1.) The Capitol Security Advisory Committee approved a draft list of recommendations on Tuesday that would commit the state to a significant increase in security spending, but likely won’t include any new measures to limit the existing right to carry firearms on the Capitol complex. That’s despite the concerted effort of Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, who brought an amendment that would have banned guns altogether in the Capitol, the State Office Building and the Minnesota Judicial Center. Paymar’s amendment had the support of Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, who chairs the advisory panel, but was defeated due to the votes of Rep. Kelby Woodard, R-Belle Plaine, and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria; Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lori Gildea abstained, citing the possibility that the issue could wind up in her court some day, and Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, was absent from the hearing. The committee did manage to give its stamp of approval to proposals that would nearly double the amount dedicated to security resources in the Capitol and surrounding state-owned buildings, from $4.6 million a year to $8 million.
Another provision that would require gun owners to resubmit their notification that they intend to carry a gun in the Capitol annually was altered through an amendment that would lengthen the requirement timeline to every five years. Prettner Solon said the committee will meet once more in early January to endorse the final recommendations.
2.) Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Honour agreed yesterday to release his 2012 tax returns to the Star Tribune. Honour earned $1.7 million during that year, making him the leader in the clubhouse among candidates who have chosen to disclose their personal income; Gov. Mark Dayton and several GOP would-be candidate have already shared their own income records, while former legislator Marty Seifert has said he would not reveal his. Honour paid about $636,000 worth of income tax and another $147,000 in property taxes. The business executive has long been thought the lone GOP candidate wealthy enough to self-fund a gubernatorial campaign if Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, does not enter that race.
3.) Auditor Rebecca Otto is not running away from her vote against allowing 31 copper-nickel mining leases to go forward; rather the opposite, according to Minnesota Public Radio, which reports that Otto appeared at a public event in Ely to help explain her position on that issue. Otto told dozens of interested residents that her vote, the only opposition voice on the state’s Executive Council, was partly intended to bring increased attention and transparency to the mining debate. “I need to draw it to people’s attention, whether we embark on this or not, that we understand what’s at stake for us as a state, and the taxpayers of the state,” Otto said. The DFL auditor is already the subject of a small-scale lawn sign campaign highlighting her vote, and has, at least temporarily, lost the support of some Iron Range Democrats. That list includes Babbit Mayor Bernice Norregard, who argued that mining employment “adds to our tax base.”
COMINGS & GOINGS
Yet another new DFL candidate has emerged in House District 64B, the seat that will eventually be vacated by Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul. Gloria Zaiger, a US Bank employee who has also worked for Greenpeace, logged her candidacy with the Campaign Finance and Public Dislcosure Board on Monday; according to her campaign website, Zaiger was a Democratic National Convention delegate last year, and recently married her long-time partner Katie.
Danna MacKenzie will serve as the state’s new director of the Office of Broadband Development. The former Cook County employee will head up an office created by the Legislature earlier this year, and is chiefly tasked with monitoring the spread of broadband internet access in rural areas.
Erin Campbell of the Messerli & Kramer lobbying firm has signed on to work for the Minnesota Sheriffs Association as of this past Monday. She joins fellow firm lobbyist Eric Hyland in representing that interest group.
Lobbyists Larry Redmond and and David Johnson have registered to advocate for Retail Services Inc. d/b/a Total Wine & More. Those are the first lobbyists on record for that group, which is based in Maryland.