Good Monday morning. 4:57 a.m., -2 degrees with a high of 3. Loving life.
Saw and enjoyed “Selma” over the weekend. Though historically inaccurate, it might provide a bit of perspective and inspiration during the next few months of legislating. Let’s hope Robert Caro is in good health so he can give us the definitive account of what happened in 1965 in his expected final volume of his LBJ bio.
Speaking of LBJ, Senate Democrats unveil their transportation plan today. Sen. Scott Dibble, Sen. Vicki Jensen, Sen. Jim Carlson, Sen. Susan Kent, and members of the Senate Transportation and Public Safety committee will be on hand in G-15 of the Capitol at 10 a.m.
A source with knowledge of the proposal says to expect “significant similarities” with the governor’s plan, which includes $6 billion in new spending over 10 years, paid for with an increase in license tab fees and a wholesale gas gross receipts tax.
Gov. Mark Dayton will meet with Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, commissioners, and staff throughout the day. Dayton will also meet with University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and with MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone.
In the afternoon, Smith will provide welcoming remarks at the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community – tribal/state relations training in Prior Lake.
How do we know Smith’s schedule? Because Smith already has a much higher profile than her predecessor. Her press staff, for instance, who work for Dayton, send out her schedule. And, at the top of all the governor’s press releases there’s the state’s motto and “Office of Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith.” That wasn’t happening before Smith was elected last year. At the inaugural ball Saturday night, Dayton introduced Smith as his “partner in this endeavor,” which isn’t new but drives the point home that the lieutenant governor will have a big and significant public role in Dayton’s second term, which would obviously set her up for….Get chattering, chattering classes.
House Ways and Means, the $$ committee, meets at 10:15 today in room 200 of the State Office Building. Myron Frans, Minnesota Management and Budget commissioner, will be on hand. All eyes on Rep. Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud, who takes the gavel again after a nine year absence.
Also meeting today, Veterans Affairs, Job Growth and Transportation Finance, plus a House floor session at 3:30. See the schedule here.
From my colleague Pat Condon, Steve Simon gets staffed up:
Secretary of State Steve Simon, who took office last week, has stocked his leadership staff with a handful of names familiar to political insiders. His new chief of staff is Jake Spano, a St. Louis Park City Councilman who spent the last four years as marketing director for the city of St. Paul, and previously worked for U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Deputy Chief of Staff Ann Kaner-Roth is a veteran of the push to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota, having led the advocacy group Project 515. And Communications Director Ryan Furlong has worked in the press shops of Gov. Mark Dayton, the DFL and Sen. Al Franken’s re-election campaign.
Colleague Abby Simons with a big takeout on whether this may be the year of Sunday alcohol sales, with Speaker Kurt Daudt in favor and Dayton promising he’ll sign it. The Senate is a tougher haul, but the thinking is that pressure will be on if Daudt gets it through the House. Daudt, however, promises no arm twisting to do so, and it’s not clear how much political capital he’s going to use on this. His power base, after all, is in outstate Minnesota, where mom-and-pop stores and munis don’t want Sunday sales.
Colleague Ricardo Lopez on the shrinkage of the state’s labor force as Baby Boomers retire.
The politics of the pipeline, from Jim Spencer. Apparently Republicans have won the framing battle because this is viewed as a problem for Dems.
I didn’t stay long enough at the inaugural ball to see if anyone got too drunk and humiliated himself (more likely) or herself, but here’s my short write-up. A review of inaugural celebrations in other states.
The Pioneer Press points out that the way the Dayton transportation gross receipts tax on gas is structured, like a sales tax, there’s less money with gas prices low like they’ve been.
But that also means big upside potential when prices increase.
Maybe someone can help me out -- why not make the tax bigger when prices are lower and then have a trigger mechanism to reduce taxes when the price of oil increases? At least politically this seems like the smartest policy, no?
The Strib’s Tony Kennedy reports that resort owners are irritated with a new state law that requires anyone hauling boats to complete a 30 minute online training course in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. They want repeal.
GOP Rep. Pat Garofalo drives a Tesla. Q&A with the House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee chairman.
Keith Downey wants another term as GOP chair. Odd that this dropped on a Friday afternoon.
Also on Friday, Dayton held a press conference at which he blasted the Republican plan to take $200 million of the surplus and use it for transportation, calling it “pure fantasy.” Daudt then said he was “disappointed” in the governor’s “tone.” (Seinfeld interlude.) Dayton also wasn’t exactly hugely supportive of the Southwest light-rail line Friday.
Politico: Obama administration decision to skip Paris events seen as tone-deaf.
Washington Post says both parties will address middle class economic insecurity, social mobility, in 2016.
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