1.) The apparent impasse over the size and scope of the capital investment bill has not changed over the holiday break, according to the Rochester Post-Bulletin, which finds Senate Minority Leader David Hann taking a hard-line stance on the $850 million cap leaders agreed to last year. Some Democrats, including House Capital Investment Committee chair Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, and Gov. Mark Dayton, have said they’d like to see the bill’s allowance go higher in light of positive economic news for the state.
Hann says this idea is “off the table, frankly,” and insists his caucus will stick to the deal struck at the end of the 2013 session. Democrats did approach Hann about agreeing to a higher figure, but rejected his offer to negotiate over the terms of the minimum wage and school anti-bullying bills.
DFLers in both the House and Senate have said they intend to supplement the bonding bill with the use of cash. In a subsequent interview with Politics in Minnesota, Hann said he did not anticipate withholding votes to drive down the combined cost of the bonding and cash funding bills.
2.) Gov. Mark Dayton and executive branch officials unveiled a new Minnesota tourism initiative on Thursday that capitalizes on $11 million in funds lawmakers passed last year to showcase unique elements of the state, the Star Tribune reports.
The campaign shows off local music in television commercials that will now spread into Kansas, Missouri and western states. The program got a 65 percent boost in funding last year, and it is aimed at helping Minnesota’s $12.5 billion a year tourism industry.
“This new campaign is a movement that will highlight unique Minnesota attractions and engage consumers in conversation about Minnesota travel,” Explore Minnesota Tourism director John Edman said. “This cutting-edge campaign allows our state to be more competitive, and grow tourism across Minnesota.”
3.) DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s re-election bid will get another Hollywood boost, this time from “Parks and Recreation” star and fellow SNL alum Amy Poehler, according to MinnPost. Franken’s campaign has already tapped into his former entertainment biz colleagues from time to time, including Conan O’Brien and Jon Hamm.
Franken has so far raised $2.7 million in the first quarter of the year, adding to his war chest of nearly $6 million. Businessman Mike McFadden, Franken’s closest GOP challenger, has $1.8 million on hand.
COMINGS & GOINGS
- Anoka-Hennepin school district teacher Jefferson Fietek, who has taken a central role in advocating for gay right for students in that district, has announced his intention to run for the House District 36A seat held by Rep. Mark Uglem, R-Plymouth, the Pioneer Press reports. Uglem, a freshman, won election with just 51 percent of the vote in 2012.
- Nancy Brataas, the second woman ever to serve in the Minnesota Senate, has died at age 86, according to the Star Tribune. The Rochester-area Republican was first elected to office in 1975, and served for 17 years; she was also chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota from 1963-1969. Brataas is noted as a leader in the push to bring a University of Minnesota campus to Rochester, and Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, said her predecessor had “worked tirelessly” to accomplish that feat.
- DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar took to Twitter to congratulate her campaign manager Justin Buoen and his wife Linh on the birth of their newborn son, Henry.
- Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, has hired lobbyist Rob Doar to serve as her deputy campaign manager, politics.mn reports. Doar advocates on behalf of the Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, and also works as a firearms instructor.
- Former House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher has endorsed her one-time DFL colleague in the House, Marion Greene, in Greene’s quest to win a seat on the Hennepin County Board.