The Shutdown ends today; Legislature wraps up its work

MORNING EDITION

Just about two hours ago and 20 days into Minnesota’s government shutdown, the Legislature wrapped up work on all of its budget bills and sent them all on their way to Gov. Mark Dayton for signing. Dennis Lien of the PiPress reports: “The Minnesota House and Senate fairly zipped through some final spending and bonding bills early this morning before calling it quits and heading home. The House adjourned about 3:38 a.m. and the Senate followed one minute later.
All spending and tax bills, as well as a $498 million public works bill, now head to the governor for his signatures later this morning, ending the state’s historic government shutdown and allowing 22,000 laid-off employees to return to work.”

More coverage at MinnPost later this morning.

The local kids aren’t playing well together again. Maeve Reston of The Los Angeles Times reports: “After taking questions from Iowa voters in Marshalltown on Tuesday, [Tim] Pawlenty directly questioned [Michele] Bachmann’s credentials — stating that experience running ‘a large enterprise under difficult and challenging circumstances with a public component to it and driving it to results’ was ‘a necessary prerequisite’ to being president of the United States. ‘She doesn’t have it,’ Pawlenty said of that experience, speaking to reporters at the Marshalltown Public Library in the midst of his ‘Road to Results’ RV tour through Iowa. The former governor predicted Bachmann would have difficulty getting elected: ‘I don’t think the country’s going to do that again. They learned the lesson of big speeches and no experience with Barack Obama and it didn’t work.’ ”

Jonathan Martin’s story at Politico says: “Pawlenty said the president’s poll numbers were ‘awful’ in swing states, but noted that there was a way he could still be reelected. ‘The main way we’re gonna goof this up as Republicans is to nominate the wrong candidate,’ Pawlenty told about 80 potential caucus-goers gathered in the library here for a mid-day town hall meeting. Before finishing his speech, he used another variation of the same line. ‘We’re going to beat Barack Obama — we just need to make sure we have a candidate who can do it,’ the Minnesotan said after urging the activists to pick somebody who ‘can really be the nominee for the whole conservative coalition and who can really be president of the United States.’ ” But, just thinking out loud here, what if you have a dozen “wrong candidates”?

On the strangely “hot” topic of Congresswoman Bachmann’s migraines, Maggie Fox of the National Journal says, “Behind the insinuations is an unhappy history. Migraines are much more common among women, and doctors in the past did not always take the condition seriously. ‘This was definitely a misconception about migraines, and we really didn’t understand what it was,’ Halker said. ‘When we don’t understand something, we tend to throw all sorts of labels at it.’ ‘We know a lot more about it now. Amongst headache doctors we don’t think of it as hysteria, or it’s a woman’s problem, or that it’s all in your head.’ It is more common among women — Halker says 18 percent of women have suffered migraines, as compared to 6 percent of men.”

This one kind of gives me a headache. According to the gay magazine, On Top, gay Republicans are planning to support Our Favorite Congresswoman, should she win the nomination. (Ok, that’s a big caveat.) “GOProud is ready to back Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann for president if she wins the Republican nomination. While the group’s president Chris Barron told POLITICO.com that he is ‘troubled’ by some of the candidate’s anti-gay rhetoric — specifically her support for a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage — Jimmy LaSalvia, the group’s executive director, is quoted in a Yahoo! News story as saying his group has requested meetings with GOP presidential candidates, including Bachmann. ‘We have requested a meeting with Michele Bachmann,’ LaSalvia told the site’s political blog The Ticket. ‘We’ve made this request, as with the other requests, in good faith.’ The group plans to ‘discuss issues important to gay conservatives.’ ”  Like what? Federal earmarks for reparative therapy?

On Field of Schemes, Neil de Mause’s blog about pro sports’ edifice complex, he writes: “Rep. Michael Nelson, one of [GOP Sen. Julie] Rosen’s co-authors on the stadium bill, elaborated on why Rosen was worried about a lynch mob: ‘There’s not a lot of support for cutting people off health care, cutting jobs, then turning around and authorizing bonding for a stadium.’ Rosen’s boundless optimism aside, the odds on a Vikings stadium bill passing this year are getting pretty long: There’s no guarantee that Gov. Mark Dayton will even call another special session this fall, for one thing; for another, there’s still a $231 million funding gap; for third, there’s still the threat of a referendum campaign to force a public vote. If I’m the Vikings owners, I start drawing up plans for a short-term lease extension at the Metrodome for beyond this year; it’s not like a new stadium would be ready for 2012 anyway.” And last time I checked there wasn’t even an assurance of season to be played.

Andy Birkey of The Minnesota Independent and others reports on Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life continuing to push for social issues … even now: “On Monday, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion lobby, stepped up its efforts to get bans on abortion and funding for certain types of stem cell research included in budget negotiations aimed at ending the state shutdown. In an email alert to supporters, the group claimed that taxpayers ‘will be forced to pay for cloning’ and urged members to contact legislators. MCCL has already sent a letter to Republican leaders demanding that anti-abortion measures be included in the budget talks and warned legislators in statements to the press that the group was ‘questioning that leadership’ of Republicans on abortion policy.” I just know DFLers are hurt they didn’t get a letter.

Ah, Tom Petters … David Phelps of the Strib writes: “On Tuesday a federal grand jury in Minneapolis indicted hedge fund manager James N. Fry of Minnetonka-based Arrowhead Capital Management, and it added charges to the previous indictment of another Petters collaborator, Frank Vennes Jr., who was previously indicted in April on four counts of securities fraud and one count of money laundering. Vennes has a February trial date. The new indictment charges Vennes with eight counts of securities fraud, two counts of mail fraud, six counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, three counts of bank fraud and two counts of making false statements on credit applications. Fry, 57, of Orono, faces five counts of securities fraud, four counts of wire fraud and three counts of making a false statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission during its investigation of Arrowhead. Fry, reached at home, had no comment.” And if you missed the good stuff on Vennes, read this.

The Strib’s Lori Sturdevant is upset about all the budget bills written in secret: “Zellers offered the strained argument that since the Legislature’s vetoed budget bills were amply aired during the regular session that ended on May 23, public scrutiny as those bills were modified last weekend was not required. Dayton spoke of the need to balance “reasonable” attention to detail with a desire to end the government shutdown and get state employees back to work. With the shutdown now in its third week, haste is understandable. But defining as ‘reasonable’ any lawmaking done without full public scrutiny is troubling. The journalists and lobbyists who’ve been frustrated by closed Capitol doors in recent days deserve to be joined by concerned citizens in telling state officials to change their end-of-session ways.” Actually, what we should all do is go over to St.Paul, drag them out in the noonday sun and tell them to change their beginning, middle AND end-of-session ways.

With today predicted to be the hottest yet, note that Xcel says we broke a record on Monday. Says David Shaffer of The Strib: “Monday’s demand was 9,500 megawatts in Xcel’s service region in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The previous record was set last Aug. 9 at 9,100 megawatts (MW). By comparison, Xcel’s largest power generation station —the three coal-fired Sherco units near Becker, Minn. — puts out a total of 2,400 MW. At the worst Monday, more than 8,000 customers lost power, but that was down to 1,700 on Tuesday morning, Hoen said. No transmission lines have been affected, he added.”

All that juice may have something to do with the other record … Says Paul Douglas, “Most Humid Day On Record In The Twin Cities. It’s official: the dew point hit an astounding 84 at 3:21 and 3:27 pm, to set an all-time record for the most water ever observed in the skies over MSP. We’ll have to see if the 84 number stands (it took place between hours), on the hour the dew point was 82. The MN Climate Office will have to verify, as early as Wednesday, whether the new record is 82 or 84. We’ve had 3 days/row with dew points at or above 80. Some meteorologists theorize that standing water on the Missouri (and ‘sweaty corn’) over southern Minnesota) may be injecting more water into the air. Dew point values are 10 degrees higher at MSP than along the Gulf Coast! Take a bow, you are living through historic heat (and humidity). Wednesday may bring a high of 100 degrees in the Twin Cities. Factor in a dew point of 76-80 and it could easily feel like 115.”

Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 07/20/2011 - 07:57 am.

    When Zeller says that they have made changes that will affect Minnesota for a generation, it IS time to worry about legislation made behind closed door and passed without much discussion by legislators, let alone citizens.

    In fact, who even had time to read the bills? What about analysis?

    Does anyone know what was in the $500 million bonding bill?

    Is anyone struck by the oddness of a $500 million bonding bill in a non-bonding session, the size of which corresponds to about a third of the difference between Dayton’s and legislature’s final positions?

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/20/2011 - 09:57 am.

    Since our wealthiest “conservative” friends here in Minnesota have been successful, working through their dysfonic Republican admirers and sycophants in the legislature, in making sure they do not have to live up to their civic responsibility to pay AT LEAST the same percentage of the proceeds of their labors as the middle class and working poor of the state,…

    I propose we amend the Constitution of the State of Minnesota to limit the constitutional rights and access to government services of those wealthy Minnesotans commensurate with their high level of irresponsibility.

    In percentage terms, the less wealthy currently pay 12.3%, the most wealthy currently pay 10.3% i.e. the wealthiest have successfully demanded that they be allowed to welch on 19% of their civic responsibility.

    What would a 19% reduction in the rights of the wealthy look like? I’m sure an entire collection of creative reductions in the rights of those refusing to pay their fair share could be devised.

    Perhaps those welchers could enjoy such fair and just responses to their refusal to share responsibility with the rest of the state by:

    –waiting 19% longer for their court cases (criminal or civil) to be heard, and waiting 19% longer before they are allowed to see their lawyers and be released on bail. (those who pay their fair share of the state court systems deserve preferential treatment over and above those who, despite their massive resources, refuse to do so),

    –permitting processes of all kinds by or on behalf of those refusing to pay their just share of the cost of state government must wait 19% longer than those submitted by other folks, OR just be filed away and not considered until 19% of additional time beyond the previous average time it took for such permits to be considered has passed.

    –people refusing to pay their fair share of the cost of state government could have their voting rights limited to 81% of elections of various kinds (each kind of election considered separately) i.e. the welchers must sit out approximately 20% of elections with each type tracked separately – city, county, school board, and state officers, and national senate and house (presidential elections probably can’t be done this way).

    –people welching on their civic responsibility could have the availability of police, fire, and other emergency services reduced by 19% with the result that approximately every 5th time they or someone at any of their homes or businesses calls 911, emergency services will refuse to respond.

    –In approximately every 5th year, the state could refuse to renew the license tabs or other permits required for the homes, businesses, vehicles and leisure toys of the welchers.

    Perhaps others will want to add to my list of ways that government services could be reduced for those who, despite having wealth which far exceeds the average citizens of the state refuse to live up to their civic responsibility to pay their fair share of the cost of our state government.

    It is long since time when “the rich” who would so much like to believe that they are “different” enough not to have to share equally in the responsibility we, the citizens of Minnesota share with each other,…

    That all those who agree with Leona Helmsley that “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes,” are encouraged to shuffle themselves off to states where their overall quality of life will reflect their dysfonically essential cheap and chiseling natures,…

    Leaving the psychologically healthy, more functional among the wealthy of the state of Minnesota behind to work with the rest of us to begin the process of undoing the damage done by the Ventura/Pawlenty years and, by working together, begin to rebuild “the state that works,” to it’s former high-functioning glory.

    (Of course this would also result in the departure from the state of MANY current media owners and commentators, but EVEN THIS would mean that our state media would cease being a propaganda arm which feels a reflexive need to repeat verbatim, without research or question, talking points in support of the fabulously wealthy and return to providing us with far better, far more honest, and far more accurate information.)

  3. Submitted by Howard Salute on 07/20/2011 - 12:08 pm.

    Mr. Kapphahn: I may be in favor of limiting a poster’s monthly comments to uhhh, pick a number….let’s say 20,000 words. Do you think you could live within that budget?

  4. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 07/20/2011 - 12:16 pm.

    I find it ironic that Lori Sturdevant, or any mainstream reporter, is upset over the closed sessions at the capital. With most of the Twin Cities media doing such a crappy job of explaining what steamrollers the Republicans committee chairs were all year, I would have thought them all closed if it wasn’t for some YouTube videos and an occasional mention by MinnPost of indefensible treatment by some of the Republican chairs over ordinary people. I saw none of that reported by any of the “lamestream” media. Whereas I absolutely support open meetings, they are open for a reason. So they can be reported on, not just so the reporters can feel special by being there in attendance and reporting the results.

  5. Submitted by will lynott on 07/20/2011 - 12:28 pm.

    So, TP doesn’t think MB has the experience he claims he has to be president. A look back at the last decade would persuade any reasonable person that he hasn’t, either. Not a winning argument, tp.

  6. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 07/20/2011 - 08:54 pm.

    While it’s tempting to blame all the wealthy for paying lower rates of income tax than middle class folks, the truth is that many of them are working to get fair, progressive taxation back in effect.

    They know, as do the rest of us, that refusing to raise revenue results in cuts to desperately needed state health care and human services, to education, to infrastructure maintenance or replacement, to transit and parks and recreation and all the things that make this a good place to live AND a good place to do business.

    When we have replaced the ideological members of the legislature who seek to destroy government, we can return to government of, for and by the people instead of corporations and right-wing “think” tanks.

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