1.) There’s no sign of a slowdown in partisan bickering as the January 1 effective date of MNsure approaches — rather the opposite. Senate Minority Leader David Hann and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt held a press conference Monday afternoon to detail their fears that coverage purchased through the health insurance exchange will not actually go into effect on Jan. 1 as advertised. Hann said insurance companies he has talked to still have not received data on their new customers, and said those customers have not been issued any kind of insurance card as proof of coverage. Said Daudt: “We’re not getting any answers or seeing any signs that instill any confidence in us that the governor is doing the right things to make sure that people are going to be insured.” In response, Gov. Mark Dayton‘s press secretary, Matt Swenson, said MNsure answers to its board, rather than Dayton himself, and pointed out that Dayton had repeatedly voiced his own displeasure in some of the problems and glitches around the exchange.
Also Monday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Honour issued a statement calling on MNsure executive director April Todd-Malmlov to resign. Honour’s message, an uncharacteristically bold one for the first-time candidate, said Todd-Malmlov had failed to anticipate or fix issues that had arisen around the exchange. Honour said the last straw for the director should be her November vacation to Costa Rica, saying the timing of that trip is “beyond belief.”
2.) Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board executive director Gary Goldsmith testified in front of a joint House and Senate committee hearing Monday to address recent reports of flaws in state records, the Star Tribune reports. Goldsmith told legislators that the board had been aware of discrepancies in its files, typically owing to one party disclosing a donation that the donor or recipient organization does not report. Staff are currently working to bring the records up to date, Goldsmith said, though he added that the fault nearly always lies with the treasurer of a given political fund, rather that state regulators. The board is discussing its 2014 legislative agenda at a 9:00 a.m. hearing, and Goldsmith indicated that one recommendation could be increased power to force committee treasurers to address discrepancies in submissions to the board.
3.) DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson was targeted with a new campaign ad from the American Future Fund, an outside spending group that boosts Republican candidates, The Hill reports. The ad paints the longtime incumbent as having “lost his Minnesota nice,” due to his many years spent in the nation’s capital. The campaign commercial is the first outside spending purchase made in the 7th Congressional District yet this cycle, and comes just two weeks after Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, announced he would seek the GOP nomination in that race.
COMINGS & GOINGS
Rep. Sandra Masin, DFL-Eagan, has acquired a Republican challenger in House District 51A. GOP activist Victor Lake registered his campaign on Monday, and will look to unseat Masin, now in her third non-consecutive term in the House. Masin lost her seat in 2010 but won it back in 2012, collecting more than 55 percent of the vote to beat GOP incumbent Diane Anderson.
Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, is holding a 7th Congressional District campaign fundraiser at Burger Moe’s in St. Paul tomorrow. Expected guests include Senate Minority Leader David Hann, Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, as well as a number of lobbyists. RSVP to Trisha Hamm at 651-769-7687 or [email protected].
Lobbyist Joel Carlson has registered to represent Uber Technologies, the California-based company behind a popular smartphone app that allows customers to book rides with luxury automobile drivers. Carlson is Uber’s first lobbyist on retainer.
Gov. Mark Dayton will meet this morning with legislators and former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Eric Magnuson to discuss task force recommendations for fixing the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.
Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, and Rep. Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul, were selected as Bush Foundation fellows for 2013. Reinert will use his fellowship grant to work on issues of civic engagement, and Moran’s project is centered on early childhood education programs.