State Rep. Jim Abeler said that he is exploring a run against Democrat U.S. Sen. Al Franken.
"Minnesota needs a Senator from Minnesota who has invested his life in the fabric of the people who make our state great," the Republican said in a statement. "That Senator must strongly protect our personal privacy and liberty, unlock the stifling stranglehold the federal government holds on Minnesota, and recapture the flexibility we need to run our own state. I know I can be that Senator."
Abeler is a long time state representative, who has specialized in human services issues, who has evinced a tender heart for the needy but a libertarian streak regarding government intrusion. Abeler, who supported a gas tax increase when then Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed it, endorsed Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul last year.
He is a chiropractor who hails from Anoka, which has an strong independent streak.
So far, Republican business executive Mike McFadden has said he will vie against Franken and state Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, said she is considering a run.McFadden said that he welcomes Abeler to the race, "but my focus remains drawing a distinction between myself and Sen. Al Franken."
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been Twitter-quiet for nearly a year but on Tuesday he rejoined the Twitter conversation with some promotions of his television appearances.
“I’m looking forward to rejoining the conversation. I discussed the
#NSA today on @MSNBC's @Morning_Joe,” he tweeted on Tuesday. He included a link to his appearance, in which he said that the N.S.A. leaker Edward Snowden is a “traitor.”
He also twice tweeted on Tuesday afternoon about his MSNBC appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews on which, he said, he was to talk about immigration.
The Financial Services Roundtable, which Pawlenty chairs, also tweeted a link to his Monday night appearance on CNBC’s The Kudlow Report. See that clip here.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison has written an autobiography, "My Country 'Tis of Thee," set for release on Sept. 24
Ellison's 304-page memoir will take a "provocative look at America and what needs to change to accommodate different races and beliefs," while touching on topics ranging from race and immigration to President Obama and the rise of the Tea Party, according to a book description page.
The first Muslim elected to Congress and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Ellison is the latest in a long line of Minnesota political figures to pen a memoir. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty released autobiographies during their presidential runs in 2011.
The push for expanding background checks to private sales, which has found a mixed reception at the Minnesota Legislature, received a boost from the state's prosecutors.
The board of directors of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association approved a resolution last week that supports background checks for sales at gun shows or over the internet.
The association, representing county prosecutors throughout the state, said sales among relatives should be exempt from background checks, as should other private sales that involve no more than five guns per year.
Currently in Minnesota, background checks are conducted for any guns sold by licensed dealers. A bill pending in the Senate would apply background checks to virtually all person-to-person private sales, except sales among relatives. A weaker version is pending in the House.
Debate on the gun issue could resume after the House and Senate complete work on initial versions of budget bills, expected to occur next week.
John Kingrey, executive director of the state prosecutors association, said the group was motivated by two developments: the failure of the U.S. Senate to pass a background checks bill and passage by the national prosecutors' association of a resolution supporting background checks.
The National District Attorneys Association adopted a resolution in support of universal background checks "to prevent felons and people who have been adjudicated mentally ill from legally purchasing firearms." The group's resolution said such a law should "respect the privacy rights of lawful gun owners."
The state resolution says the county attorneys support expanding background checks "to include sales at gun shows and through the internet. Exemptions should continue for transfer or sales among family members or private sales of no more than five guns a year."
An attempt to change employment practices in private businesses to give ex-felons a better chance to be considered for jobs was passed with bipartisan support in the Minnesota Senate on Saturday.
Sometimes called "ban the box," because it would eliminate the are-you-a-felon box on most employment applications, the bill would delay questions about criminal histories until an applicant is granted an interview or made a conditional job offer. It passed the Senate 44-16 vote and its sponsor, Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, said he believes it will have similar success in the House.
The bill essentially extends to private employers the law that now applies to public employers. It would not require private employers to hire anyone, but it is designed to give people who have rebuilt their lives a better chance to explain their past to prospective employers.
Champion said the bill does not prohibit employers who are prohibited by law from hiring certain offenders -- such as nursing homes and hospitals -- from continuing to state that on their job applications. He also accepted an amendment that clarified that the bill does not give rejected applicants a cause of action to sue the company that turned them down.
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