Republican leaders seemed to come out of the negotiating room after the holiday weekend with a renewed sense of vigor. Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and House Speaker Kurt Zellers addressed reporters after an hourlong budget meeting on Tuesday — the first since talks collapsed and government went into shutdown mode — and repeated their caucuses’ “no new taxes” declaration.
by Charley Shaw
Published: June 15, 2011
Tags: Brian McDaniel, Byron, Gary Carlson, Joel Carlson, John Knapp, Kevin Goodno, Rep. Greg Davidsâ, Speaker Kurt Zellers, Steve Smith, Steve Sviggum, Todd Hill, Tom Hanson, Tom Prichard, Torrey Westrom, Ward Einess, Winthrop
Members of the Capitol lobbying corps could have been excused for thinking they were in the wrong building at the start of the 2011 legislative session. A new administration and 60 new legislators took office in St. Paul, and a new complement of Republican leaders and chairs took the place of DFLers in both legislative chambers. The Capitol building itself was just about the only thing that resembled the state of affairs from the prior year.
Myron Frans didn't ease into his new role in the Minnesota political world. Within days of starting his job as Gov. Mark Dayton's head of Revenue on April 6, Frans and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter penned a contentious letter to Republican leaders. It warned them that their budgets were at least $1.2 billion shy of solving the state's $5 billion budget deficit, and were based on unsound fiscal notes and estimates.
Bill Richard, who worked for U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar until Jan. 2, joined the administration of Gov. Mark Dayton on Jan. 3. He reports daily to Dayton’s office on actions in Washington that could affect the state. (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)
by Briana Bierschbach
Published: April 1, 2011
Tags: Bob Gunther, Bob Vanasek, Dan Severson, Denny McNamara, Greg Davids, Gregg Peppin, Jenifer Loon, Joe Hoppe, Kurt Daudt, Kurt Zeller, Mark Buesgens, Mark Dayton, Marty Seifert, Mary Liz Holberg, Matt Dean, Paul Torkelson, Rod Hamilton, Steve Sviggum, Tim Kelly, Tim Pawlenty, Tom Emmer, tom Hackbarth, Tom Hanson
Former Republican Rep. Dave Bishop remembers sitting in the office of then-House Speaker Steve Sviggum, trying to calm him down. Sviggum was fuming, as Bishop recalls, because he had just been voted down on an issue by the executive board, a small group of GOP representatives that serve as caucus advisers to the speaker of the House of Representatives.
by Briana Bierschbach
Published: March 18, 2011
Tags: dan fabian, Dave Olin, Dave Thompson, Gen Olson, Glenn Gruenhagen, Gregg Peppin, Gretchen Hoffman, John Howe, Kathy Saltzman, King Banaian, Kurt Daudt, Kurt Zeller, Kurt Zellers, Larry Haws, Mark Dayton, Matt Dean, Minority Leader Marty Seifert, Rich Murray, Robin Brown, Ted Lillie, Tom Hanson
The scene was unusual for most Capitol regulars. At an early-session press conference, newly minted House Republican leaders Kurt Zellers and Matt Dean introduced the first symbolic bills of their newfound majority. Standing at their side were the bill authors - two first-time legislators just a few weeks removed from their swearing-in.
As Gov. Mark Dayton promotes his plan to borrow $1 billion for projects as part of a job creation strategy, state records show previous bonding projects with an even larger amount of unspent money.
When it came time to vote on the first $1 billion budget cutting bill from Republican leadership in the Ways and Means Committee, it was no surprise that all the DFL members voted against it. They say the bill, which proposes to extend one-time cuts to local government aid, human services and higher education that were part of a budget deal last session, has been rushed through the committee process.
As legislators went over the Republican leadership's first budget-cutting bill in the House Ways and Means Committee Monday morning, DFL Rep. Nora Slawik asked the implications of one portion of the proposal, which directs the Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) Office to find nearly $200 million in cuts to state government. Committee members asked if anyone from the budget office was sitting in the audience to testify. No one from the current administration was identified, but one legislator pointed out former MMB chief Tom Hanson in the crowd.
Outgoing Republican state Rep. Laura Brod and current lame duck Budget Commissioner Steve Sviggum popped up on the list of 18 finalists for the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents.