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Nuke bill passes Senate; GOP hits Melin

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WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY

EVENTS

State of MSP Airport: Gov. Mark Dayton and Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) Executive Director Jeff Hamiel will appear at the “State of MSP Airport” luncheon at the Bloomington Airport Hilton, which runs 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. More information here.

Minnesota Credit Union Day at the Capitol.

The Faces of AHEC– Noon-2pm, Room 316 Capitol.  Event includes lunch and networking with Area Health Education Center members and staff. More information here.

FLOOR SESSIONS

The Senate will be in session at 11 a.m and is expected to take up its ‘Phase One’ budget bill.

The House will be in session at 3 p.m. and is expected to have a short session.

BILLS IN COMMITTEE

HOUSE

The Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee will hear HF 57, a bill to ban synthetic marijuana, at 8:15 a.m.

The State Government Finance Committee will hear HF 110, a bill to increase the membership on the Legislative Committee on Pensions and Retirement, 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 Government Operations and Elections Committee will hear three bills at 10:15 a.m.:

HF 1: A bill relating to environmental permitting; HF 89 and HF 210: Voter ID legislation. The committee will only hear testimony on these two measures.

The Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee will hear HF 152, a bill making it a crime to illegally possess or sell identification documents at 10:15 a.m.

The Ways and Means Committee will hear HF 63, an alternative teacher licensure bill. Time will be announced on House floor, but will start no earlier than 4 p.m.

SENATE

The Judiciary and Public Safety Committee will hear two bills at 1 p.m.: SF 33: Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act – only the judicial provisions; SF 42: A bill relating to DNR permitting efficiency and modifications.

The Environment and Natural Resources Committee will hear SF 158, a bill modifying outdoor heritage fund appropriations and provisions, at 3 p.m.

WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY

NUKE PASSES: Following the first real Senate floor debate of the session, the Legislature’s upper chamber approved Majority Leader Amy Koch‘s (pictured left) SF 4, a bill removing the state’s ban on new nuclear power plants. The House companion, HF 9, is still in committee.

The DFL largely held its collective powder on the bill during Wednesday’s floor session, proposing only a handful of amendments to the measure before it passed by a 50-14 vote after about an hour-long debate.

Don’t expect the relative bipartisan calm to last, however: the Senate is expected to take up its ‘Phase One’ budget bill Thursday, and we heard the Senate DFL had some parliamentary and political maneuvers planned for a tax conformity bill due on the floor last week — before Koch held the measure over, that is.

MELIN: Less than a day after she won the DFL primary for former Rep. Tony Sertich’s House District 5B seat, the state GOP took aim at Carly Melin (pictured right), alleging that she didn’t meet the 6-month residency requirement for running for office. Melin voted in the Aug. 10 primary in St. Paul, the GOP said, and would have had to reside in-district by Aug. 15 to meet the requirement.

The DFL said Melin moved back to Hibbing on Aug. 11 shortly after finishing law school, meaning she’d be eligible. The Secretary of State’s office pointed to a number of provisions in state law that define “residency,” among them: a person doesn’t lose residency if temporarily living elsewhere, or if their family still lives there. There are no provisions saying voting establishes residency under the law.

If someone in the district were to lodge a complaint over the matter, the petition would be filed with Supreme Court. That process is laid out here. PIM’s Briana Bierschbach has more here. (Correction to yesterday’s Melin item: We said she graduated from college in 2003; Melin, who is 25, graduated from high school in ’03.)

TIMING: When asked about the timing of the Republican attack against Melin, one GOP operative smiled and said the party had been sitting on it for “quite some time” until right after the primary. “It should be no surprise why we waited,” the operative said.

EMMER RNC BID: 2010 GOP gov nominee Tom Emmer is certainly the best-known name competing for a Republican National Committee post, but his candidacy may be undermined by lingering intra-party resentments over legal bills from the recount. Emmer’s campaign committee finished the year with $46,000 left in the bank, and many Republicans think he should have given that money to the state party by now to help defray its legal costs. There’s also speculation that Emmer may want the post in part to keep his options open for another gubernatorial run in 2014 — a less-than-thrilling prospect in many eyes, given his failure to win in the best Republican year since 1994 (or 1978). Emmer’s opponents for the slot: former state Rep. and Hennepin County commissioner Jeff Johnson and political consultant Ben Golnik.

DFL CHAIR: The DFL will elect its leadership this weekend, including state chair, associate chair, secretary, treasurer and affirmative action officer. The meeting will begin at 11 a.m. at Dassel-Cokato High School in Cokato. Former WIN Minnesota PAC executive director Ken Martin is expected to win the state chair race with little opposition.

NEW BILLS: Rep. Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa continues to be the House GOP’s point person on an inordinate number of potentially controversial bills. Wednesday’s bill intros included two notable measures chief-authored by Drazkowski:

  • HF 332, a bill to outlaw any net increases in the amount of land owned by the state, is partly an effort to curb new land acquisitions through Legacy Amendment spending. Drazkowski is joined by 13 GOP co-sponsors and two DFLers: Reps. Tom Rukavina and David Dill.
  • HF 331 would mandate drug screening for recipients of Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) welfare benefits.

Drazkowski is also a co-author on House Ways and Means chair Mary Liz Holberg‘s HF 329, a bill to prohibit public school employees from using public money or resources “to pass, elect, or defeat a political candidate, ballot question, or pending legislation.”

Here’s the full listing of Wednesday Senate and House bill introductions.

ZELLERS APPOINTMENTS: House Speaker Kurt Zellers made a number of appointments Wednesday to both the IRRB and the Lessard Sams Council.

  • To IRRB: Reps. Tom Anzelc, David Dill, Tom Rukavina, Larry Howes and Carolyn McElfatrick. David Chura, who lives in a taconite assistance area, was appointed the non-legislator public member.
  • To Lessard-Sams: Reps. Denny McNamara and Leon Lillie. Ron Schara was appointed as a public member. McNamara replaces Rep. Rick Hansen, who was a frequent critic of the council. PIM’s Paul Demko spoke with Hansen Wednesday.

2012 SENATE: MPR’s Tom Scheck checks in with high-profile Republicans rumored to be mulling a challenge to Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Notable no’s, Scheck reports, include: Laura Brod and Marty Seifert.

THE SLOW LANE: One lobbyist predicts a lot of committee meeting cancellations and generally slow going until after Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget is released in mid-February. After that, the lobbyist said, everyone will be going “70 in a 55 mile per hour zone.”

FOLLOWING IN MOM’S FOOTSTEPS:  Former six-term GOP Rep. Kathy Tingelstad’s son Karl, age 23, was victorious in his bid for a post on the Anoka County Conservation Board, winning a 3-way race and receiving 40,000 votes to defeat an incumbent. Tingelstad chuckled as she reported that Karl frequently reminds her that the most votes she ever garnered was in the 10,000-vote range: “A legislative district is not the same size as Anoka County.”

HARDY BIKER: Of the 400-plus motorcyclists who attended Biker Day at the Capitol, Charles from Minneapolis was the only participant who actually rode his bike. It’s a Ural model, which Siberians use all year — complete with a sidecar to prevent tipping. Their legislative agenda? Two bills that increase the penalties for deaths from careless driving, and the preservation of Motorcycle Safety fund.

BILLS HEARD IN COMMITTEE WEDNESDAY

HOUSE:

H.F. 8: A bill establishing the Healthy Minnesota contribution program. Passed by Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee. Referred to Health and Human Services Finance.

H.F. 62: Adding a reference to the 1924 Milford Mine disaster in Crosby to Workers Memorial.  Passed by House Government Operations and Elections Committee.  Referred to State Government Finance.

H.F. 103:  Modifying the extension and eligibility of unemployment benefits.  Passed Taxes Committee.  Referred to Ways and Means.

H.F. 212: Changes to definition of public employee. Passed by House Government Operations and Elections. Sent to House floor.

H.F. 305:  Detached banking facility in Northern township approval. Passed by Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee. Referred to Government Operations and Elections.

SENATE:

S.F.  42:  Environmental permitting and review modifications. Passed State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee. Referred to Judiciary.

S.F. 125: Detached banking facility in Northern township approval. Passed by Commerce and Regulatory Reform. Sent to Senate floor.

About Jake Grovum

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