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GOP’s Gruenhagen on welfare, ‘minorities’ and out-of-wedlock births

Paymar isn’t backing down on background-check bill; MN College Republicans chair backs gay marriage; Hartnett, others seek filmmaking support at Capitol; IBM moving production out of Rochester; and more.

GOP Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen has already made a name for himself, though probably not the sort of name many of the rest of us would care to have. And that was before his latest, uh, thoughts, on the welfare system and black families. Via The Uptake and Sally Jo Sorensen’s Bluestem Prairie blog:

“Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) introduced amendments–and controversy–into the fractious debate over HF5, a bill to create a state-run health care exchange.

“Fresh from his controversial statements last week about marriage equality and the nature of same-sex attraction, Gruenhagen dove in with a claim that ‘welfare’ programs were responsible for out-of-wedlock births among ‘minorities’ — and so the health care exchange might further erode traditional marriage:

“When a country undermines traditional marriage, it cannot print up enough money to take care of all the problems that happen in our society. And we need to look no further than our welfare program and the black families in this country. Prior to the great society programs of the 60s the out of wedlock birth among black families was approximately, or was under 20 percent. Today that in the inner city, the out of wedlock birth for black families is over 80 percent. And one of the primary reasons for that is that we have developed government programs that will pick up the tab for having children out of wedlock. The result is we exploit our women, we create a bad situation for our children, especially minorities and we tell men that they can impregnate as many women as they want and the government will pick up the tab.”

What’s the actual “reality-based” cost to taxpayers of Mayo Clinic’s ambitious expansion plans? Heather Carlson of the Rochester Post-Bulletin says, “A Senate committee agreed to advance the Destination Medical Center bill without recommendation Tuesday, after questions were raised about the total cost of the public funding Mayo Clinic is seeking. This marks the first hiccup in Mayo Clinic’s quest to get state help to support its $6 billion Destination Medical Center proposal. … Hammes Co. President Robert Dunn, the lead consultant hired by Mayo Clinic to work on the DMC project, acknowledged it would be more than the $585 million the clinic is seeking but did not have a cost estimate. During the hearing, senators were not aware of the $1 billion debt-service estimate included in a Minnesota Management and Budget analysis of the House version of the bill.” Are those same senators up to speed with medical industry finances as detailed in Steven Brill’s TIME article?

The personal side of that semi crash into a Wisconsin river … . Paul Walsh of the Strib says, “The search resumes Wednesday for one of two Minneapolis truckers — described as best friends — who went into a western Wisconsin river with their big rig from Interstate 94. Crews working Tuesday in the Red Cedar River near Menomonie recovered the body of Batrodin A. Siyad, 25 … . Still missing is co-driver Mohammed O. Malin, 26, the patrol added. … Siyad’s family said he began working for Dashman about two weeks ago and sought the job so he could be a driving partner with Malin. ‘He was my brother’s best friend,’ Abdul Siyad said of the two men.

If popular opinion means anything there’s nothing to lose by pushing this as far as it can go. Tom Scheck of MPR writes, “The chief sponsor of a bill that would require universal background checks for gun buyers is not backing down, despite signs the measure doesn’t have enough support to pass the House or his committee. The announcement comes as a bipartisan group of lawmakers is scheduled to hold a news conference today to announce a separate gun bill that does not include universal background checks. The dispute is creating a rift between two powerful DFL legislators. For weeks, Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, has been trying to round up support for his bill that would require universal background checks on nearly all gun purchases in Minnesota. That plan has been widely criticized by gun rights group[s] as an infringement on the 2nd Amendment. Even as Paymar held hearings and crafted his legislation, DFL legislative leaders, the National Rifle Association, public safety groups and the leading Republican legislator on gun rights worked behind the scenes to come up with an alternative.”

Well, it is a generational split … . Patrick Condon of the AP says, “The two-term chairman of the Minnesota College Republicans on Wednesday, March 6, became the latest from his party to support legalizing gay marriage in the state. Ryan Lyk, 21, wants people to know that not just Democrats support gay marriage, according to a report from the Associated Press. He released a statement of support in conjunction with Minnesotans United, the political group pursuing a gay marriage bill that could get a vote later this spring at the Capitol.” Now go tell that to the Kandiyohi Senior Center.

Why fight it? Emily Gurnon of the PiPress says, “Steven Roger Johnson, the St. Paul man indicted for first-degree murder in the death and dismemberment of his wife, Manya Johnson, is scheduled to plead guilty Friday, March 8. … Manya Johnson’s body was found dismembered in a White Bear Lake garage. Charges said Johnson shot his wife in the head when she told him she was leaving the relationship, then cut up her body with a saw and put it in plastic bins.”

The GleanRemember “Pearl Harbor”! Chris Hewitt of the PiPress writes, “A coalition of moviemakers, including actor and St. Paul native Josh Hartnett, is headed to the capitol to pose that question. … at an informational hearing today, a group of filmmakers — including producer Ralph Winter (‘Fantastic Four’), former director of Independent Feature Project North Jane Minton and Hartnett, who shot one of his first films, ‘Here on Earth’, in Minnesota — will discuss whether money, including Legacy Funds, could be invested in movies. In effect, that would make the state of Minnesota a profit-sharing partner in making films.”

Do this and watch the traffic jams as thousands flee to South Dakota … . The AP reports, “A House committee is reviewing a proposal to raise state taxes on beer, wine and liquor. The Taxes Committee convenes Wednesday, March 6, to review the proposal from Rep. Karen Clark, a Minneapolis Democrat. Her bill would increase excise taxes on beer from $2.40 to $13.97 per 31-gallon barrel, which works out to about 3 cents a glass. Wine excise taxes would go up about 9 cents a glass and liquor taxes would increase about 10 cents.”

IBM production in Rochester is packing up for Mexico and New York. The AP says, “IBM says it’s moving most production from its Rochester plant to Mexico and New York state. IBM spokesman Scott Cook says manufacturing of its Power Systems, PureSystems and PureFlex Systems servers will be moved to Guadalajara, Mexico. Refurbishing of used IBM machines will be moved to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Cook won’t say how many jobs will be lost in Rochester when the manufacturing shift is complete next year.”