Independent political news, information and commentary from the Capitol and the State of Minnesota.

Kelliher Names Her Running Mate

May 21, 2010
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Marty Owings

Margaret Anderson Kelliher, the DFL endorsed candidate for Governor, picked John Gunyou today as her running mate. Gunyou is a former state finance commissioner who held that position under the Carlson administration. He's held similar positions in Minneapolis and most currently worked as the Minnetonka City Manager.

Kelliher says that Gunyou is uniquely positioned to understand the states budget issues and is someone who is respected for his knowledge in that area. Gunyou has been sharply critical of Governor Tim Pawlenty's fiscal policies and said today that, "The Pawlenty administration has ducked the hard decisions and taken the easy way out."

Senator Mee Moua Leaves Behind a Legacy of Firsts (Audio Interview)

Sen Mee Moua Says Goodbye

May 18, 2010
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Marty Owings

Senator Mee Moua (DFL) shocked many in the world of Minnesota politics and the Hmong community by announcing her retirement last weekend. The announcement seemed to come as an especially big surprise because Moua is widely considered to be someone whose political future was still very bright. Moua is also Chair of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee and a Legislator who was widely respected for her thorough and principled approach to the job.

Legislative Session Wraps With A Budget Deal And Drama

May 16, 2010
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Marty Owings

A little before midnight last night DFL Leaders and the Governor came to agreement on a budget bill, however there was too little time left before the constitutionally mandated end of session to push it through the Legislature. Governor Tim Pawlenty then called for a Special Session to begin at one minute passed midnight, calling it, "a very short special session" and adding that the deal would be done before dawn. That deadline was also missed as Legislative staffers scrambled to complete the necessary paperwork and revisions. The Legislature reconvened around 8 am with House members voting to approve the compromise with a vote of 97-32 with a few Democrats and Republicans voting no. The Senate also passed the measure 52-14.

Budget Deal Reached, But It Takes A Little Overtime!

May 16, 2010
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Marty Owings

At a little before midnight tonight DFL Law Makers emerged from the Governors office at the Capitol saying they'd reached a budget agreement. Senate Majority Larry Pogemiller held up a pen saying that they'd signed an agreement with the Governor and that it would include a special session called at 12:01 a.m. and that it would be done by sunrise.

Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL) said that the highlights included an option to, "opt into early MA". Kelliher was refering to a deal that would allow the next Governor to decide if they wanted to leverage the Federal Medical Assistance Program which includes $400 million dollars in matching funds.

First Hmong State Senator Mee Moua Shocks Capitol With Retirement!

May 16, 2010
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Marty Owings

Senator Mee Moua surprised everyone today with the announcement that she will be retiring from the Senate. Moua is the Chair of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee and widely seen as someone whose poltical career was far from over. Rep Cy Thao who is also retiring from office, is the only other Hmong-American to hold office in Minnesota. Thao said Moua, "helped shape the state and it's policies. Thao said people who want to get involved in politics could learn from Moua's example and his own. Thao said he came from a refugee camp where he lived on dirt floors and didn't learn his first word of english until he was 8 years old.

Here is Senator Mee Moua's full statement on her retirement.

My life has afforded me the opportunity to see the best of what Minnesota has to offer.  Serving in the Minnesota Senate has given me the opportunity to have experiences and break down barriers that I never could have imagined. 

Regular Session Ending Could Be In Jeapordy

May 16, 2010
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Marty Owings

With less than ten hours remaining in the 2010 Legislative session, Governor Tim Pawlenty's spokesman Brian McClung has said the Governor will veto a Budget Bill submitted by the Legislature. McClung says the proposal makes the states deficit worse than it is now and would raise the cost of health care.

Bills Passed, Vetoes Cast and a Session that Hangs in the Balance

Minnesota Is Broke

May 14, 2010
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Marty Owings

As far as many people at the Capitol can remember, this has been one of the more hectic weeks they've seen. Law Makers are scrambling to wrap up their work before the end of session which takes place next Monday, less than 72 hours away. Since the beginning of this Legislative session back in February, the budget has loomed like a dark cloud.

In the wake of last sessions unallotments by Governor Tim Pawlenty (R), Law Makers were expecting a deficit of more than a billion dollars, but they also knew at some point the Supreme Court ruling on the unallotment case could impact the budget. Even some DFLers were expressing concern that if the Court ruled against Pawlenty, they would be facing a huge uphill battle.

Emmer Misses Environment Vote - Kelliher Calls Him Out! (Full Audio)

Minnesota Capitol

May 13, 2010
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Marty Owings

At about 12:30 a.m. this morning the Minnesota House took a vote on the Omnibus environment and natural resources bill, also known as the Heritage bill. The bill passed, but Republican Tom Emmer, who had been on the House floor just a few minutes before was absent for the vote. Emmer, who is running for Governor, has missed a number of floor sessions since winning his party's endorsement two weeks ago. His missed vote tonight caught the attention of more than a few DFL Law Makers who began to Tweet about Emmer's absence. DFL Representatives Jeremy Kalin and Larry Hosch asked in separate Tweets, "Where's Tom Emmer?"

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