senior generals including David Petraeus, Michael Hayden and Stanley McChrystal.

…READ MORE

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MN lege: To the session’s end, Part 3

by Dan Burns on May 24, 2017 · 0 comments

mncapitol2What all is going to be signed into law probably during the next day or two has plenty that is bad, but could be a whole lot worse. Scant comfort. The St. Paul Pioneer Press has a good overall guide.
 

– Check out this nasty crap. The blockquote is typed from the article “$46B budget signed, not sealed” from this morning’s Minneapolis Star Tribune print edition, as I can’t seem to find that article online.
 

As part of the agreement with Dayton, Republicans kept the (pre-emption) measure out of their budget bills…
 
But to make the veto more painful, Republicans loaded the bill with other provisions that are important DFL priorities, including a measure to punish wage theft and another to provide paid sick and family leave for state workers, who already have the benefit but would lose it if Dayton does not sign the bill…
 
Dayton said…that he would honor his commitment and veto the bill anyway.

– Health and Human Services will see cuts. From that same Strib article:
 

To offset significant cuts to health and human services, Dayton and legislators agreed to dip into the Health Care Access Fund – funded by a 2 percent tax on medical providers that is scheduled to disappear in 2020.

– Tax cuts for the rich. More here. Probably everything noted in those two linked articles didn’t make it into the final package. But based on what we’re seeing now, at least much of it did.

 

There’s a lot more, of course. But for those whose ordinary human empathy and sense of fairness haven’t disappeared into extremes of right-wing motivated reasoning and cognitive rigidity, to try to put it all into one post would be overwhelming, and not in a good way.
 

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MN lege: To the session’s end, Part 2

by Dan Burns on May 23, 2017 · 0 comments

Minnesota-State-CapitolThere is plenty that progressives are going to find out about that we are not going to like. But the profoundly unfortunate fact is that Republicans won the last election.
 

Minnesota legislators blasted past their midnight deadline Monday to get their work done — but will come back immediately to finish the job.
 
Forty-five minutes before their constitutionally mandated end of this year’s five-month legislative session, Republican legislative leaders joined with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to announce they had reached a deal on how much money to spend on tax cuts, transportation, health and human services and public schools…
 
The deal means a liberal Democratic governor looking to preserve state programs and his legacy and a newly powerful Republican legislative majority aiming to shift Minnesota to the right managed to agree on how to spend $46 billion over the next two years…
 

Dayton said he agreed to call lawmakers into special session just past the stroke of midnight. The agreement means they will have until Wednesday morning to approve a $990 million state building measure, an $18 billion school budget and around $14 billion for health and human services programs.
(Pioneer Press)

This one is from yesterday. It’s a mixed bag.
 

Additional dollars for the judiciary, tweaked language regarding the Appleton prison, and rulemaking related to driver’s licenses for undocumented residents are three of the high-profile items in the final version of the omnibus judiciary and public safety bill.
 
Missing is language related to freeway protestor penalties…
 
The Public Safety Department would be prohibited from using its rulemaking authority to issue driver’s licenses for undocumented residents.
 
“This is in place clearly — clearly — because there’s a mean spirit behind this,” said Rep. Raymond Dehn (DFL-Mpls). Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Mpls) said the provision “smacks of injustice and, I’m afraid, it also smacks of racism.”
(Session Daily)

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Trumped: How To Obstruct Justice

by Bill Prendergast on May 22, 2017 · 0 comments

IMG_0080

Script: Bill Prendergast Art: Caitlin Skaalrud

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MN lege: To the session’s end, Part 1

by Dan Burns on May 22, 2017 · 0 comments

mncapitol2The Jobs and Economic Development bill that was sent to Gov. Mark Dayton is regarded by some as quite deficient.
 

Internet privacy was a popular idea earlier in the Minnesota legislative session — getting 200 of the 201 votes in previous votes in both the House and Senate.
 
Lawmakers didn’t want internet service providers to be able to sell information about their customers’ web browsing history.
 
But that provision didn’t make the final cut in the final jobs budget bill hammered out in the early hours Monday morning at the Capitol.
(MPR)

Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul) said the bill was better than the previous proposal, but remains “totally underfunded.” He plans to recommend that the governor veto the measure for these reasons and because the bill did not address Internet privacy. “This could have been a better bill.”
 
Several policy provisions the governor objected to in the first jobs bill are now absent; remaining, however, is a measure that would prohibit local governments from enacting plastic, paper or reusable bag bans. DFLers called out this provision as an example of the state standing in the way of local authority.
 
They also lamented the time crunch between when the report was made public at 6:10 a.m. and when they were called on to cast their vote after the House went into session at 8 a.m.
 
“We are in the part of the session known as the ‘Shove it down your throat if we can’t make a deal on bills phase,’” said House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park). She said it is a stretch to say the agreement represents a compromise with the administration. “To pretend that everything in this bill was agreed to by the Dayton administration is just not true.”
(Session Daily)

There’s more here, from MPR, about the energy parts of the bill.
 

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minnesota_state_capitolWith the end of the regular legislative session at the end of today, some things have been getting through. So far, while nothing’s perfect, the Party of Trump is for the most part not getting its way.
 

Higher fees for hunting and fishing licenses are in and major changes to the buffer law are out as the House voted 83-51 to pass the omnibus environment and natural resources finance conference committee report late Sunday night.
(Session Daily)

 
The reworked Legacy bill got bipartisan support.

 
The Higher Ed “compromise” may not yet be up to snuff, to get Gov. Mark Dayton’s signature.
 

The Omnibus Elections bill does not include the vote-suppression measures that had been sought by Republicans, led by Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake).
 

Also, no “backdoor vouchers.”
 

But Republicans were forced to give on a big priority: a plan for tax credits to people and companies who donate to private school scholarships for low-income children.
(MPR)

I’ll keep you posted.
 

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