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Bondings and its discontents; primary day for Sertich seat



Minnesota Coalition of Women in Athletic Leadership spotlights National Women and Girls in Sports Day. Noon, Capitol Rotunda.

Bemidji Day at the Capitol. 10:30 a.m. Gov.  welcomes celebrants in his reception room at 3:30 p.m. Address from local legislators, Great Hall. 5:00 p.m. Reception, Kelly Inn, 5:00 p.m., 161 St. Anthony Ave., St. Paul.

MNSCU CHANCELLOR INTERVIEWS: Today and tomorrow at MNSCU headquarters.  Finalists Steven Rosenstone, the U of M’s vice president for scholarly and cultural affairs, and William Sedarburg, who heads the Utah System of Higher Education, will vie for the position. A decision is expected Wednesday afternoon.

GREEN ACRES: GOP Rep. Mike LeMieur and other Republicans will hold a news conference about their plans to make changes to the state’s Green Acres program (12:30 p.m. in Rm 125). PIM’s Charley Shaw laid out the politics and policy behind the Green Acres talk this session here.

SERTICH SEAT: It’s primary day in the election for former Rep. Tony Sertich’s seat. Hibbing’s Carly Melin won the DFL’s endorsement over the weekend, and will face off with four other DFLers for the party’s nomination. The winner will face off against GOPer Paul Jacobson, who ran against Sertich in November, and the Independence Party’s Cynthia Kafut-Hagen in the Feb. 15 election.



HF 72: A bill to remove the state’s ban on new carbon dioxide-producing utilities will be heard in the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Committee at 8:15 a.m.

The Agriculture and Rural Development Committee will hear three bills looking to repeal the 2008 changes to Green Acres at 10:15 a.m.: HF 12, HF 142 and HF 148. The hearing is informational, with no votes.

HF 88: A bill to remove the student health personnel set-aside will be heard in House Education Finance at 12:30 p.m.

The House Ways and Means Committee will hear the following three bills at 4:30 p.m.:

  • HF55: A bill relating to stream acquisition, environmental provisions and state parks.
  • HF1: A bill to streamline environmental permitting. Environmental permitting efficiency provided, and environmental review requirements modified.
  • HF79: A bill providing for tax conformity with the federal health law’s allowance of adult children coverage up to age 26.


The Senate Finance Committee will hear the following three bills at 8:30 a.m.:

  • SF 56: A bill freezing school district and charter school salaries, safe school levy set aside requirement removal and school district contract deadline repeal.
  • SF 69: A bill reducing home school mandates and reporting requirements.
  • SF 40: A bill allowing for alternative teacher licensure.

The Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Committee will hear the following two bills at 10:30 a.m.:

  • SF 139: A bill modifying lead poisoning prevention programs.
  • SF 1: A bill reducing regulations and providing for business tax credits.

The Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources will hear three bills relating to environmental permitting at 3 p.m.: SF 42, SF 57 and SF 29.


BONDING: Gov. Mark Dayton (left) on Monday began his push for a $1 billion bonding bill by offering up $530 million in projects, asking the Legislature to fill out the rest. It’s the second high-profile jobs push Dayton’s made recently, the first being his executive order enacting a number of the signature regulatory changes the GOP leadership had planned. By leaving half of the bill up for grabs, Dayton is essentially asking local officials to lobby the new majority. For the occasion, Dayton was joined by Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede, who is the local official behind Senate Capital Investment Committee Chair Dave Senjem.

GOP REAX: House Majority Leader Matt Dean and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel rebuffed the Dayton proposal. Michel: “It’s not a bonding year, it’s a budget year.” Senate Capital Investment chair Dave Senjem said any 2011 bonding would have to involve an “emergency situation.” His House counterpart, Larry Howes, said he might be interested in doing a bonding bill with the proceeds from canceling some of the outstanding $1.5 billion in projects that have not gotten started. But that was his opinion, not a caucus position, he stressed. A moment later, Howes could be seen mouthing the word “Sorry” to Dean.

BONDING STATS: Howes isn’t the only Republican interested in 2011 bonding. Through yesterday’s bill intros, a total of 15 GOP House members and 12 Republican senators had offered or signed onto bonding project bills. (House Taxes chair Greg Davids has introduced four of his own.) So far, there have been 18 bipartisan bonding bills introduced in the two chambers.

OOPS: In the Senate Health and Human Services hearing Monday, a copy of an e-mail from Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher to local union presidents was inadvertently included in the packet — see a scan of the letter here. The missive asks Ed Minn members to bring interested Republican colleagues to a meeting this Saturday, as “it’s more important than ever” for GOP-leaning teachers to get involved with the new Republican majorities in charge at the Capitol.

ENGLISH ONLY: SF 175, a bill to make English Minnesota’s official language, was introduced Monday. The measure was chief-authored by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, but co-authors do not include Sens. Ray Vandeveer (pictured right) and Roger Chamberlain, whose districts include Lino Lakes. Last July, that city was the first to adopt English as its official language, causing quite a stir. The House companion is HF 64. Rep. Bob Dettmer, who represents Lino Lakes, is a co-author, but fellow Lino Lakes Rep. Linda Runbeck’s name is absent from the bill at this time.

LOBBYISTS’ LAMENT: “It’s almost February 1, and we’re still doing overviews,” one seasoned lobbyist moaned Monday. Others were also lamenting the slow pace of the session Monday, saying they had yet to see significant numbers of bills coming down the chute. Lobbyists have had no trouble staying busy, however: “I’ve never worked so hard the first few weeks,” said one, referring to the challenges of getting to know the new legislators.

NEW BILLS: Besides the English-language bill, Monday saw the intro of:

  • the first big gambling initiative of the session: SF 174, sponsored by Sen. Michelle Fischbach and four others (including DFLer Linda Scheid). The bill would authorize electronic bingo and pulltab gaming. Another gambling bill, HF 294, from Dems Phyllis Kahn and John Benson, would authorize slot machines at the MSP Airport.
  • a House ed policy bill (HF 269) chief-authored by Rep. Keith Downey that would forbid teachers to strike if they are offered a raise equal to the rate of increase in the general funding formula
  • a bipartisan bill (Sens. Sandy Pappas & Julie Rosen) to increase the membership of the pensions commission from 10 to 14 members.
  • a fast-food fatties tort reform bill (HF 264/ SF 160) that would prohibit lawsuits against food sellers on grounds their products made plaintiffs gain weight.

See a full listing of Monday’s House and Senate bill introductions.

APPOINTEES NAMED: The Senate Education Committee confirmed appointees to the Minnesota Board of School Administrators. Jim Rhodes, former legislator and St. Louis Park School Board veteran, Penny Kodich, director of special services for the Edina school district, and Robert Meyer, director of community education for the Chisago Lakes School District, were confirmed.



HF 15: Exempting some military pension income from taxation. Passed Veterans Services Division Committee. Referred to Taxes Committee.

HF 82: Exempting some military retirement pay from taxation. Passed Veterans Services Division Committee. Referred to Taxes Committee.

HF 99: Providing a tax exemption for property owned and operated by veterans organizations. Passed Veterans Services Division Committee. Referred to Taxes Committee.

HF 105: Creating matching grant funding for capital improvements to a disabled veterans rest camp in Washington County. Passed Veterans Services Division Committee. Referred to Government Finance Committee.

HF 203:  Requiring agencies to determine if the cost of complying with a proposed rule in the first year after the rule takes effect will cost more than $10,000 for a person or entity; providing a process for legislative review. Passed Civil Law Committee. Referred to Government Operations and Elections Committee.

HF 240:  Allowing surviving spouses and qualified primary caregivers of disabled veterans to claim homestead market exemption. Passed Veterans Services Division Committee. Referred to Taxes Committee.


SF 32: Healthy Minnesota Contribution program establishment. Passed Health and Human Services Committee. Referred to Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee.

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