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Bipartisan support for higher candidate fundraising limits

Do we want them to spend even more time panhandling for money? Tom Scheck of MPR writes: “Some state lawmakers from both parties say they hope to raise the limit on the amount of money a candidate for state office can raise and spend. … The chairs of the House and Senate Election Committees both say they want to increase the limits. The top Republican on the House Elections Committee also says he's likely to back the plan as well. The reason is simple. Political candidates feel like they're being dwarfed by spending from outside interest groups. Candidates for statewide office can raise $500 in the years they're not on the ballot. They can raise $2,000 in election years. Legislative candidates can raise $100 in non-election years and $500 in the years that they're on the ballot.” Aren’t they addressing the wrong end of the problem?

Yes, schools want money, but of a certain type. The AP story says: “Minnesota lawmakers discussing state IOUs to public schools are hearing from education groups that the catch-up payments shouldn't be the priority. The House Education Finance Committee reviewed legislation Tuesday, Feb. 12, to undo school payment delays enacted to get the state through past budget shortfalls. Schools are owed about $1.1 billion. Leaders of groups that lobby for some school districts, teachers and administrators argued that lawmakers should focus instead on increasing the state's overall contribution to schools.” Or at least let the schools put electronic pull-tabs in home rooms …

The wolves have lawyered up. Steve Karnowski of the AP says: “The Humane Society of the United States and other groups are suing to restore federal protections for wolves in the western Great Lakes region. The groups filed the lawsuit in federal court in the District of Columbia on Tuesday against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They say taking wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan off the endangered list last year threatens the recovery of wolves throughout most of their historic range.”

On the religious Gleanings website (a site this close to a copyright infringement charge) Melissa Steffan writes: “Christian writer and speaker Greg Boyd's megachurch is weighing its affiliation options, part of a yearlong commitment to exploring Anabaptism. According to Mennonite World Review, Boyd said Woodland Hills Church has been ‘growing in this direction since the church started, without knowing what Anabaptism was.’ Now, its pastoral team is in talks with leaders of both the Mennonite Church USA and the Brethren in Christ denominations. … CT has previously reported on Boyd, a leading proponent of open theism and a prominent Twin Cities pastor, who has criticized the Religious Right and supported pietism. CT also has covered the Anabaptists and the Mennonites, who are known for their pacifism.”  Raise your hand if you’re a fallen-away “piest.”

The Orange Court Register (L.A. metro) rips in to Gov. Dayton’s “snowbird tax” idea: “There are few state governments as imaginative as California in coming up with questionable new taxes on businesses or residents, but Minnesota comes close. In his recent proposed 2012-13 state budget, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton proposed to slap an income tax on part-time residents of the Gopher State who spend colder months in balmier states like California and Florida. … If Minnesota's Democrat-controlled Legislature approves the governor's proposed snowbird tax, it is almost certain to wind up in court. That's because not even high-tax California has the gumption to impose income taxes on the out-of-state earnings of its residents. … Gov. Dayton is wrong to demagogue the state's thin-blooded residents who prefer to spend the Minnesota's long, cold winter in warmer climates. Instead, he should appreciate that they are so fond of the Gopher State, they choose to summer there.” Doesn’t California have enough problems of its own making that it can leave us alone?

The GleanBased on an overheard supermarket check-out lane conversation, the latest Amy Senser info has tongues wagging … again. In Emily Gurnon’s PiPress story, she says: “Plenty of evidence at the trial of Amy Senser supports her two criminal vehicular homicide convictions — including testimony that she deleted text messages after a deadly crash, gave away clothes she had been wearing and dyed her hair, according to the state's brief filed in response to Senser's appeal. ‘Not only did (Senser) flee the scene of this collision, she took pains to cover up her involvement’, said the brief by Lee Barry of the Hennepin County attorney's office, which prosecuted Senser.”

Is he really in a position to make anything happen? Elizabeth Baier’s MPR story on Red Wing’s  frac industry-representing mayor says: “The Red Wing City Council is calling for an independent investigation into Mayor Dennis Egan's new position as executive director of a lobbying group for the silica sand industry. Since the mayor publicly acknowledged his role with the industry group last week, some residents and city leaders have said the position poses a conflict of interest. … At a City Council meeting with dozens of residents present, Egan defended his position on the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council, a group of companies with interests in silica sand mining. As a lobbyist who has represented other clients at the State Capitol, he said his critics were being ‘unreasonable.’ ‘For me to pick and choose my livelihood and a client of mine, versus the mayor, in my eyes — and I understand there are other people that disagree with me — I don't think that's a reasonable request,’ he said, adding that he had nothing but the ‘upmost respect’ for Red Wing's citizens and community.” Excuse me. What did he say?

Also on the matter, Winona Daily News editor Brian Voerding writes: “As Winona County continues to trudge through the frac sand debate and every associated issue, we should be thankful at least for this: Our elected officials haven’t done anything nearly as stupid as the ones north of here. Red Wing mayor Dennis Egan was recently hired to lead a lobbying group for the frac sand industry. He doesn’t think it’s a conflict of interest to be the mayor of a town that has dealt with and will continue to deal with the processing, trucking, shipping and other businesses leaping at the chance to handle the dusty gold companies are digging out of southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin mines. Clearly he doesn’t think much at all. Even if he chooses not to vote on a single issue or permit related to frac sand, he’s still nothing more than a lobbyist lawmaker — which should be an oxymoron.” ... But isn't.

At Bluestem Prairie, Sally Jo Sorensen sees an ironic upside to the flap: “[T]his isn't a good start for the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council, although Bluestem is beginning to think we should cheer its hiring of the Red Wing mayor. Nothing else seems to have stripped the blinders from the public's eyes about the realities of this industry — not even the eyesores it creates on a lovely working landscape. Since Dennis Egan, the Mayor of Fracsandville and Red Wing, promises that the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council is all about ‘best practices’ in the industry, let's take him at his word. What we're seeing with this hiring is what corporate mining interests believes is a ‘best practice.’ ”

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Comments (1)

It's not panhandling

It's not panhandling when the office holder is expected to give something (to the donor) in return. There maybe other names for it, but not panhandling.