Vaccination denial and MNsure takes a beating

Good morning and happy Friday; here’s hoping for no “take out the trash day” news dumps.

No legislative meetings today. Gov. Mark Dayton will interview finalists for the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals.  In the morning, Dayton will meet with State Auditor Rebecca Otto. Plus staff. Reception in the evening for legislators.

Lt. Gov. Smith will attend the Minnesota Newspaper Association Annual Convention lunch. (Given the fate of the industry, canned soup and off-brand cola?) Meetings with staff. Reception in the evening for legislators.

House DFLers have a 10 a.m. news conference.

Rep. Jenifer Loon has a town hall at Eden Prairie Library at 10 Saturday. Interesting to see if GOP legislators hear from constituents about the need for a transpo package, or not. If not, likely trouble ahead for the gov’s big plan.

For your calendar: Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans, economist Laura Kalambokidis and Budget Director Margaret Kelly will release the budget and economic forecast Friday, February 27. Details to come.

Next week is a state campaign finance filing deadline, so be ready for that.

The Strib’s Jeremy Olson on a measles case at the U:

A measles case reported at the University of Minnesota is drawing new attention to Minnesota vaccination laws and prompting state health officials to remind parents that although measles is officially eradicated in the United States, it remains a contagious and dangerous disease.

As Olson reports, dangerous vaccination denial has prompted a bill this year that would require people to talk to a doctor before opting out of vaccines for their kids.

Related, check out this startling graphic of people not getting their kids vaccinated in California. Stop smoking pot and get your kid vaccinated, Californians.

MNsure gets roughed up

MNsure taking a beating the last couple days, with AP reporting slow private enrollment and drying up federal funds requiring more state money -- $11.7 million in the governor’s budget. Thursday, Chris Snowbeck reported that county officials are struggling to use MNsure to get low income Minnesotans signed up for programs. In a House HHS Finance hearing Thursday, Rep. Nick Zerwas told the MNsure executive director that he was like a guy who had taken the job as captain of the Titanic after they knew there weren’t enough lifeboats, to much cackling from Republican colleagues.

Abby Simons reports on a proposal to make most of the footage from police body cams private. The three cop-turned-legislators who have proposed the bill say they want to protect privacy of people being recorded. Open government advocates say the whole point of the cameras is police accountability. A dicey issue, to be sure.

On the subject of police methods, fascinating story from Paul McEnroe Thursday on how FBI field officers refused in 2009 to follow a directive to spy on the Somali community here because they believed their outreach efforts would be more effective. 

Tomassoni’s lawyer is also a registered lobbyist with big time clients.

Republicans to pay fine for misreporting to FEC back during the troubled years.

Lawmakers, attorney propose a package of family law reforms, Abby Simons reports. Negotiations have been ongoing for a decade.

Jeff Larson to the RNC.

Over there….

North Dakota with budget concerns as oil prices collapse, revenue cut in half, the Strib’s Jennifer Brooks reports.

Washington, 2016 and beyond

Politico’s Ben White on Obama’s progressive budget, hitting turbulence thus far.

Times: Boehner’s invite to Bibi is aiding Obama with Dems.

Associated Press on the huge gap between what the American public and scientists think, and not just on climate change.

Post: Lindsey Graham is running.

Fun Super Bowl long read: Gabriel Sherman, Inside Roger Goodell’s Season from Hell.

Have fun this weekend everyone, and be safe. 


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Tips, complaints, insider stock trading advice to patrick.coolican@startribune.com; follow me on twitter: @jpcoolican