1.) DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson announced on Monday that he would, in fact, seek re-election this year, assuaging the fears of Democrats in both St. Paul and Washington. “I still have a lot of work to do,” Peterson said in a statement given in Moorhead, according to the Star Tribune. The 12-term congressman, now 69, had kept Democratic campaign strategists in limbo for several months running. Peterson has consistently won re-election regardless of his district’s conservative voter base, and has managed to succeed whether other Democrats do well or poorly in a given election cycle. Peterson’s announcement was hailed by DFL Party chair Ken Martin, who called Peterson a “true champion for farmers and middle-class families.” Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, the presumptive GOP nominee in the 7th Congressional District election, met the news with a statement explaining that he was inspired to run for office in an attempt to provide “a new direction, fresh leadership, and a return to more of the conservative ideals that have made America great.”
2.) Senate Democrats have about 24 hours to land on a final tax cut bill to meet a deadline set by Gov. Mark Dayton‘s administration, but there’s virtually no chance that package will materialize in time, MPR reports. Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans had urged swift passage of bills to conform Minnesota tax code with the federal I.R.S. policy, which would lead to increased exemptions and savings for middle-class income earners. Frans said 44 percent of the state’s income tax filers have already submitted their annual documents, adding, “every day does matter, because if we can get it processed and out there then we can let people know how to make those changes.” Senate DFL caucus members have yet to budge from their more patient position; Senate Taxes Committee chair Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, is holding a second day of hearings on various tax repeal proposals, and has said he does not plan to get a bill to the Senate floor until Friday.
3.) The requirement that 10 percent of Minnesota biodiesel come from soybean byproducts was threatened with a delay during a Monday hearing, but that provision has so far survived, Forum News Service reports. The Senate Commerce Committee voted against pushing back the implementation, despite the obvious position of committee chair, Sen. James Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul, and bill author Sen. Melisa Franzen, DFL-Edina, who had voiced concerns about consumer preparedness for the measure, which is set to go into effect on July 1. For his part, Metzen said the bill’s loss does not mean the delay idea could not still come back during this session. “This isn’t over,” he said.
COMINGS & GOINGS
- DFL Reps. Paul Marquart (Dilworth), Tim Mahoney (St. Paul) and Jean Poppe (Austin) will hold a 2:00 p.m. press conference in room 125 of the Capitol to discuss economic development initiatives focused on outstate Minnesota.
- Deputy St. Paul Mayor Paul Williams is leaving his municipal role to become new CEO at Project for Pride in Living (PPL), a Twin Cities-area housing nonprofit, the Pioneer Press reports. Williams had been with the city of St. Paul for more than three years, and will serve his final day in the administration on April 11.
- James McClean, formerly government relations director with the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, has left that job to take a new position with HealthPartners.
- The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is hiring for a labor research analyst position to work in the Mankato, Rochester and Winona areas. Qualified applicants should have a degree in public policy, public administration, economics or another related field, or could have three-plus years of relevant experience in labor market studies coupled with working knowledge of the Minnesota economy. Salary ranges from $42,000-$62,000; more information at the state jobs website.
- Lobbyist Todd Johnson has registered to work for Animal Rescue, Media & Education, marking his first official advocacy role in several years. Johnson is the animal rights group’s first lobbyist on file with the state.