In the Know: April 21, 2015

Events today

  • 9 a.m. – The Minnesota House
  • is in session. Member will vote on the omnibus transportation bill. It is the first major bill of the session to hit the floor for a vote.
  • 9 a.m. – Move MN will outline nearly $2 billion in transportation projects proposed this legislative session by lawmakers. Projects include dozens of new interchanges and bridges; major highway expansions; and new transit lines.
  • 9:30 a.m. – House DFL Leader Paul Thissen and Rep. Frank Hornstein hold a media availability to discuss the Republicans’ transportation bill.
  • 10:30 a.m. – Hormel Foods will hold a groundbreaking for the new and improved Spam Museum in Austin.
  • 11 a.m. – Buffers Now, a coalition of nearly 40 conservation organizations will be joined by a number of farmers from around the state as well as Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson and a representative from the League of Minnesota Cities. Room 181, State Office Building, St. Paul.
  • Noon – The Minnesota Senate is in session.
  • 1 p.m. – Gov. Dayton holds a media availability to talk with reporters about the session.

Events tomorrow

  • 2 p.m. – The Lakes Area Progressive Caucus is in the formation stages of a group and input is needed.  Those interested are encouraged to attend a meeting at the Perham Public Library from 2-4 p.m.
  • Sen. Franken will host his fifth annual competition to determine which member of the Minnesota Congressional Delegation makes the best hot dish.
  • The charioteer figure, Prosperity, who guides the golden horses on the Minnesota State Capitol building’s Quadriga statue will return to his home atop the building. The figure will be harnessed and hoisted into place by a crane.  The charioteer figure was removed in September to repair corrosion discovered at the point the figure attaches to the chariot. In addition to the corrosion repairs, the figure was also inspected for any other needed repairs and received a complete regilding.

Save the date

  • May 2 – State Central Committee meets, 11:30 a.m., Carpenter’s Hall, 70 Olive St., St.Paul.
  • May 16 – First membership meeting of the DFL Environmental Caucus. 1 – 4 p.m., Maplewood Library, 3025 Southlawn Drive, Maplewood.

Events you won’t want to miss!

Note: In the Know will not be distributed April 24 – 26. It will return Monday, April 27.

2015 session

On tap at the State Capitol: tax cuts vs. spending, Star Tribune

2016 election

Koch Brothers say Walker is favorite for 2016, Pioneer Press

Meet the 19th most likely guy to win the GOP presidential nomination, The Washington Post

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Agriculture

Scientists still at a loss to explain spread of avian flu, MPR

Hormel says bird flu outbreak will hurt turkey sales, MPR

Bird flu hits 5.3 million Iowa chickens; Hormel says turkey production down, Star Tribune

Broadband

Spread broadband benefits across Minnesota, West Central Tribune

Coleman, Chris

Drink with public figures at Public Kitchen and Bar: Chris Coleman’s up first, Pioneer Press

Economy

Robots help fill gaps in Minnesota’s workforce, MPR

Education (early)

The early learning scholarship proposal introduced last week by the House GOP would reduce the number of early learning scholarships in Minnesota by 5,142 – meaning the number of scholarships available through the program would decline by 41 percent, despite a $1.9 billion surplus.

Gov. Dayton: Send 59,800 kids to preschool

Gov. Mark Dayton is strongly advocating for a two-pronged approach that would expand eligibility for the current scholarship program, and create a universal pre-kindergarten program for all 4-year-olds statewide.

  • In the program’s first year, Gov. Dayton’s universal pre-kindergarten proposal would send over 47,300 four-year-olds to preschool.
  • Within just a few years, 57,000 four-year-olds would be enrolled in preschool statewide.
  • Additionally, Gov. Dayton has proposed continuing the state’s current $54 million investment in early learning scholarships, and expanding eligibility for kids 0-5 years-old.

House GOP: Tell 52,300 kids to stay home

Despite investing more money in the early learning scholarship program, the $30 million House proposal would ELIMINATE scholarships for 5,142 young learners – meaning thousands of kids would lose access to financial assistance for high-quality preschool. In total, the House GOP plan would allow just 7,369 kids to attend preschool. Their plan would provide access to preschool for 52,300 fewer children than Gov. Dayton’s proposal.

According to the Minnesota Department of Education, the state currently spends $54 million over the biennium, sending 12,511 kids to early learning programs (5,800 last year and 6,700 this year). Scholarship awards to families are provided in the amounts of $3,000, $4,000, or $5,000, depending on the Parent Aware rating of the provider.

By contrast, the House proposal would increase the scholarship amounts to range between $8,900 and a maximum $10,700 per child. Under the House GOP proposal, with $86.7 million available, an estimated 7,369 scholarships would be available – or 5,142 less than current law. Overall, this reduction in scholarships would represent a 41 percent decline in the number of early learning scholarships available for young learners in Minnesota 

Education (higher)

Senate moves ahead with plan to hold college tuition down, offer free community college, Star Tribune

Gov. Arne Carlson on Kaler and U research ethics: ‘Where is the accountability? Where is the oversight?’ MinnPost

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Energy

Why would Minnesota choose to backslide on renewable energy? Star Tribune

Health and human services

Five years in, advocates for spinal cord injury research frustrated by House committee inaction, Star Tribune

House, Senate health bills at odds over MinnesotaCare, MPR\

Impact of the House nursing home plan, Pioneer Press

Minnesota House nursing home bill benefits outstate more, Pioneer Press

Where the MinnesotaCare population is, Pioneer Press

Housing

Senior living on the Green Line: a sign of things to come? MinnPost

Labor

Higher minimum wage for airport workers could get a vote next month, MPR

Who subsidizes restaurant workers’ pitiful wages? You do, Mother Jones

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Major League Soccer

Senate votes to bar state money for soccer stadium, Star Tribune

Minnesota Senate blocks soccer stadium tax break, state funding, Pioneer Press

Taxes

Expanded income tax credits, business tax cuts comprise House GOP proposal for big breaks, Star Tribune

House GOP wants new income tax exemption, elimination of statewide property tax, Star Tribune

Minnesota House Republicans detail $2 billion tax cut plan, MPR

Dueling Journey themes at Legislature as House Republicans unveil tax-cut plan, MinnPost

House Republicans unveil tax relief plan WCCO

House GOP: Middle-class Minnesotans priority in tax relief bill, KSTP

House Republicans roll out $2 billion tax cut plan, KARE

Republican tax bills described by Journey titles, Fox 9

Transportation

Ten suburban mayors: A growing, prosperous Twin Cities area needs transit, Star Tribune

Is it possible to pay for Minnesota’s transportation needs without raising taxes? MinnPost

Voting

Secretary of State’s View: Get good voting habits started early, Duluth News Tribune

Wild

Wild give Blues cold shoulder with 3-0 win, MPR

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