Tomassoni steps on Dems’ message

Good Tuesday morning: -9, but at least the college football championship trophy has returned to the Midwest, albeit Ohio State. (Police had to use tear gas to disperse crowds in Columbus, and there were 40 reports of fires, mostly dumpsters.) So perhaps all is again right with the world, and the word “incentivize” will suddenly disappear from the language. Unlikely.

Speaking of academe...University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler will provide media an overview of the University’s 2015 legislative request from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m., in the State Office Building.

Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith have breakfast with DFL legislative leaders, then commissioners and staff. Later, Dayton will meet with the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the Fargo-Moorhead Flood Diversion Project. Smith will be in Rochester doing Mayo-related stuff.

Sticky fingers

In the evening Dayton and Smith host the press corps for a reception at the mansion. (What should I steal?)

Some key committee meetings today: Both House and Senate Taxes; Senate Judiciary; House HHS policy and finance in a joint meeting; Education Finance; House Environment. Schedule here.

DFL senators unveiled their transportation plan, reports the Strib’s Pat Condon and Janet Moore: $800 million a year through a wholesale gas tax and by increasing other taxes and fees, including license tabs...The plan also calls for increasing a metro-area sales tax to pay for public transit — including the controversial $1.65 billion Southwest light-rail line.

The plan is authored by Sen. Scott Dibble, Transportation Committee chairman, and has a lot of similarities to what we’ve seen from Dayton.

But Senate Dems had their message stepped on a bit when one of their own, Sen. David Tomassoni, took a job with the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools, which is a group that lobbies the Legislature.

Senate Minority Leader David Hann’s quote from my story:

“When I first heard it, I thought it might be a joke. Do we need to spell it out for people that you cannot be a lobbyist and a senator at the same time?” Hann said in an interview.

Ethics complaint could be coming. Tomassoni is also chairman of IRRRB, which has given grant money to RAMS in the past couple years.

Credit to the Strib’s own Up North blogger Aaron Brown, who discovered this in the local paper and began digging in.

Restaurants want to be able to pay tipped employees a lower base rate, and they think with a newly Republican House and signals of support (sorta maybe but maybe not?) from Dayton, they may have a shot at it, reports Pat Condon.

Lawmakers of both parties are working hard on a federal conformity bill that would match federal and state tax codes so Minnesota taxpayers can get all the breaks newly written into federal law. Must be done quickly because filing season begins next week.

Tax collections came in better than expected, Ricardo Lopez reports.

Sunday liquor bills are out, Abby Simons reports. (And gets “plethora” in a headline.)

House DFLers, led by Rep. Ryan Winkler, dropped some campaign finance legislation that would close “dark money” disclosure loopholes, and then tried to suspend the rules on the House floor to move the legislation right away so groups would have to disclose where they get their money at the next filing deadline Jan. 31. The House GOP rebuffed the effort.

Technology glitch keeps 7,500 from enrolling in MNsure, Christopher Snowbeck reports. Republicans snicker.

Adam Belz with some perspective on whether we’re losing all our manufacturing jobs to the South after Polaris announced it’s opening a plant in Huntsville, Ala. (Huntsville, by the way, is a major engineering hub, with a ton of defense-related aerospace.)

MPR: Suicides up for middle age men.

MinnPost with a sad, poignant story about Vice President Mondale.


White House will hold a summit on violent extremism, Allison Sherry reports. It will rely in part on the experiences of local Minneapolis/St. Paul officials.

Sounds like a New Age weekend retreat.

White House: "Through presentations, panel discussions and small group interactions, participants will build on….

Despite opposition from Minnesota’s Klobuchar and Franken, Keystone moves closer to passage, Sherry reports.

Perhaps a bit premature, but New York magazine asks a bunch of people how history will view Obama.

The Times’ Nate Cohn is a smart analyst who is liking the 2016 chances of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

The Post on Mitt Romney looking to recover his political machinery. Yes, Romney is back.

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