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State GOP dances around Vikings stadium dreams

MORNING EDITION ALSO: Flood worker presumed killed in accident; Vikings news past and present; tougher campaign reports proposed; Wisconsin developments; and more.
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The very amusing dance of the state GOP around austerity for all (or at least 95 percent of us) while still entertaining a possibility of a Vikings stadium gets another look by the Strib’s Mike Kaszuba. He writes: “Even as two leading Republican legislators prepare a Vikings stadium bill, their party’s leadership has largely sidestepped stadium questions. Most Republican leaders insist that solving the state’s $5 billion budget deficit comes first. … Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, is the likely lead Senate author on Vikings legislation. She acknowledged that unveiling a Vikings public subsidy plan while Republicans roll out proposals to cut state government would present an image problem. ‘I think we’re still working that through,’ she said. ‘You need to be a little sensitive about that.’ Following the collapse of the Metrodome’s inflatable roof in December, Rosen promised to unveil a Vikings stadium proposal by late January. But in a sign that the legislation is facing complications, the proposal has yet to be introduced.”

As of late last night, searchers still had not recovered the body of the MnDOT worker whose backhoe fell into the rain-swollen Minnesota River near St. Peter. Tim Krohn of the Mankato Free Press reports: “Michael J. Struck, 39, of Cleveland was using the backhoe to clear debris from culverts that run under Highway 169 between Mankato and St. Peter. The backhoe was parked on the southbound shoulder, reaching down to pull up debris when it slid into the creek and the current flipped it upside down shortly before noon. Nicollet County Sheriff Dave Lange said Struck’s body was apparently pulled through one of the two 8-foot culverts.”

Judd Zulgad, covering the NFL owners meetings for the Strib in  New Orleans writes on the “Access Vikings” blog: “NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that he doesn’t plan to suspend Kevin Williams when the lockout is over, even though the defensive tackle is no longer appealing the StarCaps case. That’s because Williams’ teammate, nose tackle Pat Williams, is taking his case to the Minnesota State Supreme Court after a Feb. 8 ruling in which the Minnesota Court of Appeals declined to block the NFL’s suspensions of the Williamses for taking a banned diuretic. ‘I think we’ll wait until the litigation is done before we make a decision [on any potential suspensions],’ Goodell told two Twin Cities reporters following his news conference that wrapped up the NFL owners meetings at the Roosevelt Hotel.”

Speaking of football, Michelle Knoll of the AP reports: “Ex-Minnesota Vikings player Ron Yary is suing former teammate Stu Voigt over some bad investments. In a federal lawsuit made public Tuesday, Yary and others allege Voigt fraudulently got friends to make high-risk investments between 2002 and 2007 by telling them there was no risk and that he would personally guarantee the money. Instead, the lawsuit states, Voigt received commissions and finders fees, while the investors lost their money. Some plaintiffs say they lost their entire life savings, while Yary lost $100,000.”

Ryan Howard of the Fergus Falls Journal lays out the basics of a tragic story in tiny Amor, Minn.: “According to the Fargo Forum, Dylan Cox, the 17-year-old boy involved in the shooting, died on Tuesday afternoon at Sanford Hospital in Fargo after being airlifted there on Monday night. Tabitha Belmonte was a Perham High School student, and Cox was a former student there who recently was a student at Battle Lake High School. The two had an infant together … The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office has also reported that one of the two teens involved in the shooting on the 3000 block of Twin Lake Road had a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The shooting was called in to law enforcement at about 9 p.m. Monday.”

Gov. Dayton wants a quarterly accounting of campaign money, even during non-election years. Josh Simeone of the AP writes: The “bill would require quarterly campaign cash updates every year, eliminating a 13-month reporting gap in non-election years. Dayton says the gap leaves the public in the dark about who’s influencing politics while lawmakers make crucial budget decisions. But the proposal faces a tough road ahead — it has no Republican supporters in the GOP-controlled Legislature.”

Keeping up with Wisconsin, the Los Angeles Times runs an Op-Ed piece by Garret Keizer, an editor with Harper’s magazine, who argues for a boycott of all things Wisconsin, saying: “Wisconsin has become a pariah state. It ought to be treated as such. Anyone with a credit card or a grocery cart is equipped to do so. Anyone with a dollar in his or her hand is capable of casting a vote against what has been done, and what will, if not stopped, become a model for rolling back virtually every workplace right we have. Almost anyone can join in a boycott. It is undeniable that boycotts harm the innocent. Is it fair, for example, not to purchase cheese made by a Wisconsin farmer who drove his tractor to the capital in a show of solidarity with state employees? It is not fair at all, but neither is it unwarranted or unprecedented.”

Covering the suddenly very interesting Wisconsin Supreme Court election for FoxNews, Mike Tobin reports: “[E]ven supposed non-partisan races for the bench have gotten caught up in the recent union flap. ‘The best is yet to come,’ says former State Democratic Chair Joe Wineke. ‘This is only heating up.’ The incumbent, David Prosser Jr., is being challenged by JoAnne Kloppenburg in the April 5th election for a seat on the state’s highest bench. … [I]f the [temporary restraining order issued last Friday on collective bargaining rights] makes it to the Wisconsin Supreme Court before the election, Prosser will issue an opinion as to whether Judge Sumi crossed over the separation of powers and ‘intermeddled’ in the legislature. If the case doesn’t make it to the top court before the election, Prosser will be perceived as a conservative vote and targeted by the left preemptively. But don’t think that only Democrats are playing politics in the high court of the Dairy State. Daro Crandall, chair of the Douglas County Republican Party says, “We can’t just support Governor Walker. We need to stand up and back Prosser to keep these measures in place.”

Elizabeth Dunbar of MPR gets a senior editor with the respected Cook Political Report to say that Tim Pawlenty is a stronger candidate than Bachmann: “Jennifer Duffy, senior editor at the Washington, D.C., publication, said Pawlenty hasn’t alienated members of the Republican Party the way Bachmann has. ‘She’s already had some missteps,’ Duffy told MPR’s Morning Edition, referring to Bachmann’s recent incorrect statement that the Revolutionary War started in New Hampshire. Bachmann must also wait for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to decide whether to run, because the two can’t both be in the race, Duffy said.”

Blogger Tony Angelo at Minn-Donkey puts up a post guaranteed to stir strange, arousing emotions in statistics wonks. Basically, he’s analyzing the difficulty  DFLers are going to have winning back the Legislature in 2012. It seems few  of the Dems score as high in their districts as their GOP counterparts do in theirs: “The problem for the DFL going forward is that they need to be successful in GOP districts if they want to take back control of the Senate and counting on Obama and Amy [Klobuchar] at the top of the ballot to tug them over the line won’t work.” It’s worth a read.