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Dayton on stadium bill: 'Sound, reliable and sufficient'

Gov. Dayton is giving legislators his equivocation-free endorsement of the stadium funding bill. Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib writes: “As a Minnesota Senate committee prepared to put the Vikings stadium bill to its first test, Gov. Mark Dayton wrote to lawmakers to assure them the measure had his full support. ‘Let me be very clear that I fully support SF 2391 proposed financing plan for the stadium,’ the DFL Dayton said in a letter to the Senate committee chair and other lawmakers. ‘Anyone who says otherwise is speaking without my authorization and is seriously misrepresenting my position. Furthermore, everyone trying to dismantle this proposal, without offering a better one, is clearly trying to defeat the bill’. … ‘I believe it is sound, reliable, and sufficient to finance the state's share of this project," Dayton said of the revenue.”

That’s “striped pole,” not “strip pole.” The Huffington Post picks up on a (very) arcane bit of legislation having to do with … barber’s poles. “Friendly arguments aren't hard to find in a barbershop, but try cutting in on a hallowed symbol – that red, white and blue pole – and it may be time to hide the scissors. Steeped in history and symbolism, those iconic cylinders spinning on storefronts across America are an increasing source of friction between barbers and beauticians. Minnesota, Michigan and North Carolina are the latest fronts in a spreading legislative campaign to reserve the swirling poles for barbers. The proposals, which often include fines for offenders, are driving a new wedge in a trade where gender lines have long run deep. ‘The barber pole is the oldest sign in town besides the cross. It should not be displayed where there is not a licensed barber,’ said Charles Kirkpatrick, of Arkansas, a barber since 1959 who keeps tabs on such legislation for the National Association of Barber Boards of America. For many, the only real difference between a barber and hairstylist is the clientele they serve. But barbers say the tools of their trade and unique services they provide make them different, and that laws are needed to prevent beauty parlors, salons and other establishments from passing themselves off as barbershops, including chain shops that bear the barber name and logo but don't have a single licensed barber on site.” And what do the folks at Regis have to say about this?

If you’re operating on the Great American Quarterly Review standard, of course you dump wellness. The Strib story, by Katie Humphrey, explains: “The Statewide Health Improvement Program, known as SHIP, burst out across the state in 2009 as community gardens, fresher food in schools, employee wellness programs for small businesses and efforts to make public places smoke-free. Now, in the wake of its funding being slashed by more than two-thirds last year, the program — envisioned as a years-long effort to change how people think about their health — faces an uncertain future. At the Capitol, some in the Republican majority question the value of designating millions of dollars for the prevention-oriented public health program. ‘I don't believe, and have not seen, any evidence that the money being spent has any measurable effect on anything,’ said Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, who chairs the Health and Human Services Committee. ‘Is it the duty of the state government to provide bike racks to people?' " Obviously not. The only duty of state government, as I understand it, is to provide tax relief to job creators.

While some stadium revenue ideas involve shifting costs to the widest range of taxpayers, the GOP believes public transit riders need to bear more of the cost of that service. Says Pat Doyle in the Strib: “GOP legislators are pushing increased fares for metro buses, light-rail and commuter trains, part of a longstanding effort to shift more of the cost of transit from taxpayers to riders. Supporters say a 25-cent hike is justified as gasoline prices rise for motorists, but opponents say the increase would violate a deal that broke the state budget impasse last summer. Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, noted that since the last fare increase in 2008 ‘virtually everything in everybody's life has gone up.’ Gimse also argued that another fare increase would reduce the dependence of Metro Transit on future state funding.”

Very bad news for your average Wisconsin commuter. The AP reports: “A state appeals court says Wisconsin's drunken driving laws apply on frozen lakes. The case arises from an incident on Lake Winnebago in January 2011. Sheriff's deputies discovered Todd Anderson of Oshkosh, Wis., behind the wheel of a sports utility vehicle on the ice. According to the appeals court ruling, his blood alcohol percentage was 0.365 percent. Prosecutors charged Anderson with drunken driving. A judge dismissed the case, though, ruling Wisconsin's drunken driving laws apply to premises open to public motor vehicle use and the lake didn't qualify.”

Has anyone done a revenue-impact assessment on this one? Dennis Lien of the PiPress writes: “The speed limit through a stretch of Interstate 35E in St. Paul has been 45 mph since a compromise enabling the roadway to be completed was reached almost three decades ago. But a Burnsville legislator wants to bump it up a bit. Republican Sen. Dan Hall has introduced legislation requiring the Minnesota transportation commissioner to set 50 mph as the speed limit. The change would take effect when new speed limits are posted or Aug. 1, whichever occurs first. His proposal didn't get much traction at a Senate Transportation Committee meeting Tuesday ... when he acknowledged not having worked out details with the city of St. Paul and Crocus Hill neighbors who fought construction of the four-lane roadway in the 1980s.”

Pop quiz. ID the party pushing the sex education legislation in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story: “Schools that teach sex education would have to tell students that abstinence is the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy under a bill headed to Gov. Scott Walker. The Assembly approved the measure early Wednesday ... after approving a bill putting restrictions on some insurance coverage for abortions. Lawmakers were also to consider new limits that would prevent doctors from providing abortion drugs remotely through the use of web cameras. The moves on two hot-button social issues come after legislators, in a session touted for its focus on creating jobs, failed to pass a bill last week to streamline iron ore mining that supporters said would create thousands of good-paying jobs. Earlier this year, efforts to pump money into venture capital to spur the economy fizzled out. The mining and venture capital legislation had been the top jobs bills this year for Republicans who control the Legislature. Now, they have turned their attention elsewhere, and the abortion and sex education bills were among the crush of bills they debated Tuesday into early Wednesday.”

Interesting commentary on the MPR site, on the effect of sleeping pills. Writes Anne O’Connor, “... people who use sleeping pills are at a greater risk for diseases such as cancer and heart disease than people who don't use sleeping pills. And this whopper: The study says that people who use sleeping pills have a higher risk of death. With millions of patients using these handy little pills on a regular basis, there's some freaking out going on. Some patients are responding with a clear message: ‘I'd rather be able to sleep and live a shorter life.’ But others are understandably worried. And there are doctors who say that the study isn't conclusive and that more studies need to be done, even though others already have raised similar alarms. But however people greet the news, this is an issue for the almost one in 10 adults in this country who uses sleeping pills. … There are many practical, simple things we can do to get a good night's sleep. We can stop drinking caffeine and eating chocolate. We can exercise regularly. We can nap during the day, which can actually help us sleep at night (read "Take a Nap, Change Your Life"). We can create a sleep routine and set a bedtime. (A bedtime? For grownups? Yep.) We can turn off the television and the computer two hours before going to bed. We can create a dark, quiet sleeping space. Or we could pop an Ambien.”

Jessica Lussenhop of City Pages notes that the group most prominent in the prolonged Anoka-Hennepin school district fight, The Parents Action League [PAL], has achieved full “hate group” status: “The Southern Poverty Law Center recently released its annual ‘Hate Map’ which identifies over 1,000 groups all over the U.S. that it considers to be hate groups. Debuting this year is the Champlain-based group Parents Action League, which testified at many Anoka-Hennepin school board meetings against repeal of the neutrality policy. They also strongly advocated that students in the district be referred to ex-gay therapy resources. ‘They say terrible things like gays are more promiscuous than straights,’ says Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project. ‘They also work closely with other anti-gay hate groups.’ The Southern Poverty Law Center recently got a ground-breaking settlement against the Anoka-Hennepin school district after alleging that the district's policies created a hostile environment for gay students that lead to discrimination and bullying. Members of the Parents Action League had a strong hand in creating some of those policies.”                                   

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Comments (5)

With one exception...

Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, noted that since 2008 ‘virtually everything in everybody's life has gone up.’....except, of course, taxes on the 1%. Kudos to Joe for preserving that one.

Not Everything

Income for the 1% has gone up. Not for the rest of us of course.

Sen. Hann is right

Recipients of the Prevention-oriented public health dollars shouldn't assume the money will keep flowing forever without measurements of the results. Starting immediately, recipients should keep track of weight loss, blood pressure, calories burned, whatever can be measured because this issue will come up again and again. There isn't money for everything. Programs that show results are more likely to get scarce funding than those which don't have measurements.

Not So Fast

It took years and years to get us into this obesity epidemic. It just MIGHT take us more than a year or two to get out of it. As someone whose payroll taxes go in to the Health Care Finance Administration, I have a large stake in decreasing obesity rates and increasing healthy behaviors.

My, the TV generation is impatient, is it not?

and Corporate welfare has to stop as well

This country can not afford to give tax breaks to corporations which continue to pay millions of dollars to execs who accomplish nothing.