Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

Some Good News On The Labor Front, Greater Minnesota Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 26, 2013

Unless you live near the city of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, or read Minnesota-based labor union publications, you probably haven’t heard about this bit of good news for workers:

After being locked out of their workplace at Snappy Air Distribution Products in Detroit Lakes for eight days, 95 workers returned to work at 7 a.m. today. The workers will return without a new contract and will work under the expired 2010 contract.

Even better:

A bill that will be heard by the legislature this session will allow locked out workers to receive unemployment insurance payments as long as they are locked out,” said Mark Froemke Western Minnesota AFL-CIO president. “The bill is sponsored in the House by Rep. Joe Atkins from the Cities and in the Senate by Senator David Tomassoni from the Range.”

Atkins is from Inver Grove Heights, Tomassoni is from Chisholm and both are DFL.

Froemke is also a member of the Grain Millers division of the BCT&GM Union that represents the Crystal Sugar workers who have been locked out of plants in Minnesota and North Dakota for over 18 months.

Hear, hear!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Minnesotans United Petition For Legalizing Marriage Equality

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 21, 2013

Fresh from their against-the-predictions success in beating back the Marriage Restriction Amendment, Minnesotans United for All Families has a new task — to get as many Minnesotans as possible to sign their petition to our state legislators to overturn the bigoted laws banning marriage equality:

Sign the petition: I support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples!

In 2012, Minnesotans historically and decisively said NO to a hurtful constitutional amendment that would’ve permanently excluded same-sex couples from marriage.

I support the freedom to marry for loving and committed same-sex couples, and urge Minnesota legislators to support legislation in 2013 that changes state law to grant same-sex couples the freedom to marry the person they love.

You know what to do, Minnesota readers.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

PPP: Minnesota Voter Suppression And Marriage Suppression Amendments Look Doomed

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 5, 2012

Here is very good news from Public Policy Polling. In addition to reporting that Obama leads Romney comfortably in the state, 53% to 45%, there is also good news on the two crummy amendments the state GOP wanted to shove down our throats:

The more interesting findings on our final Minnesota poll deal with the state’s high profile amendments to ban gay marriage and require voter identification. We find both narrowly trailing. 45% of voters say they’ll vote for the gay marriage ban, compared to 52% who are opposed to it. And 46% say they’ll support the voter ID amendment to 51% who are opposed.

Not only is the “Voter ID” voter suppression amendment losing (46% to 51%), so is the marriage suppression amendment, 45% to 52%. Since amendments to the state constitution need not just a plurality, but a majority of the votes cast, this bodes well for Tuesday.

Now, the marriage amendment never got much more than 50%, and it’s been below 50% for some time now, so it’s not surprising to see that it’s now in the mid-40s. What surprises the local punditti is that the voter suppression amendment is also losing — it had started out with between 70% and 80% support, so much support that various big local Democratic-affiliated groups didn’t want to waste time and money fighting it. But Sally Jo Sorensen, the best blogger in the State of Minnesota and one of its top five journalists, period, noticed that a lot of county governments were expressing to their local papers their absolute horror at the damage this massive unfunded mandate would do to their already-stressed budgets. We are literally talking about counties having to forego fixing roads or hiring cops because of this amendment.

Over the months, as winter turned to spring and spring to summer, more of these county governments started speaking out about this — and more to the point, they started to compare notes, aided in large part by Sally Jo’s publicizing of the issue (a publicizing I did my small bit to aid), even as both the StarTribune (the Minneapolis paper of record) and the Pioneer Press (the Saint Paul paper of record) largely ignored this. Soon, a critical mass of note-comparing turned into the production of a few studies, studies that confirmed the counties’ worst fears as to the costs and complexities that would be forced upon them by this amendment.

This hit home with the vote suppressors. Even as the Republicans laughed off efforts to condemn the voter suppression amendment as racist — the racist intent would appeal to a lot of Minnesota voters, so the GOP was quite happy to see Democrats talk it up — they didn’t laugh off efforts to enumerate the cost to rural counties. They sent out the attack bozoes at the Center of the American Experiment to create some numbers purporting to show that the amendment wouldn’t cost as much as feared, but Sally Jo’s good friend, Gustavus Adolphus professor and elections expert Max Hailperin, shot down their numbers right quick. Finally, the voter suppressors turned to running TV ads — but by that time the various movers and shakers in Minnesota’s Democratic establishment and allied groups had started running TV ads of their own, ads featuring guys like former Republican governor Arne Carlson and current Democratic governor Mark Dayton.

Again, keep your fingers crossed. And I’m knocking on wood with one hand while I type this with the other. But if what I think will happen does happen, a good chunk of the credit for doing the early, unglamourous spadework will go to my friend Sally Jo Sorensen, who in a just world would be entrusted with the editorship of a big daily paper or the media operations of AFSCME or SEIU or the DFL.

Posted in 2012, Minnesota, voting rights | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Goodhue And Hubbard Join List Of Minnesota Counties Worried About Cost, Effects Of Photo ID Amendment

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 17, 2012

Add Goodhue and Hubbard Counties to the list of Minnesota counties whose elections officials are worried sick about the cost and the effects of the Photo ID amendment the state GOP shoved onto the November ballot.

From Goodhue County, via the Red Wing Republican Eagle — and emphases are mine:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

The Strib Finally Joins Outstate Minnesota Papers In Noticing The Huge Costs And Problems Of ALEC’s Voter ID Amendment

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 9, 2012

I was pleasantly surprised this week to see that the StarTribune had finally, nearly six months after papers in Greater Minnesota first sounded the alarms, deigned to notice what a mess the proposed ALEC “Voter ID” voter suppression amendment would make of both elections and county budgets. Despite my misgivings, a friend of mine tried posting variations of the following over in the comments sections at the Strib, but for some reason — possibly a reluctance to credit my friend Sally Jo Sorensen with anything, much less the story of the year — those comments never made it past the Strib’s comment minders. So here is what the StarTribune won’t tell you:

—–

Glad to see that the StarTribune is finally on this story.

Greater Minnesota counties and the news media that serve them are in a panic over the huge holes that this vote-suppressing ALEC Amendment will blow in their budgets, which have already been stressed by Republican budget cuts — first by Tim Pawlenty, then by the Republicans in the state legislature.

The Fergus Falls Journal said “no” to it back in March of this year: http://www.fergusfallsjournal.com/2012/03/23/city-voter-id-costly-mandate/

Last month, it was Rice County, which will get socked for $120,000: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2012/08/faribault-daily-news-photo-id-amendment-voting-system-overhaul-could-cost-rice-co-120000.html

Then, it was Kittson County, which has fewer than 5,000 residents, who will somehow have to shoulder $720,000 in extra costs levied by this amendment that does nothing to stop the sort of fraud its creators say it would stop: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2012/09/voter-restriction-amendment-would-cost-kittson-county-730000-mfu-president-doug-peterson-on-amendmen.html

Then the Marshall Independent weighed in against it, asking “Why are we even bothering with this?”: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2012/09/marshall-independent-editorial-slams-voter-suppression-amendment-why-are-we-even-bothering-with-this.html

Now even the deeply conservative McLeod County Chronicle rejects it, stating “Blatant political maneuvering should have no permanent place in Minnesota’s constitution”: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2012/09/mcleod-co-chronicle-editor-on-photo-id-amendment-blatant-political-maneuvering-should-have-no-perman.html

Here’s the irony: When Tim Pawlenty was governor, he vetoed, with the backing of Minnesota Republicans in the legislature, a plan by Mark Ritchie that would actually have dealt more effectively with fraud — and for far less money — than this current Kiffmeyer-backed ALEC-crafted amendment. The reason given? Kiffmeyer said it would cost too much. Seriously: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2012/07/if-mary-kiffmeyer-couldnt-smell-fraud-when-it-was-right-under-her-nose-how-are-we-to-trust-her-and-m.html

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

How Much Will The MN GOP’s “Voter ID” Amendment Cost Minnesotans? Between $49 and $139 Million.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 5, 2012

In case, after witnessing the walking bounced checks that are Tony Sutton and the Republican Party of Minnesota, you needed any further proof that Republicans in general, and Minnesota Republicans in particular, should never be trusted with Other People’s Money — here you go:

Yesterday, Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota (CEIMN) and Hamline University professor David Schultz released Cost of Minnesota’s Election Amendment.

[...]

According to group’s press release, the amendment is going to be costly to state and local government:

The report estimates that if the amendment is adopted state and local governments will need to spend between $33 million and $67 million to comply with its likely requirements and that individuals who currently lack a government identification will need to spend between $16 million and $72 million to get the documents necessary for the free ID if they wish to vote.

The proposed amendment would mandate the showing of a government-issued ID when voting. According to Kathy Bonnifield, Executive Director of CEIMN, “The amendment could make significant changes to Minnesota’s elections, affecting mail-in voting,
absentee voting, and Election Day Registration, and introduce provisional balloting.” 

The estimated cost to local governments is between $23 million and $53 million. Counties with mail-in precincts will be impacted at a greater rate than counties that do not have mail-in precincts. For example, the estimated cost to Renville County, with 9,000 registered voters and no mail-in precincts, is between $46,000 and $150,000 while the cost estimate for Roseau
County, with 8,700 registered voters and eight mail-in precincts, is between $200,000 and $300,000.

So, state and local governments will have to spend between $33 million and $67 million, and individuals who don’t currently have what Mary Kiffmeyer would consider proper ID would have to shell out between $16 million and $72 million to get all the documents needed to successfully apply for the “free” ID.

All for something that doesn’t stop the sort of fraud Republicans claim it would stop, but will make it a lot harder for college kids, seniors, and veterans to vote.

You can read the full report here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments »

MN GOP’s Photo ID Amendment Hits Minnesota Counties with Huge Costs Even As GOP Legislature Slashes Local Government Aid

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 3, 2012

First it was Rice County. Then it was Kittson County. Now, as BSP’s Sally Jo Sorensen notes, yet more parts of greater Minnesota are noticing the huge holes that the state Republicans’ “Photo ID” vote-restriction amendment would blow into their budgets –budgets that the Republicans controlling the state legislature are already hurting by slashing Local Government Aid:

In his September 1 editor’s column, Local silence on amendment issues troubling, St. Cloud Times editor Randy Krebs asks:

Speaking of laws, everyone knows that if the Voter ID amendment passes it is going to require more tax dollars as well as more local resources to conduct elections. Do local elected officials honestly think their state-level peers will pay those bills? Have they not watched how state aid to cities, higher education and other areas has dried up in recent sessions? Amid that trend, it’s obvious local jurisdictions have a huge interest in the outcome. So again, as leaders of the community, at least go public with a position.

Silence isn’t leadership, at least not in this election.

It’s a good point: the Republican caucuses now controlling the Minnesota legislature have been aggressive in cutting Local Government Aid for greater Minnesota.

Over in the northwestern Minnesota city of Detroit Lakes, Nathan Bowe, writing for DLOnline, the online arm of the local daily paper, lists all the hassles and headaches — including provisional balloting and the long lines and bogged-down vote counts that entails — and finishes up by describing the financial burden to the state’s taxpayers:

If the Voter ID amendment passes, Minnesota can expect to spend millions of dollars providing free identification cards to thousands of residents and educating residents on the state’s new voting requirements, according to Association of Minnesota Counties President Randy Maluchnik.

The provisional balloting requirements alone will cost Ramsey County an estimated $150,000 every two years, said Maluchnik, who is also a Carver County commissioner.

“Minnesota’s townships expect to spend upwards of $3 million statewide to implement provisional voting during their March elections,” he wrote. Local property tax payers will foot the bill if the state makes it an unfunded mandate.

The provisional balloting process will “require local governments to print special ballots, purchase new equipment, hire and train additional election judges, provide special business hours to allow provisional voters to prove their identity, and pay for storage and security of provisional ballots,” Maluchnik said.

Turns out there’s a lot more to the Voter ID amendment than just showing your driver’s license at the polling place.

Looks like the journalists of greater Minnesota are on the case. Now, what about the vaunted Twin Cities media? Hey, StarTribune and Pioneer Press — you gonna keep eating greater Minnesota’s journalistic dust on this issue?

(Crossposted to MyFDL.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

MN GOP’s Voter ID Plan Would Cost Two Rural Counties Nearly $1 Million

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 2, 2012

Not only is Minnesota’s Kiffmeyered amendment version of ALEC’s voter restriction (aka “Photo ID”) model bill useless at stopping the sort of voter fraud it’s touted as stopping, it would also be ruinously expensive for state and local governments to enact.

The steep expense of the Photo ID amendment if it passes was first noticed in the case of Rice County, which would be out around $120,000 — a big financial blow for a largely-rural county of less than 65,000 souls. As bad as that is, it’s much worse for Minnesota’s Kittson County, which is even more rural than Rice: The 4,552 residents of Kittson County would, if this Photo ID amendment passes, get socked with a $730,000 bill.

That’s right, folks: The good folk of Kittson County are being asked by the Minnesota Republican Party to shell out $160 for every man, woman and child in the county, and to pay for something that won’t fight fraud but will make it harder for legal voters like shut-ins, veterans, and college kids to vote.

Worst of all: Rice and Kittson are only two of Minnesota’s eighty-seven counties, and not very big in terms of population. Imagine what the other eighty-five counties (and their taxpayers) will be paying.

All so the Republicans can try to screw a few tens of thousands of Minnesotans out of their right to vote.

(Crossposted to MyFDL.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

MN Voter ID: Costs Million$, Keeps 1000s Of Legal Voters From Voting, Useless As Anti-Felon Tool

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 26, 2012

Sally Jo Sorensen passes along the following:

Faribault Daily News staff reporter Joseph Lindberg reports in Pricetag for voter ID in Rice County could surpass $120,000:

If Minnesota voters this November approve a
constitutional amendment requiring a valid photo ID to cast a ballot,
the equipment election officials would use to verify voter data could
cost more than $120,000 in Rice County alone.

Electronic “pollbooks,” a term
that generally refers to hardware and software used to process voter
information, would likely be used at the county’s 31 voting precincts at
an estimated cost of $4,000 each, according to Fran Windschitl, Rice
County auditor/treasurer. . . . .

The county’s cost hinges on how much time the amendment, if passed,
would give counties to process provisional ballots cast by those who
don’t bring ID to the polling place but cast a vote and verify their
personal data later.

Even if a longer time period is approved — other
states range from three to 14 days — and pollbooks aren’t needed, the
staff time to process ballots would be considerable, Windschitl said.

Sorensen goes on to note that back in 2009, when Democrats proposed sensible election reform legislation that, unlike the ALEC-sponsored voter ID amendment, have actually worked to keep felons from illegally voting, and done so far more cheaply and with far less bureaucratic hassle, the Republican then-governor Tim Pawlenty vetoed it.

Now, Rice County isn’t the smallest of Minnesota’s eighty-seven counties, but it’s also not the biggest. Extrapolate Rice County’s experience to the rest of the state, and it’s obvious that we’d be looking at a minimum of $10 million being spent to enforce a law that has as its main effect keeping tens of thousands of legal voters from being able to vote and which would do nothing to stop felons from illegally voting.

Minnesotans shouldn’t be too surprised by this. As we’ve seen from the glacial and sometimes questionable response of the Republican Party of Minnesota to requests for payment by the various counties whose staffs the RPM forced to work overtime on a recount that wound up confirming Mark Dayton’s win, Minnesota Republicans have no problems with sticking the counties of Greater Minnesota with the bills for GOP-caused voting expenditures.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

RPM’s Brodkorb Scorecard So Far: West Metro Business Types 1, Everyone Else 0

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 25, 2012

A few days ago, Spotty over at the Cucking Stool was chuckling away over the prospect of Cal Ludeman’s being hauled into a courtroom to address some, ah, inconsistencies in his public statements on the firing of Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb:

There was a hearing yesterday which began to address the Minnesota Senate’s (or the Republican part of it, anyway) contradictory statements about why Big Cal met Michael Brodkorb in a suburban restaurant and left him face down in the soup course.

“Sigh, we just weren’t up to keeping him on; nothing personal,” said Cal at the time.

Bonking the boss; we canned him,” said Cal’s office later when the unemployment office asked about Brodkorb’s application for unemployment compensation.

You will appreciate the inconsistency between those two explanations.

Yup, I sure do. Heh heh heh.

Can’t wait to see Cal Ludeman placed under oath. He’ll soon wish he’d begged Cummins, the Coopers, the Steinhafels and the other West Metro business types than control the RPM for the $500,000 Brodkorb demanded as a lovely parting gift.

But hey, isn’t Brodkorb, like Sutton, part of the West Metro business types crowd? Being that they were in tight with the Coopers, Michael Wigley and all. So why would the West Metros go out of their way to help Ludeman out here by paying off Brodkorb — especially when a lot of them are still ticked at Brodkorb’s buddy Tony Sutton for flushing the RPM’s finances down the same toilet he sent the Cooper-subsidized Baja Sol’s?

Nope, the only “help” they’re likely to give Ludeman is help out the door. He’s going to be lucky to avoid wearing an orange jumpsuit.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: