News Releases

America Suffers from Truth Decay and Loss of Trust

Minnesota and National Report

As Republican officeholders backpedal and try to distance themselves from twice Impeached and the disgraced Donald J Trump (R) they think people suffer from amnesia. The support for Trump was a support for racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism, deceit, lies and insurrection. The flaws of him were always present and still every GOP member embraced him willingly. Every Republican officeholder and voter owes our nation an apology, and assistance in clearing this threat from our shores. Its the Pottery Barn Rule, you broke it you buy it.

America needs to purge the scourge of Trumpism and the blight it has brought to our land. Never again can a person of this ilk ascend to the highest position of office. He sought the overthrow of Congress by advancing the lies he perpetuated about the theft of the election. Because of the belief he held with his supporters they responded to his every word.

Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA28) was right in his closing remarks during the first Impeachment ring true. It is almost prescient to reflect on much of what he said including the ending “But here, right is supposed to matter. It’s what’s made us the greatest nation on earth. No constitution can protect us, right doesn’t matter anymore and you know you can’t trust this President to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump. He’ll do it now. He’s done it before. He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to. This is why if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed. Because right matters. Because right matters and the truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost.” And Sen Susan Collins (R-MA) was wrong when she said, “He has learned,” from the first impeachment. This time the difference is she is not up for reelection and might actually vote her conscience this time.

One interesting factor in this vote is the fact, the jury, the Senate, were witnesses to the crime and were the focus of the seditionist horde. The mob sought to hang Vice-President Mike Pence (R) and we understand they were moments away from finding him when the broken into the Senate Chamber.

Now, with the Inauguration only five days away and alert being released for Washington, DC and all fifty State Capitols to prepare for threats against lawmakers across the nation, we must wrestle our country from the grip of these insurrectionists.

Republicans and Democrats Still Have Dramatic Differences on Elections

Minnesota and National Report

When Republicans continue to criticize election procedures they do so with a common thought, which is some wrong happened, they know it but just can’t prove it. When asked about changes to election law, House Speaker Melisa Hortman (DFL-36B, Brooklyn Park) says, “We want every eligible voter to vote,” and in response to the same question Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-09, Nisswa) answers, “We want every legal voter to vote,” they are voicing quite different ideas and philosophies.

The reason Donald J Trump (R) sought to contest the votes in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin was because they had Republican controlled legislatures. When the Governors and the Secretaries of State change election procedures in the light of COVID, this is where Trump and other Republicans stoked the flames and started screaming “Stop the Steal.” A lie which is based on the fact when Republicans address election questions they believe a falsehood that elections need addition protections like Voter ID to prevent none existent voter fraud. They do not support longer voting periods, mailed balloting or any other ease of access, because they know the truth, in general when more people vote it favors Democrats and they seek tactics to create impediments to voting, rather than expansion of it.

It is simply called voter suppression, but they do so under the false pretense of fraud.  During the debate in the US House on the Articles of Impeachment, many of the 147 Republicans who spoke gave voice to these same tropes. They perpetuated the election lies in support of Trump and in response their corporate donors have left them in droves.

It is good to see the financial support erode from the Liar in Chief and his chorus of liars in concert.

2021 Forum Conversation with the Legislators

Minnesota Report

Yesterday, Dana Ferguson hosted the 2021 Forum Conversation with the Legislators. This is an annual event where the Governor and the legislative leaders field questions from the states’ leadership. During, this conversation there was a brightly lit exchange between Republican leaders and DFL leaders where the Republicans sought to create parity between the insurrection at the nations’ Capitol to the civil unrest on the streets of Minneapolis and St Paul. Clearly, the two situations are not in any way shape or form related.

When Donald J  Trump (R) spouts lies, hyperboles and misrepresentations is compared to opportunities who burned down a police precinct and businesses during a peaceful protest against the death of George Floyd. In fact, there is a discussion about a connect between the two instances and that is white supremacist groups did both.

It is worthwhile to watch this conversation and see the difference between the two perspectives. Republicans wanting an equal understanding are fundamentally wrong. See what Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-09, Nisswa), House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-31A, Crown) said and the responses of House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-37B, Brooklyn Park), Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) and Senaate Minority Leader Susan Kent (DFL-53, Woodbury) said in response.

2021 Forum Conversation with the Legislators

Trump’s Traitorous Terms Are Treasonous

National Report

With the onset of the Civil War, in 1861, General Ulysses S Grant said, “There are but two parties now: traitors and patriots. And I want hereafter to be ranked with the latter and, I trust, the stronger party.” When you listen to the phone call from Donald J Trump (R) to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) it is reminiscent to an episode from the Sopranos.

As Trump wallows in mischaracterizations, Internet conspiracies and outright lies he seeks loyalty not to the system of democracy, but to him. He seeks an autocracy not democracy, a strong man system, reflective of Russia and third world countries.

He outright asks for Raffensperger to find him 11,780 votes, one more than the number he lost by in Georgia. He also, says to him, as a Republican, as if his integrity as an elected official, one swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the one of his state, he should choose, party over country, or state. One would think having been impeached for a “perfect call” once would have given him some pause about such future exchanges, but clearly it did not.

One interesting facet of this new calls, of which there maybe more to other states, is that he may have opened himself up to another potential impeachment after he leaves office. This is intended to prevent people from seeking office again if they are convicted in this instance.

The entirety of the transcript can be found here https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/03/politics/trump-brad-raffensperger-phone-call-transcript/index.html and excerpts can be heard on news sources except the rightwing affiliates. This connection followed 18 calls Trump had made trying to reach Raffensperger. When he did the call included Raffensperger’s lawyer and was obviously recorded.

This sets an interesting situation for the “Sedition Caucus” of 11 Republican Senators( Sen Tom Cotton (R-AR) stepped back after the call) and 140 House members who intend to challenge the legitimacy of former Vice-President Joe Biden’s election. Clearly, those who fall in line with Trump after this will be impinging their own credibility from that point forward.

The sycophants that fawn for Trump’s approval in order to not get primaried are purely pathetic. The recognition that Trump hijacked the Republican party now are starting calls for a new party to rid the stink of Trump from their ranks, but the problem is he still invokes fear and cowardice.

Trump is disgusting and his followers pitiful.

All Eyes on Georgia

National Report

We haven’t heard of anyone writing a song with this phrase but it seems like an obvious lyric. As we look to the Peach State and reflect upon the November election. The races of US Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Kelly Loeffler were far different. Perdue received 2,462,617 votes compared to Jon Ossoff (D-GA) who secured 2,374,519 along with a number of other candidates who prevented Perdue from a majority victory. Loeffler came in 2nd with 1,273,214   to Reverend Raphael Warnock with 1,617,035 votes, or 1,189,403 fewer than Perdu had one race up on the ballot. Granted, Rep Doug Collins (R-09GA) the other Republican in the race garnered 980,454 votes, but its clear not all Republicans find favor with her.

The results of these two contests will determine the majority in the US Senate and if the Democrats win it will mean total control for 2021-22, but with a 50-50  majority in which Vice-President Kamala Harris (D) will be the presiding officer and tie-breaking vote.

As of the last report, in the run-off election with 3,001,017 votes or 38.77% of registered voters compared to the 3,041,581 or 39.3% in the November election. The bulk of the credit for the high turnout is attributed to former GA House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-GA). Now, because of the General Election results we know Democrats exercise early voting methods at a higher rate than Republicans and this resulted in a 11,779 vote margin for former Vice-President Joe Biden (D) over Donald J Trump (R). This should provide an advantage for the Democratic candidates, or a buffer, but also in person voting is still an option, which some seek to utilize on both sides of the aisle because they want to ensure their vote counts.

Both Biden and Trump are stumping in Georgia tonight and many are waiting for Trump to again focus on himself rather than the race at-hand and turnoff Republican voters by putting his foot in his mouth.

MN Senate GOP Releases It’s Committee Information for 2001-22

Minnesota Report

Yesterday, Senate Republicans released their list of 2021-22 committee assignments. The list includes both Independent members of their caucus, both Sens Tom Bakk (I-03, Cook) and David Tomassoni (I-06, Chisholm), who have actively participated in caucus meetings since before the seventh Special Session. The DFL members are still pending as are the committee assignments for the House on both sides of the aisle.

Rules
Chair: Gazelka
Johnson
Limmer
Miller
Newman
Weber
Bakk

Taxes
Chair: Nelson
Chamberlain
Miller
Weber
Coleman
Bakk

Finance
Chair: Rosen
Benson
Ingebrigtsen
Kiffmeyer
Johnson
Pratt

HHS
Chair: Benson
Abeler
Draheim
Koran
Rosen
Nelson

Human Services Reform
Chair: Abeler
Benson
Nelson
Utke
Housley

Gov’t Tech & Reform
Chair: Koran
Draheim
Osmek
Westrom

State Government and Elections
Chair: Kiffmeyer
Howe
Koran
Pratt
Osmek

Civil Law
Chair: Mathews
Limmer
Johnson
Anderson
Westrom

Labor
Chair: Rarick
Dornink
Goggin

Veterans
Chair: Lang
Anderson
Duckworth
Howe

Transportation
Chair: Newman
Coleman
Jasinski
Kiffmeyer
Osmek

Forestry and Mining
Chair: Eichorn
Ruud
Goggin
Tomassoni

Local Government
Chair: Jasinski
Howe
Newman
Westrom

Enviro Finance
Chair: Ingebrigtsen
Ruud
Lang
Eichorn
Tomassoni

Enviro Policy & Legacy
Chair: Rudd
Weber
Lang
Senjem

Higher Education
Chair: Tomassoni
Rarick
Goggin
Jasinski

K-12 Education
Chair: Chamberlain
Coleman
Duckworth
Newman
Eichorn

Energy
Chair: Senjem
Chamberlain
Mathews
Rarick
Utke

Redistricting
Chair: Johnson
Kiffmeyer
Miller
Pratt
Bakk

Property Taxes
Chair: Weber
Jasinski
Chamberlain

Housing
Chair: Draheim
Dahms
Rosen
Duckworth

Jobs
Chair: Pratt
Draheim
Housley
Rarick

Capital Investment
Chair: Bakk
Senjem
Dornink
Pratt
Jasinski
Dahms

Human Services Licensing
Chair: Utke
Abeler
Dornink

Judiciary & Public Safety
Chair: Limmer
Anderson
Ingebrigtsen
Johnson
Kiffmeyer
Mathews

Metropolitan Council Governance
Chair: Osmek
Coleman
Duckworth

Agriculture
Chair: Westrom
Anderson
Dornink
Goggin
Dahms

Aging
Chair: Housley
Abeler
Koran
Ruud

Commerce
Chair: Dahms
Housley
Howe
Utke

2020 November Revenue Forecast

Minnesota Report

Today, Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter and Revenue Commissioner Robert Doty along with State Economist Laura Kalambokidis will release the November Forecast to provide some light on the state’s financial picture. Revenues have been up and the question of the depth of the state’s financial woes will get a first true glimpse prior to the 2021-22 legislative session.

We will also cover the responses of the political leadership when they provide their responses to the forecast.

9:15 AM

Latest from MMB.

Minnesota’s economic and budget outlook have improved since May, when we released a budget projection just as the COVID-19 pandemic was taking hold. With this forecast, higher general fund revenues and lower expected spending result in a projected surplus of $641 million for the FY 2020-21 biennium. The improved budget outlook continues into FY 2022-23, but a $1.273 billion budgetary shortfall remains for that biennium.  As the pandemic continues, economic challenges also persist. Minnesota has 184,000 fewer jobs than in February and, while the economic downturn has affected all Minnesotans, unemployment has disproportionately impacted lower wage workers.

12:00 PM

https://mn.gov/mmb-stat/000/az/forecast/2020/budget-and-economic-forecast/november-2020-forecast.pdf

https://mn.gov/mmb-stat/000/az/forecast/2020/budget-and-economic-forecast/november-2020-forecast-presentation.pdf

 

Speaker Hortman’s Announcement of 2021-22 House Committee Chairs

Minnesota Report

 

Yesterday, the DFL House Caucus announced it list of committee chairs for the forthcoming legislative session. There are a number of 2nd term members who have received a gavel, and a notable placement of a woman of color, Rep Rena Moran (DFL-65B, St Paul) as the historic head of Ways and Means.

 

2021-22 House Committee Chairs

Agriculture Finance & Policy: Rep Mike Sundin (DFL-11A, Esko)

Capital Investment: Rep Fue Lee (DFL-59A, Minneapolis)

Commerce Finance & Policy: Rep Zack Stephenson (DFL-36A, Coon Rapids)

Education Finance: Rep Jim Davnie (DFL-63A, Minneapolis)

Early Childhood Finance & Policy: Rep David Pinto (DFL-64B, St Paul)

Education Policy: Rep Ruth Richardson (DFL-52B, Mendota Heights)

Environment and Natural Resources Finance & Policy: Rep Rick Hansen (DFL-52A, South St Paul)

Climate and Energy Finance & Policy: Rep Jamie Long (DFL-61B, Minneapolis)

State Government Finance & Policy: Rep Mike Nelson (DFL-40A, Brooklyn Park)

Local Government Division: Rep Sandra Masin (DFL-51A, Eagan)

Health Finance & Policy: Rep Tina Liebling (DFL-26A, Rochester)

Preventative Health Policy Division: Rep Mike Freiberg (DFL-45B, Golden Valley)

Human Services Finance & Policy: Rep Jennifer Schultz (DFL-07A, Duluth)

Behavioral Health Policy Division: Rep Peter Fischer (DFL-43A, Maplewood)

Higher Education Finance & Policy: Rep Connie Bernardy (DFL-41A, New Brighton)

Housing Finance & Policy: Rep Alice Hausman (DFL-66A, St Paul)

Preventing Homelessness Division: Rep Aisha Gomez (DFL-62B, Minneapolis)

Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance & Policy: Rep Rob Ecklund (DFL-03A, International Falls)

Workforce and Business Development Finance & Policy: Rep Mohamud Noor (DFL-60B, Minneapolis)

Industrial Education and Economic Development Finance & Policy: Rep Gene Pelowski (DFL-28A, Winona)

Judiciary Finance & Civil Law: Rep Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL-42B, Roseville)

Legacy Finance: Rep Leon Lillie (DFL-43B, North St Paul)

Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance & Policy: Rep Carlos Mariani (DFL-64A, St Paul)

Rules and Legislative Administration: Rep Ryan Winkler (DFL-46A, Golden Valley)

Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform: Rep Gene Pelowski (DFL-28A, Winona)

Taxes: Rep Paul Marquart (DFL-04B, Dillworth)

Property Tax Division: Rep Cheryl Youakim (DFL-46B, Hppkins)

Transportation Finance & Policy: Rep Frank Hornstein (DFL-61A, Minneapolis)

Ways and Means: Rep Rena Moran (DFL-64B, St Paul)

Redistricting: Rep Mary Murphy (DFL-03A, Hermantown)

 

Hortman’s Announcement on Moran’s Historic Appointment

Minnesota Report

Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman announced the appointment of Rep. Rena Moran (DFL – Saint Paul) as the next chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Moran expressed gratitude for the opportunity to chair the committee, which has broad jurisdiction over state budget matters.

“I’m deeply honored to enter this next step of my time in the Legislature, and thank Speaker Hortman for the tremendous opportunity,” Rep. Moran said. “My goal in chairing this committee will be to ensure our state budget is a true reflection of our values, and recognizes what Minnesotans need to get through this crisis of COVID-19 and racial injustices. It’s no secret people all over the state are going through challenges as a result of both. No matter how difficult the job will be, I’m looking forward to the work ahead to help Minnesotans emerge stronger.”

Upon receiving the gavel when the Legislature convenes in January, Rep. Moran will become the first person of color to chair the committee as well as the first African American woman.

Rep. Moran takes over as Ways and Means chair from Rep. Lyndon Carlson (DFL – Crystal) who is retiring following 48 years in the House. Currently, she chairs the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee and is co-chair of the House Select Committee on Racial Justice. Additionally, she serves as chair of the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus and United Black Legislative Caucus.

The complete list of chairs and committees can be accessed here. Full membership of House committees will be announced in December. The 2021 legislative session convenes on January 5.

Trump Polling Numbers in Key States Falter

National and Minnesota Report Yesterday, articles in the New York Times and the Washington Post spelled good news for the former Vice-President Joe Biden’s campaign (D). https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/25/upshot/poll-2020-biden-battlegrounds.html...

Senate Bonding Then and Now (2018 v 2020)

Minnesota Report Two years ago, the Republican controlled State Senate brought forward it’s Capitol Investment Bill, which failed to pass on a party line vote of 34-33, seven votes short of the 2/3rds majority of 41 votes. What is interesting I what the Republicans...

Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Page

Minnesota Report On Friday, Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) along with Commissioner Jan Malcolm released the State of Minnesota’s comprehensive COVID-19 page on the Department of Health’s Website. Additionally, the MN House also has a page which provides more and...

Trump’s Continued Call for Hydroxychloroquine

National Report In spite of not having scientific support for his position Donald J Trump (R) continues to put forward his contention that the use of Hydroxychloroquine a drug for Malaria and Lupus and Erythromycin a drug for bacterial infections as a panacea to the...

Walz Executive Orders During Pandemic

Minnesota Report As we are in the midst of the second week of the Stay at Home Executive Order 20-20 more orders are coming from Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) to stipulate what options are available to our state’s citizens. Today, Executive Order 20-25 Authorizing Peace...

The Coming of the Four Horsemen

If you want to be memorable in Minnesota State Capitol politics it is good if you are referred to as something other than your name. It is often helpful when a term or a phrase can be applied to your, group, issue or initiative. If you want to be known as something...

NPR Censors Opposition Comments on RCV

The NPR show 1A ran a program on Ranked Choice Voting today, and Checks & Balances Publisher Shawn Towle sought a spot on the panel. When called back by producer Andi McDaniel he was informed the panel was full but could submit a comment through the voicemail...

Legislative Return/Special Session 2020

Minnesota Report We are hearing the legislature will likely be recalled for Special Session June 12th, which is just before Governor Tim Walz’ (DFL-MN) last peacetime emergency declaration is set to expire. In order to declare another one, he will need to receive...

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Alcohol From Restaurant to You

Minnesota Report  The House and the Senate have agreed to allow alcohol sales to be purchased from restaurants, during the COVID-19 crisis, but only beer and wine. The problem with this is with liquor stores still open the cost will be higher without an added benefit,...

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Caution is the Best Medicine

Minnesota Report As Donald J Trump (R) continues to discuss his preparation and planning, combined with his pressure to open up the United States for business again on May 1st, he does so in a potential conflict with the state’s governors. Here in Minnesota, he will...

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What to Expect from the Legislature Today?

Minnesota Report The agenda for the legislature is limited and focused on issues surrounding the COVID-19 Virus and there are a number of ways it is adversely affecting our state. A view of the times for consideration by the House Rules and Legislative Administration...

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