Good morning. Wild advance and three weeks until the 2015 legislative session ends, assuming the House and Senate can come to an agreement and Gov. Mark Dayton signs on.
Senate Taxes Chairman Rod Skoe introduces his omnibus tax bill today. It will contrast sharply with the House plan. Senate in session at noon. House at 3:30. Full schedule.
Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith meet with Canadian Governor General (?) David Johnston. Dayton has an emergency meeting of the Executive Council at 3:00 for bird flu that’s open press. Then he makes remarks at 6:30 for the opening of the Olympus Brooklyn Park (Olympus, 9600 Louisiana Ave North, Brooklyn Park.)
An oft-quoted statistic that by 2018 70 percent of Minnesota jobs will require post-secondary education is flat wrong, Adam Belz reports. It’s way too high. It’s a number that gets thrown around the Capitol a lot.
Schools scrambling to get ready for new mandatory ACT. On April 28, 64,000 juniors will sit for the exam, Erin Adler reports.
Former Minneapolis City Council policy aide recording the stories of the transgendered, Erin Golden reports.
House GOP passed their education budget Saturday, and Ricardo Lopez was there.
Over the weekend, Pat Condon looked at the much touted Republican rural agenda and finds gaps in the budget plan.
RSB and Montgomery mention the unmentionable: A possible shutdown.
Washington and beyond
AP: Clinton Foundation acknowledges missteps in donor disclosure.
Roll Call: Comcast failed acquisition a win for Franken.
President Barack Obama nominated Justice Wilhelmina Marie Wright to serve on the U.S. District Court for Minnesota Wednesday.
Wright has served for 15 years on all levels of the Minnesota courts — as an associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court since her 2012 appointment by Gov. Mark Dayton, a judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals from 2002 to 2012, and a trial judge on the Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul from 2000 to 2002. Wright is a Harvard Law School and Yale University graduate.
“She has a long and distinguished record of service, and I am confident she will serve on the federal bench with distinction,” Obama said in a White House release.
She was nominated after U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken recommended her nomination for federal district court judge in February. She would fill the seat of Chief Judge Michael J. Davis, who will step down from active service on Aug. 1.
“The job of a federal judge is an exceptionally important position that requires someone with a diverse record of experience and an unwavering commitment to the fair and just application of the law,” Franken said about Wright. “With decades of legal experience and a strong background as a public servant on both the state and federal levels, Justice Wright is well-qualified to serve Minnesota on the U.S. District Court.”
Davis is the only black federal judge in Minnesota history. Wright is the first African American woman to serve on the State Supreme Court, and would be the second black federal judge.
“Justice Wright has it all: a brilliant legal mind, an enormous breadth of experience, and a commitment to justice and public service,” Klobuchar said. “I was proud to recommend her for this position and know she will serve Minnesota with the same distinction that has marked her entire career.”
Gov. Mark Dayton said he is proud to have appointed Wright to the Minnesota Supreme Court, and said he is urging the Senate to promptly confirm her.
"I continue to be greatly impressed with her character, her longstanding commitment to public service, and her exceptional judgment," Dayton said in a statement.
Wright will help carry the federal bench’s diversity and will probably be confirmed sometime this year, said Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor who has studied the judicial selection process.
“You never know what can happen, but I would doubt that she’s going to be controversial,” he said.
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Al Franken said Monday he will not sit in the chamber during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress Tuesday, while his Democratic colleague Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she will be there.
In an e-mail, Franken said the speech had "unfortunately become a partisan spectacle."
The Israeli prime minister, amid his own re-election campaign,accepted an invitation by GOP House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to address a joint session of the Republican-led Congress. The two Republican leaders did not check with the White House or the State Department -- considered a breach of protocol.
Netanyahu is expected to talk about his opposition to talks the United States is having with Iran about its nuclear program. Obama is not expected to meet with Netanyahu when he is in town.
"I'd be uncomfortable being part of an event that I don't believe should be happening," said Franken. "I'm confident that, once this episode is over, we can reaffirm our strong tradition of bipartisan support for Israel."
Franken joins Democratic Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison, who said earlier this month they would boycott the speech.
Republican Reps. Tom Emmer, John Kline and Erik Paulsen said they will be there, as will Democrat Reps. Rick Nolan, Tim Walz and Collin Peterson.
WASHINGTON -- Mere weeks into his first term as a U.S. congressman, Republican Rep. Tom Emmer is challenging the right flank of his party.
Just after midnight Saturday, Emmer issued a statement calling out Republican House colleagues who don't support fully funding the Department of Homeland Security because of President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration.
Some House Republicans have said they only support funding the Department -- responsible for border and airport security, customs, immigration -- if cash is stripped out to execute Obama's immigration executive orders issued last year.
Democrats and the White House find this position unacceptable and the issue has sparked a stalemate on Capitol Hill. A few hours before DHS ran out of money Friday at midnight, the Senate approved a seven-day funding bill and the House did the same. This means it will have be resolved, again, by this Friday.
"I am disappointed that many of my colleagues chose to put the security of Americans at stake and waste time playing politics," said Emmer, who replaced Rep. Michele Bachmann in January. "Congress has a solemn responsibility. As a body, we should never hold America's safety hostage simply for political gamesmanship ... With recent terror threats to the Mall of America hitting so close to home and the potential need for natural disaster relief in Minnesota during the winter months, it is imperative we approve the funding the DHS needs."
Emmer said he disagrees with Obama's immigrations actions, but thinks it will be solved in the courts. Two-dozen states, led by Texas, are challenging the constitutionality of the immigration orders.
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Al Franken was elated Thursday when the Federal Communications Commission approved rules that ensure Internet providers treat all legal content equally.
"Last spring, I could not have predicted that we would be celebrating this victory today," Franken said, on the Senate floor. "The best principles of our democracy have won out. It's clear that the voices of the American people have been heard. I've often called net neutrality the free speech issue of our time."
Franken has long fought in the weeds on net neutrality. At a Judiciary Committee hearing last year on the issue, there was standing room only because so many "free Internet" activists filled the room to hear Franken speak. Franken often talked about Comcast's "100 lobbyists" on Capitol Hill fighting for the Time Warner merger and challenged fellow Judiciary Committee Republican Sen. Ted Cruz to explain his opposition to net neutrality. Cruz called the issue "the Obamacare for the Internet."
"It was a statement that seemed to demonstrate a basic misunderstanding of what net neutrality is and how the Internet works," Franken said Thursday."Some folks really don't get it."
Franken said thanks to the FCC's ruling -- commissioners split on a party line vote -- he can "stream videos of my amazingly cute grandson just as easily as I can stream a hit TV show."
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