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2018 DFL State Convention Day 2

by Eric Ferguson on June 2, 2018 · 7 comments

Yesterday’s live blog got really long, so I decided to start a fresh post for today. See yesterday for an intro to what a live blog is, disclosure of biases, yesterday’s events, and I’m unlikely to explain procedural stuff or regurgitate opinions explained in yesterday’s live blog.
 
If you want to watch the live stream, go to The Uptake web site. If you want to glance over at the MNGOP convention also going this weekend, go here.
 
Today is governor and attorney general. My wife snapped a photo of the Matt Pelikan pelican in the concourse outside the convention hall. That’s fun.
 
Pelikan pelican from outside DFL state convention
 
The convention has reconvened. Lots of delegates missed yesterday, unsurprisingly since governor is the big attraction, so rules and procedures are being explained again. The noise level on the floor is more obvious here than watching on the live stream. So if you’re streaming, feel smug that you can hear better than people here. Though those of us here can hear the videos since we’re not under Youtube’s thumb. So there.
 
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DFL State Convention Live Blog

by Eric Ferguson on May 31, 2018 · 3 comments

The DFL state convention starts tomorrow (or today if you’re reading this on June 1). A “live blog” means that I’ll be blogging about it as it happens rather than writing up something later. I’ll be explaining what’s going on, and maybe opining on some things. We’ll see what provokes me to opinionating. The current plan is to watch the livestream on The Uptake Friday, which obviously you can watch yourself and I’ll post a link so you can do that. Saturday, I’m hoping to be there watching in person, so hopefully I’ll pick up some stuff that’s not apparent on the livestream. Sunday will likely be another livestream day. Yes, I maybe could have gotten a hotel if I hadn’t been so cheap and tried to reserve a room early enough and blah de blah. Fortunately I live in daytripping distance.
 

Convening time Friday is 4. The rest of the schedule I assume will be adjusted according to circumstances. The proposed agenda is posted here. Emphasis on proposed, since delegates can move to change the agenda when the rules and agenda are debated, and you never know for sure what will be proposed and what will pass. I’ve run some conventions as a local party chair, and worked on some as a committee member or with a campaign, and can attest that unexpected changes get made. I’ll spare you the “expect the unexpected” cliche — except I guess I just didn’t. You should have expected that. What you can expect is I will explain some of the “what on earth are they talking about” parts that conventions have.
 
Probably, you care more about the state office endorsements and not committee reports or party office elections or rules debates. So, according to the proposed agenda, Friday will see the endorsements for the US Senate seats and Secretary of State. Attorney General and Governor are scheduled for Saturday, and Auditor is scheduled for Sunday.
 
Actual updates and reportage start below. Keep refreshing during the convention for updates. If you’re curious about the 2014 or 2016 convention, check out those live blogs. See if you can catch me griping the same gripes (yes, you can).
 

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Sandy_Hook_Gun_Tragedy_Tim_Walz_NRA_CandidateWhat is the difference between a dozen dead second graders and a dozen dead high school students?
 
The high school students’ best friends will be able to vote next year.
 
And no, I will not apologize for the strong words and horrifying imagery. It is time for strong words and horrifying imagery.
 
I am facing a number of different poltical choices this year. Some of them come in two weeks at the Minnesota DFL (Democratic Party) Convention in Rochester. I’m a delegate, and I will be casting my vote to endorse two US Senate candidates, the State Auditor, the State Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and the Governor. Recently, I was engaged in the endorsement decision for my US House District, and my local state House Representative is up for election.
 
Filtering out races that are fait accompli, there are three people running that I am firmly committed to NOT vote for, and to work against in any way possible, because of their contribution to America’s gun-hungry, gun-happy, gun-crazy culture.
 
They are, in order of geographical zone covered by their potential purview as an elected official:
 
Tim Walz, currently in the US House representing Minnesota’s first district, now running for the endorsement for Governor of Minnesota; Erik Paulsen, running for re-election to the US House, and Sarah Anderson, running for re-election to the Minnesota House.
 
I can not vote in early June for Tim Walz’s endorsement because for the last 12 years he maintained an A rating form the NRA, took their money, voted mostly as they told him to vote, and made numerous public statements in support of this gun culture.
 
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Minnesota was about to get $25 million in health care grants as part of the Affordable Care Act.  The money would go to help children with cancer and to provide in-home care to military veterans.  But Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) hates Obamacare so much that he blocked Minnesota from accessing these grants.

“My intent, as I said, was to make sure that we had a chance for the Legislature more than just me to look at this,” Hann said. “I don’t think I should be the guy that determines whether or not we should spend $60 million or not. I don’t think the governor should be either. I think that’s something for the public and the Legislature to do in the light of day.”
(MPR)

In his letter, Hann obscures his real intent of blocking this grant by asking for more information:

“The documents provided to me do not sufficiently explain the need for the grant and for what purpose the money will be spent.”

Gov. Dayton called out Hann for blocking this grant because of his ideology:

Senator Hann’s unwarranted imposition of his personal ideology on state agencies’ abilities to help people with urgent needs is unconscionable.  He will severely harm 5,000 Minnesota children with cancer and their families, who would be helped by the Pediatric Cancer Surveillance grant.  His action will prevent Minnesota families, who are enduring the horrific experience of children with cancer from learning about new medical research, which coud save their children’s lives.

Senator Hann has decided also to block the Department of Human Services from helping some 172,000 elderly Minnesota veterans by connecting them to the approrpriate home and community-based services.  This grant is also designed to save money through preventative services.

Senator Erin Murphy (DFL-Saint Paul) and Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick) also weighed in:

“Rather than take common sense steps to support Minnesotans, Senator Hann and Republicans continue to put up partisan, ideological barriers,” said Rep. Murphy. “These grants would help children with cancer, elderly veterans, and people with Alzheimer’s – their lives shouldn’t be pawns in political games.”

“Senator Hann’s unilateral action puts his own personal ideology before the welfare of many thousands of Minnesotans,” said Sen. Lourey. “This is an egregious abuse of legislative authority, and one more reason we cannot afford the extreme political agenda of the current GOP-led legislature.”

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Minnesota was about to get $25 million in health care grants from the federal government.  The money would go to help children with cancer and to provide in-home care to military veterans.  But Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) is so partisan, is so far out of touch with the needs of Minnesotans that he blocked Minnesota from accessing these grants.

“My intent, as I said, was to make sure that we had a chance for the Legislature more than just me to look at this,” Hann said. “I don’t think I should be the guy that determines whether or not we should spend $60 million or not. I don’t think the governor should be either. I think that’s something for the public and the Legislature to do in the light of day.”
(MPR)

But the truth is, by blocking our state from receiving these competitive grants, we would need to re-apply for them.  In his letter, Hann obscures his real intent of blocking these grants by asking for more information:

“The documents provided to me do not sufficiently explain the need for the grant and for what purpose the money will be spent.”

Gov. Dayton called out Hann for blocking this grant because of his ideology:

Senator Hann’s unwarranted imposition of his personal ideology on state agencies’ abilities to help people with urgent needs is unconscionable.  He will severely harm 5,000 Minnesota children with cancer and their families, who would be helped by the Pediatric Cancer Surveillance grant.  His action will prevent Minnesota families, who are enduring the horrific experience of children with cancer from learning about new medical research, which coud save their children’s lives.

Senator Hann has decided also to block the Department of Human Services from helping some 172,000 elderly Minnesota veterans by connecting them to the approrpriate home and community-based services.  This grant is also designed to save money through preventative services.

Senator Erin Murphy (DFL-Saint Paul) and Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick) also weighed in with a press release:

“Rather than take common sense steps to support Minnesotans, Senator Hann and Republicans continue to put up partisan, ideological barriers,” said Rep. Murphy. “These grants would help children with cancer, elderly veterans, and people with Alzheimer’s – their lives shouldn’t be pawns in political games.”

“Senator Hann’s unilateral action puts his own personal ideology before the welfare of many thousands of Minnesotans,” said Sen. Lourey. “This is an egregious abuse of legislative authority, and one more reason we cannot afford the extreme political agenda of the current GOP-led legislature.”

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Minnesota Going Without Healthcare

by Grace Kelly on February 25, 2010 · 3 comments

Just in case, any one tries to tell you that don’t worry about GAMC, that everyone will just switch to MNcare, here are facts from my esteemed Minnesota House Representative Erin Murphy:

According to DHS testimony in December, auto enrollment of GAMC enrollees into MNCare will yield a high rate of uninsurance and uncompensted care. Here is the math.
  • Roughly 30,000 Minnesotans are enrolled in GAMC.
  • 20,000 Minnesotans will be auto enrolled in MNCare.
  • Only 5,000 Minnesotans will retain MNCare post auto enrollment.
  • Only 3,300 Minnesotans will retain MNCare past the first renewal.
  • Only 1,300 of the original 30,000 will retain coverage past the second renewal.
  • Auto enrollment leads to more uninsured Minnesotans and more uncompensated care.

    Add this to Alec’s post on Pawlenty advocating that healthcare can be refused for lack of insurance.  Then the message of Republicans really is: “If you are poor, just die already!”

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    Time Heath Care Vote with Fall Flu

    by Grace Kelly on August 25, 2009 · 6 comments

    If we encounter difficulty coming back from break on passing the public American option, then perhaps the timing simply has to be wait until the H1N1 starts a death toll! Then people might realize that individual health care depends on health care for all.

    Researchers in the United States are working furiously to prepare for the upcoming flu season, which usually begins in late October, but could peak earlier than normal this year.

    (Channel News)

    In fact, my Minnesota Representative Erin Murphy, who is a registered nurse and very knowledgable about health care, is warning us that at a time when our state has “unalloted” funds for health care, we will be facing a flu outbreak this fall.

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    The burden of the Governor Pawlenty’s budget falls heavily on the recently unemployed by cutting off health care insurance to newer participants and by shifting more government cost on to property tax. So instead balancing the budget between cutting costs and increasing taxes on those who can afford it. Governor Pawlenty tries to make the problem invisible to the rich and the burden borne by a few. How Republican of him!

    Representative Erin Murphy is from my part of St Paul, a very impressive, detail-oriented, compassionate person. She has really been paying attention to how the budget burden falls:

    As the House developed our budget targets, our caucus took a careful look at what a “cuts only” strategy would look like for Minnesota. It isn’t pretty. Even with full use of federal recovery dollars, a “cuts alone” approach would require deep spending reductions in every area of government.

    If we cut all education categories 4 to 5 percent (over $1 billion in cuts) all other sections of the budget – environmental and natural resources, health and human services, local government aid – would all face cuts in the range of 20 percent or more. Under these cuts, over 12,000 school employees across the state could lose their jobs, tuition at the U of M and MnSCU would rise significantly, 10 percent of all hospitals and 33 percent of nursing homes would close, 3 prisons would need to close, and property taxes would increase by as much as a billion dollars to offset part of the cuts to local governments.

    We cannot cut our way out this budget deficit. This fact is acknowledged in both the House and Governor’s budget proposals, each which employs new revenue to close the deficit. However each proposal takes a different approach on the question of revenue.  

    Just to be fair and in context, here is the whole of her statement:

    ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND STATE BUDGET SOLUTION LINKED

    We are midway through the Legislative session and we are focusing our attention on solving our record budget deficit and positioning Minnesota for economic recovery. It is clear the two cannot be separated. We have released our budget framework in the Minnesota House DFL caucus.  It requires sacrifice including significant cuts and new revenue. It demands reform and we are considering innovations across the budget. Most importantly, the House budget is a fair, honest and practical approach to solve the deficit and position Minnesota for economic prosperity.  

    In this recession, it is more important than ever to invest in areas of our budget that can help grow our economy in the short and long term. Our plan maintains our commitment to early, K-12 and higher education – our very best investment to create long term economic prosperity. We also prioritized areas of the budget critical to protection and creation of jobs.

    As the House developed our budget targets, our caucus took a careful look at what a “cuts only” strategy would look like for Minnesota. It isn’t pretty. Even with full use of federal recovery dollars, a “cuts alone” approach would require deep spending reductions in every area of government.

    If we cut all education categories 4 to 5 percent (over $1 billion in cuts) all other sections of the budget – environmental and natural resources, health and human services, local government aid – would all face cuts in the range of 20 percent or more. Under these cuts, over 12,000 school employees across the state could lose their jobs, tuition at the U of M and MnSCU would rise significantly, 10 percent of all hospitals and 33 percent of nursing homes would close, 3 prisons would need to close, and property taxes would increase by as much as a billion dollars to offset part of the cuts to local governments.

    We cannot cut our way out this budget deficit. This fact is acknowledged in both the House and Governor’s budget proposals, each which employs new revenue to close the deficit. However each proposal takes a different approach on the question of revenue.  

    The Governor’s proposal would raise $1 billion through a borrowing plan that would take out a 20-year loan for state operations. Akin to maxing out a VISA to pay off a Mastercard, this approach asks our future generations to pay for our current deficit until 2030 and beyond at an eventual cost of $1.6 billion. The Governor proposes a $1 billion in delayed education payments. The Governor’s plan also assumes over $600 million in property tax increases through his deep cuts to local government aid.

    The House proposal includes $1.5 billion in budget cuts and raises $1.5 billion of revenue.  The revenue will likely include a combination of tax code reforms and tax increases, yielding a progressive revenue proposal. The 2009 Minnesota Tax Incidence Report demonstrates that Minnesota’s tax code has grown more regressive.  We propose that financially strongest among us to share in the solution, making the tax code more progressive.  The House proposal includes a delay in school payments and we will produce a budget to balance in both the 10-11 and 12-13 biennium.  This is no small feat.  

    In the middle of the great recession, we must advance practical and achievable solutions.  We must consider the economic impact of cuts and tax increases and strike the right balance as too much of either intervention could further weaken the economy.   I hope we can pass a budget that reflects Minnesota’s values – protection of the vulnerable, investment in education, self sufficiency and jobs and hope for a brighter future.

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