'Listening' kerfuffle and what really works

Good morning. Eye opening read on the stark divide between some Minneapolis schools, a microcosm of challenges faced by state policymakers, by the Strib's Alejandra Matos.

Bethune and Hiawatha embody the divide that has gripped Minneapolis schools for decades as leaders grapple with one of the worst achievement gaps in the country.

At 8:30 a.m. Gov. Mark Dayton will provide remarks at the 2015 Minnesota Women's Economic Security Summit (the old Kelly Inn, Ground Floor Conference Room, 161 Saint Anthony Avenue, Saint Paul.) Open to the press. He and Lt. Gov. Smith are with commissioners and staff throughout the day. At 7:00 p.m., Dayton will do an AARP tele-town hall with Minnesota seniors.

At 9:30, Lt. Gov., Tina Smith will chair a meeting of the Destination Medical Center Corporation Board (Mayo Civic Center, Riverview Room Suite C, Rochester.)

Senate in session at 11, House at 3:30. Key committee hearings: House Education will go over state assessments; Senate Environment and Energy will address the recent attacks on the Pollution Control Agency's Citizens Board; House HHS will take up the DHS budget. Full schedule.

For your calendar: How has governing changed in Minnesota? A conversation with veteran Reps. Lyndon Carlson and Phyllis Kahn; Tuesday, February 3rd, 12:00 - 1:15, Humphrey Forum, Humphrey School of Public Affairs; Register here

Auto-dealers don't want to work Sundays either, reports Abby Simons.

A program requiring boaters to get schooled on aquatic invasive species has been shelved by Dept. of Natural Resources for the moment, as legislators threatened to repeal it, Doug Smith reports.

Tuma moves from Conservation Minnesota to PUC.

House Environment moves Lessard-Sams money from White Earth Nation to Department of Natural Resources.

Pat Condon reports on House Republicans' new subcommittee that will "hold the Met Council accountable and ensure they are meeting the needs of people in the metro area," says Speaker Kurt Daudt. (The words "unelected" and "Met Council" often go together.)

Peter Callahan with a broader piece in MinnPost about this unique governing body.

Not surprising file: Rep. Steve Drazkowski's "listening sessions" on property taxes went sideways on the question of whether they are public meetings or not. Ricardo Lopez on the kerfuffle. Bluestem Prairie reported on this issue last week

Missed this yesterday: Dayton using budget leverage, not just in case of Parks Board and SW Light Rail, but MnSCU, too, from the Strib's Maura Lerner.

But does it work?

Been meaning to post this piece from The Times. Bush administration and former House Republican official Ron Haskins applauding the Obama administration for an evidence-based approach to social programs. Worth reading as the Legislature gears up to spend billions on social programs.

Especially in a time of austerity, policy makers must know which programs work, and which don't.

The point being we know certain programs work -- home visits to vulnerable families, for instance -- because we've scientifically tested them, as opposed to other programs whose effectiveness is literally unknown. Read the whole thing.

Blowin' in the wind

On a lighter note: Caitlyn Stenerson, who's a media writer for the House Republican Caucus, was just selected as the St. Paul Winter Carnival Princess of the East Winds 2015, which is a thing. Apparently every year they pick four of these princesses – East, West, North, South.

Congrats. (H/t Pat Condon.)


Allison Sherry reports on Sens. Franken and Klobuchar questioning the attorney general nominee.

Times on a big report released today that will say Biofuels are a total waste.

Politico: Tea Party candidates back, threatening to primary GOP members.

Washington Post: Conservatives sorta over Palin.

Andrew Sullivan is gonna quit blogging. World keeps spinning.