Politics with J. Patrick Coolican

Budget targets coming this morning

Good morning. We’re nearly to the weekend!

It’s April 28, the agreed-upon date for setting joint targets on the state budget. This week was primarily full of disagreements over what “joint targets” are, so it appeared nothing would be happening. However, a news release this morning says House and Senate Republicans will unveil their joint targets at a news conference later this morning.

Not much happening at the Capitol today in terms of committee hearings. Only thing on the agenda is a meeting of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.

Gov. Dayton has a full day of media appearances. He’s on MPR at 11 a.m. and appearing tonight at MinnRoast. Lt. Gov. Smith is speaking this morning at the opening of the new Workforce Center on West Broadway Avenue in north Minneapolis.

Newly minted Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Matt Dean made the rounds to talk to reporters Thursday morning. He told Patrick Coolican that his top priority is getting rid of MNsure and overhauling health insurance more broadly. (A related note from Coolican: “Thursday’s newsletter should have said elimination of MNsure in the House HHS bill is delayed until 2019, but it is definitely in the bill. Apologies to Rep. Matt Dean.”)

The Minnesota GOP will pick a new party chair at a meeting Saturday in St. Cloud. Coolican will be there to cover the vote, and he previews the hotly contested party election.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt put out a press release Thursday evening announcing that he’ll introduce a “pro-mining” resolution at Saturday’s meeting. It includes a dig at Gov. Dayton: “WHEREAS, the Dayton Administration has used the environmental review process to unnecessarily delay the approval of economic development projects across northern Minnesota…” and pledges to support the mining industry.

In Minneapolis, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Mayor Betsy Hodges and Police Chief Janeé Harteau are not on the same page. On Wednesday morning, Harteau announced that she’d promoted former police union chief Lt. John Delmonico to oversee the city’s Fourth Precinct, covering the north side. About seven hours later, Hodges put out her own statement: Delmonico would not, in fact, get the job. Today, some solid reporting from my colleagues David Chanen, Adam Belz and Libor Jany, who learned that Harteau told Hodges about her plan, 90 minutes before she sent out the news release. The mayor asked the chief for a meeting, the chief said no -- and that’s how we ended up with Wednesday’s turn of events.

Of note: this back and forth comes about a month after the release of a federal report that concluded that poor communication between Hodges and Harteau was a major problem in the city’s response to the police shooting of Jamar Clark and the subsequent 18-day occupation of the Fourth Police Precinct by protesters. A few days later, Harteau was ranked No. 22 on Fortune magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” and Hodges was very complimentary, mentioning the report that outlined the pair’s communication issues: “I think the fact the chief, with me, asked for that after-action assessment is a sign of her courage and leadership, not a way to question it. I’m really grateful people recognize her leadership and service. ... I couldn’t be more proud. Way to go, chief. Good for her. I’m just so excited for her.”

Immigration arrests are up in Minnesota and surrounding states since President Trump took office. Mila Koumpilova breaks down the numbers -- and notes that while arrests are up over the same period in the last couple of years, they are roughly in line with earlier Obama-era rates.

Former U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Andy Luger – who was asked to resign after Trump took office -- told Stephen Montemayor that he plans to keep working to combat violent radicalization as he gets back to practicing law.

Elsewhere around the Midwest: The mayoral race in Omaha has turned into a national story -- and a debate over who belongs in the Democratic Party. Short version: young Democrat mounting a viable challenge against the Republican mayor gets some help from a Bernie Sanders endorsement. Abortion rights groups learn that this candidate is opposed to abortion. DNC leaders, The Nation suggests, throw their candidate under the bus. (Something this former Omaha city hall reporter can offer: Democrats can certainly get elected in Omaha, but they are not the same Democrats that win in Minneapolis or Seattle or other big, blue cities. This will be an interesting race to watch.)

Another loss for Nicollet Mall, and bookstores:  downtown Minneapolis’ Barnes and Noble closes -- for good -- on Saturday at 8 p.m.

On a brighter note, I don’t think it’s supposed to snow this weekend. The Loons are playing at home tomorrow night, and they are undefeated at home when it is not snowing.

And when we’re back on Monday, it will be May -- and exactly three weeks until the Legislature adjourns. Here’s hoping everyone is on the same page about what “adjourn” means.

Comments, tips

-- Erin Golden



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