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Minnesota Senate fails to pass public works bill by one vote

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk

Ah, the heck with it. The weather’s nice. Let’s put it off for next year, or the year after that. Says Bill Salisbury in the PiPress, “The Minnesota Senate narrowly defeated a public works funding bill on Thursday, putting in doubt the fate of construction projects across the state this year. … Dozens of financially strapped rural Minnesota cities would be on their own to repair or replace substandard sewer and water systems — if they could afford it. State colleges and universities wouldn’t be able to make critical fixes on aging buildings.”

For the Forum News Service, Don Davis writes, “The Minnesota Legislature is in limbo after Thursday’s narrow defeat of a major issue on the table this year. “I think for those Republicans who want to have a do-nothing session, they don’t feel we should spend any money, they may get their way,” Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, said after a Democratic public works funding bill failed by a single vote.” Obviously the tax cuts for job creators portion didn’t go far enough.

Over at MPR, Tim Pugmire says, “The proposed borrowing package included more than 300 public construction projects, including college campus upgrades and water facility improvements. During the floor debate, Sen. Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said the bill was too big to pass. Senjem said cutting the bill by half would be a good compromise. … ‘ We need to kind of soften this up a little bit, skinny it up, make it work for I think everybody.’” In other words, “Less for more!”

Stribber Patrick Condon says, “To date, House Republicans have only said they intend to propose $600 million in bonding projects. GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt has been elusive about when he’ll publicize a list. ‘We are working on a bill,’ said Daudt, R-Crown. By law, the Legislature must adjourn for the year no later than May 23.” Hey, take your time, dude.

Pipeline debates up north. In the Duluth News Tribune, John Myers says, “A court-ordered do-over of Enbridge Energy’s Sandpiper pipeline environmental review, now paired with the company’s Line 3 review, is underway in earnest with public hearings by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Hearings were held Thursday morning and evening in Carlton as supporters and opponents engage in another round of debate on whether the oil pipelines should be built across northern Minnesota and, if so, where they should go. … If approved, Enbridge hopes begin construction in 2018 and have the Sandpiper line moving oil by 2019, Enbridge spokeswoman Shannon Gustafson said Thursday.”

For The Hill, Melanie Zanona reports, “The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has opened up a formal investigation into allegations of racial profiling by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The agency announced Thursday that the investigation was prompted by a TSA employee who claimed his supervisor advised him to ‘treat members of the Somali community differently from others who visit the Minneapolis TSA office.’ The announcement comes a week after TSA whistleblowers testified in front of Congress that poor leadership and a culture of retaliation are making it harder for the agency to address security gaps.” Plus, they have to spend all day with noses full of smelly feet.

It’s going to be another lutefisk-like cliche, I’m telling ya. KARE-TV’s Dana Thiede reports, “ESPN is tapping into Minnesota’s unique relationship with hockey and the party mullet in a new E:60 special called ‘Minneflowta’ due to air Tuesday, May 10 at 9 p.m. on the all-sports network. The genesis for the special was ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose’s participation in this year’s edition of the 2016 Minnesota State High School All-Hockey Hair Team video, which has morphed from cult phenomena into a must-see spectacular. The videos celebrate the best of Minnesota’s long haired hockey players, and the variations they put on their displays of premium flow before the helmets are strapped on.” 

I ask you, what was the last time there was a recall on Slim Jims? Mike Hughlett of the Strib tells us, “Recalls linked to possibly listeria-tainted sunflower seeds processed in Crookston have mushroomed, and now involve several major food companies across the nation. The recalls connected to the SunOpta plant in Crookston include items sold in 28 states by Kroger, one of the nation’s largest supermarket operators, as well as dozens of products made by TreeHouse Foods, a major private-label food manufacturer.”

Enlightenment across the river! Mary Lynn Smith of the Strib reports, “Threatening parents with a fine might be one way to stop a bully. Several towns in Wisconsin now will fine parents who refuse to keep their children and teens from bullying others — a novel tactic that’s sparking interest from around the globe. Shawano, Wis., a town of 9,300 people about 40 miles northwest of Green Bay, is the latest to pass an ordinance that holds parents of bullies accountable. Parents could be fined $366 for the first offense and $681 for the second offense in a year.”

In plenty of time for … Father’s Day. Says Kavita Kumar, also in the Strib, “Best Buy will have ‘very limited quantities’ of the $599 Oculus Rift available for sale at 48 stores around the country where it has Intel Experience shop-in-shops that show off other cutting edge technology. … While many experts see a huge potential with virtual reality, many consumers who are not big gamers are still wondering why they should be interested in it. So in order to help drum up more interest, Best Buy and Oculus, which is part of the Facebook empire, are also offering an opportunity for consumers to check it out in person so they can see it for themselves.” Geek alert!  

A dangerous first-grader? Jaime Delage of the PiPress reports, “A St. Paul elementary school teacher was injured by a first-grader Wednesday, the latest in a string of violent incidents involving students and teachers at public schools in the city. No students were hurt in the outburst at Cherokee Heights Elementary School, but the teacher did seek medical attention, according to St. Paul Public Schools spokeswoman Toya Stewart Downey. … The student struck the teacher in the head with a chair, Stewart Downey said.”

Had to check in with the Power Line barristers to see how they were taking the “presumptiveness” of Donald Trump. Says Steven Hayward, “First of all, kudos to Roger Simon of Pajamas Media, who said last summer that Trump would be the nominee and is in a strong position to win the general election. … Notice, incidentally, that the exit polls yesterday showed Trump beating Hillary on the issue of who would be better able to handle the economy. If the economy is the leading issue in November (as it usually is), then this race is a lot closer than currently looks in the polls. And by the way, have you noticed that Trump consistently runs ahead of his polls? Just as there were ‘shy Tories’ in Britain last year, I suspect there are a lot of shy Trump voters right now.” 

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 05/06/2016 - 09:36 am.

    Good Enought For ’em

    So small towns out state may have to pony up for their own sewer and water projects? Sounds fair to me, they elected small government conservatives who love local control. No reason they should be able to have their cake and eat it too; that’s never worked out for me.

  2. Submitted by Rod Loper on 05/06/2016 - 10:30 am.

    Sorry to see this

    This will step up their efforts to weaken pollution standards.

  3. Submitted by James Hamilton on 05/06/2016 - 11:18 am.

    Gov. Dayton

    lays the failure of the bonding bill on Republicans. It’s a two-way street. Dayton himself had asked for $100 billion, the DFL came up with $150 billion while the GOP offered $100 billion. Each had its own priorities. Once again, no one seemed prepared to (gasp!) compromise.

    I’m not aware of any participant having included anything completely ridiculous in its proposal. So, let’s demand they all get to it and address some of the many items requiring funding. Personally, I’d favor preserving our existing infrastructure over creating new infrastructure.

    • Submitted by Tim McCarthy on 05/06/2016 - 12:12 pm.

      No list

      The house Republicans haven’t got a proposal. It’s hard to compromise when one side won’t even tell you what they want.

      • Submitted by James Hamilton on 05/06/2016 - 03:27 pm.

        I stand corrected.

        “There’s a lot of room to negotiate, a lot of room to compromise. We just need to get serious on the part of the DFL,” said Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie. He said Republican senators were not lobbied for votes by the bill’s DFL backers, and pointed out that a number of Republicans did vote for a trimmed-down, $1 billion project list that the DFL majority rejected.

    • Submitted by Walt Cygan on 05/06/2016 - 12:22 pm.

      Just a bit off

      Your numbers are a bit off. Dayton proposed $1.4 billion (not $100 billion). The Senate proposed and tried to pass $1.5 billion. The House GOP set a $600 million target, but has not said what they want to include. The Senate GOP has said that $990 million or so would be OK, and Speaker Daudt seemed to say that might be OK as a final number.

      I don’t know if the House GOP has included anything ridiculous in their proposal, because they haven’t made a proposal that includes specifics. They are saying the the tax and transportation bills have to get done first. That seems to me to be a wacky argument since you know that all of this stuff has to get hammered out together.

      It seems as if the House GOP is running out the clock and trying to blame that on the DFL. I guess we’ll see in November if either argument sticks with the voting public. I personally think that the DFL has the better argument at this point, but I don’t think it was a good idea to try to pass the Senate version when Bakk didn’t have the votes, since 60% is required.

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