Gov. Mark Dayton is intensifying pressure on legislators to legalize same-sex marriage this year.
The governor’s campaign sent out an appeal to supporters Wednesday urging them to contact their legislators and press them to support a measure that could be days away from a vote to legalize same-sex marriage.
“I believe all of us should have the freedom to marry legally the person we love,” Dayton says in the note. “But our opponents won’t let go. They’re targeting legislators with harsh mailings, pressuring them to vote no. They’re threatening to go after members who vote ‘yes’ in the coming elections.”
Dayton calls the measure “historic legislation” and said supporters need to turn up the volume at the Capitol.
“Urge lawmakers in St. Paul to follow their consciences and pass the freedom to marry,” he said. “We cannot legislate love. Committed, same-sex Minnesota couples deserve to make their own decisions for their own families. It’s a simple, yet profound ideal.”
Advocates on both sides of the marriage issue are meeting privately with dozens of legislators in the closing weeks of the legislative session. Supporters have held rallies as opponents have held rallies and traveled the state holding meetings and events, urging Minnesotans to stand firm on the current definition of marriage.
Dayton said in a recent interview he expected to be more closely involved in the final days before the vote to help persuade uneasy legislators to legalize same-sex marriage.
"I have told them I will weigh in where they think I can be most effective as the vote comes close," Dayton said in the interview.
Dayton said he plans to increase his lobbying efforts in the hours leading up to the vote.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann will attend the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Wednesday as part of a congressional delegation.
In the waning days of 2012 presidential campaign, Bachmann often compared herself to Thatcher, the prime minister known as the "Iron Lady" because she stuck to strict conservative economic and political positions despite public opposition.
Days before the Iowa Republican caucuses in January 2012, Bachmann told crowds that: "We need another Margaret Thatcher, another Iron Lady."
Bachmann also ran campaign ads in Iowa calling herself "America's Iron Lady." The comparison came in the days surrounding the theatrical release of a biographical movie, starring Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep, about the Thatcher's life.
House Speaker John Boehner selected Bachmann for the delegation, which will include Republicans Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and George Holding of North Carolina.
Thatcher, who served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990, died April 8.
"Not only was Margaret Thatcher a role model for conservative women across the globe, but she was also one of the most consequential political leaders of our time," a statement from Bachmann read, in part. "While we mourn her loss, we also remember the extraordinary legacy she left behind. May the great Lady rest in peace."
A group of business leaders are pressing DFL legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton to focus on budget reductions rather than tax increases.
The group, United for Jobs, is releasing television, radio and newspaper ads around the state saying that proposals to increase state spending by $2 billion would crush the economy.
“How can legislators justify a 7 percent spending increase when the economy is only growing by 2 percent?” asked Charlie Weaver, executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership.
Business leaders persuaded Dayton to drop a major tax reform proposal that included billions of dollars in new business taxes. But Dayton is digging in over his proposal to raise income taxes on high earners, a plan which was a hallmark of his campaign for governor.
“Minnesota’s tax system has been stacked against the middle class for a generation," said Bob Hume, a Dayton spokesman. "It’s not a surprise that the corporate special interests who haven’t been paying their fair share don’t want to.”
So see the ads or learn more about the United for Jobs, go to here.
When is a vote not a vote for?
The Minnesota DFL is asking the state's Office of Administrative Hearings to decide. The decision from the office could reverberate through the legislative session and into the election season.
At issue is the procedure to move bills from one committee to the next. Usually, to accomplish this routine task, bills must go before the full House and be sent upon their way.
This year, with increasing frequency, the House Republicans have demanded full debate and votes on the bills before forwarding them on. They've done it on the health care exchange, a dog breeders bill, child care providers' unionization, the governor's tax bill, a bill to raise alcohol taxes and a host of others.The time consuming process has meant that Republicans have captured DFL members voting on bills they otherwise might not support.
With those votes on record, Republican Rep. Greg Davids, of Preston, began writing letters to the editor regarding vulnerable Democrats' votes.
"On Feb. 20, Rep. Radinovich voted in favor of raising taxes by $3.7 billion, a move that will impact EVERY taxpaying Minnesotan, from the richest of the rich to the poorest of the poor," Davids wrote to the Brainerd Dispatch regarding Rep. Joe Radinovich.
Radinovich, a freshman from Crosby who won in 2012 by 323 votes, voted to progress the governor's tax bill on Feb. 20. Davids also wrote similar letters to the editor address three other freshmen Democrats, according to the DFL.
"As an 11-term member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, and former Chair of the Committee on Taxes, Rep. Davids has deep and specific knowledge about the legislative process, especially as regards to tax bills. He was fully aware (that progress votes are not votes for a measure) at the time...he drafted the letters falsely accusing the targeted representatives of voting "in favor of raising taxes by $3.7 billion," the DFL wrote to the Office of Administrative Hearings.
The DFL claims that Republicans asked for roll call votes on the bills' movement "for the sole purpose of providing materials for letters to the editor and other political communications."
Davids, the most senior Republican House member, says his letters simply reflect with the voting rules laid out in the state's legislative manual. (That interpretation has been debated at length on House floor this year.)
"If you don’t want to move a report from committee to committee then don’t vote for the report," Davids said.
Both Davids and the DFL's chairman Ken Martin, who filed the complaint with the Office of Administrative Hearings, acknowledge that the office's decision will have reverberations.
"This is clearly a tactic intended to falsely tie legislators to a particular policy matter for the purposes of hurting or defeating them in an election, This tactic, if allowed to continue, will have profound ramifications for the integrity of the legislative process," Martin's complaint said.
Davids, who noted the DFL's complaint cites a violation of statue against false claims against candidates not lawmakers, said "This is the test case for the Democrats to see if we can continue to do this and tell the truth."
Read the full complaint here:
New York-based Freedom to Marry plans to pump cash into this year's Minnesota legislative fight to legalize gay marriage.
The national group, which donated more than $700,000 into the successful campaign to oppose last year's constitutional ban on gay marriage, said on Thursday that it hoped to raise $2 million to spread amongst state's debating marriage laws. It said it planned to spread $800,000 among five states, including Minnesota, to wage the fight.
“As we move toward securing the freedom to marry for our state, this investment shows the level of commitment and confidence that soon all loving and committed couples can join marriage in Minnesota," Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, said in a statement.
Minnesotans United was the main organization campaigning against last year's marriage amendment and is taking charge of this year's lobbying to legalize same-sex marriage.
Freedom to Marry plans to spend cash in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island as well as Minnesota.
Update: Jake Loesch communications director for Minnesota United said the group has already received $150,000 from Freedom to Marry and "we anticipate more in the coming months."