DFLer Bonoff takes on teachers union

Good Friday morning. No legislative meetings today, and with the long Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend here, no doubt much of the Legislature has left town and gone fishing. Or maybe Phishing? More likely the former.

The Environmental Initiative, which brings business, environmentalists and government together all Minnesota-like, holds its Legislature preview this morning at the Science Museum. Reps. Hackbarth, McNamara, Garofalo, Hansen and Sen. Dibble among the bipartisan speakers.

Minority Leader Paul Thissen holds a news conference at 10.

Gov. Mark Dayton will provide remarks at the Department of Natural Resources annual roundtable (Minneapolis Marriott Northwest, Northland Ballroom, 7025 Northland Drive North, Brooklyn Park) at 10. Open press. In the afternoon, Dayton will meet with Dan Boivin, chair of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. Conference call with MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone, MnSCU Board Chair Tom Renier, and MnSCU Board Vice Chair Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Plus staff and commissioners.

Dayton appointments to the Compensation Council: Gary Evans – Winona; John Frobenius – St. Cloud; Shirley Hughes – Minneapolis; Julie Kleinschmidt – St. Paul; Morrie Lanning – Moorhead; Khani Sahebjam – Eden Prairie; Anthony Sertich – Chisholm; Janelle Waldock – Eagan. The council makes recommendations to the Legislature regarding the salaries of judges, constitutional officers and legislators.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will provide remarks at the University of Minnesota Policy Fellows Program and meets with staff and commissioners. Closed press.

Sen. Terri Bonoff is taking on the teachers union, reports the Strib's Ricardo Lopez. Republicans liking this.

A Minnetonka DFL senator broke with her party Thursday to take on some of its most powerful allies with a measure that could end the long-standing practice of teacher tenure, which makes job seniority the prime consideration during layoffs.

Eliminating so-called last-in, first-out protections has been a goal of Republicans, but opposed by many DFLers, who count the teachers' union Education Minnesota among its staunchest allies and who say there is value in keeping experienced teachers in the system.

Sen. Terri Bonoff said Thursday that "It is my belief that really in every profession merit ought to be what gets someone hired, promoted or kept. I believe especially in a profession where our teachers play such an important role in shaping the lives of our young people that we want to make sure the very best teachers are in every classroom."

Home health care workers have agreed to a contract, Lopez reports. It raises the pay floor to $11 per hour. It affects 27,000 newly unionized workers. From a purely political perspective, think of all the dues $.

Department of Public Safety with a report on "Minnesota's Preparedness for an Oil Transportation Incident." Not reassuring, say Rep. Hornstein and Sen. Dibble in a news release.

The House GOP passed H.F. 6, which is $20 million in tax cuts related to federal conformity, meaning aligning the state tax code with the federal code to give taxpayers tax cuts already enshrined in the IRS forms. (Won't be long now before the terrible phrase "federal conformity" will leave our discourse for another year.)

Target's foray into Canada is a big fail, as the kids would say.


Cargill active in ending Cuba trade restrictions, reports the Strib's Washington bureau.

Just a month after President Obama announced plans to normalize relations with Cuba, Cargill is taking the lead on a more controversial and ambitious goal: Urging Congress to roll back the 54-year-old trade embargo that restricts U.S. businesses from selling to Cubans.

"Ending the embargo is necessary for meaningful trade," the company's director of Latin American corporate affairs, Devry Boughner Vorwerk, said earlier this week at a seminar on the future of Cuban-American interaction. Vorwerk called restrictions "a failed policy experiment for 54 years" that costs the U.S. hundreds of millions of dollars annually in potential soybean, rice and wheat exports.

Times: Report says there are signs of less financial distress related to medical debt since Obamacare.

Politico: Democracy Corps. poll shows Dems have work to do with blue collar workers, unmarried women.

Washington Post: RNC trying to cut down on circus atmosphere of presidential debates.

For weekend edification, the King Center's text archives of some of his speeches.

Audio of the famous address after the march from Selma to Birmingham.

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