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Thursday, April 27, 2006 

Catching Up

Maybe you've noticed (though I hope you haven't) that April hasn't been a great month for NSP, besides catching Power Line praising Amy Klobuchar. There haven't been enough posts here, nor have they been as good as they should be, and I apologize for that. This will be a big post, and then a more regular schedule should resume.

First of all, the stadiums. The House passed the Twins stadium last night on a 76-55 vote, though this didn't reflect the real action. The important vote was the vote to add a referendum requirement for the citizens of Hennepin County, and that amendment failed on a 66-64 vote. I join MNPolitics in applauding Rep. Ann Lenczewski of Bloomington for leading the referendum charge. The legislators from outside Hennepin County who voted against the referendum, some from the furthest corners of the state, ought to be ashamed of themselves; it's an easy vote for a "free" stadium, but it denies the right of a lot of people to at least have a vote on the issue. As Nick Coleman said the other day, "democracy is getting nuked" here. The Analyst has a nice map of the overall vote; take a look yourself and decide whether you think it was fair. A new ballpark will be nice, no question, but the cost and the deal is unacceptable. I hope that the Senate will show a little more backbone, but I'm not holding my breath. On the other hand, the Senate did show some backbone last night when a committee moved the Gopher stadium bill through without some of the worst provisions of the House bill included; changes include no student fees, no naming rights for TCF, and no UMore park land swap. This plan's a lot better, even though the state will be putting up more for it, and if this ends up becoming the reality, I won't be happy, but I'll be able to live with it. The Tax committee, headed by Sen. Pogemiller, is supposedly taking up the bill today, so it's on the fast track at this point. The Vikings plan is still awaiting committee hearings, and its chances of getting passed this session are rapidly fading - don't expect to see it happen this year.

Rod Grams might be taking on Jim Oberstar? What a joke. Candidate recruiting like this is just another example of how the GOP is struggling these days.

Both the House and the Senate have passed quite different bills to dedicate sales tax revenues to outdoors (hunting/fishing) and cultural programs. I'm neutral on this, though I'll admit that I don't understand it that well. The House bill would dedicate part of existing revenues, while the Senate would let Minnesotans vote on whether they'd accept a small sales tax increase to dedicate. Here's a comparison of the bills that have passed; conference committee will undoubtedly be a brawl, and we'll see what they come up with.

Something that I haven't seen commented on elsewhere was a MN Supreme Court Court of Appeals decision overturning a piece of our election law. I don't have anything other than this story to go on, but this doesn't look good to me. Communications that are designed to influence an election, whether they are "entirely truthful" or have whatever else, should have to identify the originating entity. From the article, this suggests to me that, unless the Legislature works extremely quickly to pass a similar statute before they adjourn for the year, 2006 elections could be rife with anonymous attack mailings. Just because someone is "acting independently of any candidate" hardly means that they'll be neutral.
Ed. note: thanks to Minntelect for the catch. Not sure how I screwed that one up.

According to Polinaut, DFL communications director David Ruth has resigned. David's responsible for a good chunk of the excellent work at DFLers.org, and he's done a great job in the offline world as well. He will be missed. Good luck, David!

Finally, for a lighter moment, check out Candorville today.

UPDATE: The Analyst has a map of the Lenczewski amendment vote; this makes me even more upset at the result of this debacle. Take a look and tell me that this vote wasn't an absolute travesty.

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It was the Court of Appeals, not the Supreme Court, that overturned a portion of Minnesota's election law. This is important because the Office of Administrative Hearings could appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which would have the final say in the matter.

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