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Gov. Dayton is certainly liberal but he certainly isn’t a constitutional scholar. According to this Strib article, Gov. Dayton got a little testy with North Dakota for winning a lawsuit regarding the Next Generation Energy Act, aka the NGEA. Unfortunately, the lawsuit won’t cause the NGEA to be voided. The good news is that the Supreme Court will make short work of this.

The NGEA imposes restrictions on other states by banning Minnesota utilities from “signing deals to import coal-generated electricity.” It’s entirely unsurprising that “North Dakota sued and won on the grounds that the law constitutes a trade barrier between the two states that is forbidden by the U.S. Constitution.”

Specifically, that restriction is forbidden by the Interstate Commerce Clause. Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 gives the federal government the authority “[t]o regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” The text is clear. States aren’t allowed to put restrictions on other states that might hurt that state’s economy. Allowing Minnesota to dictate to North Dakota what it must do or can’t do is, essentially, taking over another state’s sovereign authority.

BONUS QUESTION: How would Gov. Dayton react if North Dakota’s governor signed a bill into law that forced Minnesota to build a pipeline across northern Minnesota?

Gov. Dayton didn’t just expose his lack of constitutional expertise. He went on another diatribe:

He said North Dakota has “its head in the sand,” and that Minnesota would continue to litigate to protect air quality.

What’s especially delicious is this statement:

Dave Glatt, head of the environmental health section for the North Dakota Dept. of Health, said his state is one of just a handful meeting all ambient air quality standards established by the EPA. He said roughly 25 percent of North Dakota’s total electric generation comes from wind and hydroelectric power, both non-carbon sources. Total carbon emissions are down 11 percent below 2005 levels despite the Bakken oil boom, Glatt said. He acknowledged the carbon intensity of the Bakken oil boom but said Minnesota has benefited from the boom. Oil prices have plunged in part due to a rapid rise in supply in places like North Dakota.

Gov. Dayton, stick that in your stovepipe and smoke it.

Gov. Dayton took some well-deserved heat Friday when he held a meeting in the Isle High School auditorium. He got criticized because he didn’t know what he was talking about and because the MNDNR has lost its credibility. A resort owner said that “the DNR’s numbers are skewed from the beginning. From the minute they say that netting over spawn beds is not affecting the walleye population, that’s nuts.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out that netting spawning beds will dramatically (and negatively) affect the walleye population of any lake. What does the DNR think happens when you remove walleyes that are trying to breed from the lake? Does the DNR think that they’re magically replaced by other breeding walleyes?

Another thing that Gov. Dayton got criticized for was his mentioning restocking the lake. That’s beyond foolish. As recently as the early 1990s, Mille Lacs Lake produced more walleye fry than all of the state’s fisheries combined. It isn’t possible for the DNR to restock Mille Lacs without hurting most of their other restocking projects across the state. Mathematically, it’s simply impossible.

Thankfully, legislators are pushing back against a special session:

“I think the suggestion of a special session is a little bit premature,” said Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, chair of the House Mining and Outdoor Recreation Committee. The state should look at alternatives, he said, such as promoting other fishing options on the lake and catch-and-release requirements for walleye.

Hackbarth said he isn’t convinced the DNR should be shutting down walleye fishing on Mille Lacs at all.

“Maybe we can get past this without closing the season, and that would take care of a lot of the economic problems that they’re having in the area,” he said. “How critical is it that we close it right now? Maybe we don’t need to do that.”

Rep. Hackbarth is onto something. In fact, he might’ve identified a long-term solution to the problem. The guides in the area have talked about the increase in the northern and musky populations. If Explore Minnesota started highlighting the quality musky fishing on the lake, that might reduce musky populations enough to help the walleyes rebound. I wouldn’t hesitate in highlighting the smallmouth fishing to be had on the north end of the lake.

This past Saturday, the DFL and Zach Dorholt staged a protest against racism. This St. Cloud Times article didn’t even get the basics right. To reporter Ben Rodgers’ credit, he was right in saying that this fake protest was held at “the Stearns County Courthouse.” After that, facts weren’t part of Mr. Rodgers neighborhood.

Rodgers wrote that Dorholt, the DFL and the AFL-CIO gathered “to protest an anti-immigration speaker who visited St. Cloud.” They identified that “anti-immigration speaker” as Bob Enos. It’s fiction to call Mr. Enos anti-immigration. I wrote about Mr. Enos in this post. I included a video of his presentation to the Willmar City Council in the post. Mr. Enos’ presentation was solely about the federal refugee resettlement program. Specifically, he was worried that this ‘federal’ program was stretching the budgets of state and local agencies. It’s a legitimate thing to worry about.

Here’s the video of Mr. Enos’ presentation:

Jane Conrad admitted that Mr. Enos isn’t anti-immigration:

Jane Conrad, a field representative for the East Central Area Labor Council, planned the rally after Bob Enos, of Willmar, appeared at an event booked at the Veterans of Foreign Wars speaking out against refugees and Sharia, the Islamic law.

Here’s part of Enos’ presentation to the Willmar City Council:

We’ve been working on an issue that’s become pretty important to us which has to do with the subject of the resettlement of political refugees around the world and how that affects our counties particularly. I don’t know if you’ve had any briefings on this matter but back in November, the coordinator for the refugee resettlement program for the state of Minnesota in St. Paul requested the director of Family Services here at the County to organize a meeting that took place over a couple of days. Twenty people attended from 3 county agencies, the Willmar School District as well as city hall. The Mayor-elect was there. A couple of vice presidents from Jenny O were there. The subject of the meeting had to do with migration of refugees to Kandiyohi County. We’re used to thinking of the refugee issue in terms of those that are leaving the refugee camps in east Africa and winding up on our shores and going out to the cities and the counties.

The big issue lately that we can’t seem to get a handle on very easily, particularly from a financial planning standpoint, and that has to do with the secondary relocation of refugees from other states around the country. The most recent data that we’re seeing now from the State of Minnesota, specifically from the Department of Health, now tells us that of every city and town, the city that is attracting the most refugees is Minneapolis. The city that’s attracting the second-most refugees is Willmar, not St. Paul, not Bloomington, not St. Cloud, Mankato, Worthington. Willmar.

We suspect that, for the most part, most of this has to do with family re-unification but, best guess, there’s a number of factors contributing to this. What we’re seeing is the Somali community, in particular, is such a size and critical mass, that that critical mass is, in and of itself, the primary magnet for refugees coming here from Atlanta, California and Texas. The last time we knew, we were looking at a number roughly of 2,000 or roughly 10% of our population. We know that’s quite conservative.

I’ve been to 2 other meetings subsequent to the meeting held in November. One was held out in St. Cloud and was sponsored by Lutheran Social Services organization, which in Minnesota, is called the # 1 volunteer agency or VOLAG, which is a private contractor with the State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services from the federal government to aid in that relocation within the first 6 months that they’re here. That meeting, interestingly enough, had about 35 stakeholders, people that have some part, some incentive, some exposure to the program. There was not a single elected official there from the City of St. Cloud or the county. There were no representatives of the School District and these are the places where we’re seeing the most impact, and, of course, the schools.

The federal contracts that the VOLAGs have, though they’re hardly volunteers, requires that they quarterly have meetings with stakeholders. Those stakeholders are supposed to include members of the community. I would take that a member of the community to be an elected representative and I have not been to a meeting where I’ve seen a city councilman, a county commissioner or anyone of an elected status.

Nowhere in Enos’ presentation did he mention Sharia law. Zach Dorholt said this in continuing the DFL’s façade:

“When people come to St. Cloud with the intent to divide us and spread hate and anger we here in St. Cloud are simply going to ask for peace, love and happiness,” Zach Dorholt said. “St. Cloud is always going to stand for peace, love and understanding over the fear and hate that those who don’t live here are trying to incite.”

In other words, Dorholt thinks that worrying about city and county finances is “spreading hate and anger.” Enos has talked about doing a moratorium on the refugee resettlement program until an audit is done to determine the local impact of the program.

If that’s Dorholt’s definition of racism, then it isn’t surprising that he sees racism everywhere. Speaking about things that aren’t surprising, it isn’t surprising that the Times got the lede information wrong.

It’s indisputable that Mark Jaede, a professor at St. Cloud State and a long-time DFL activist, used government property to help plan a political rally that was organized by Jane Conrad, a staffer at the Minnesota AFL-CIO. Apparently, Prof. Jaede doesn’t think that the rules apply to him.

Specifically, he must think this rule doesn’t apply to him:

Subpart D. Use of state property. All system property is also state property. With limited exceptions, state property is not to be used for personal or private use except as specifically authorized, such as limited personal use of computers as provided in System Procedure 5.22.1 and incidental use of system cell phones, as provided in System Procedure 5.22.1.

Earlier this week, Prof. Jaede posted this political announcement on St. Cloud State’s listserv system:

This message is from Jane Conrad, who can be reached at 320-267-0899:

A rally was planned to counter racist speaker Ron Branstner who was speaking at the VFW at 9 18th Ave N in St Cloud. Two hours after I let the police know about our action and after the police talked with management at the VFW the speaker was canceled. So I canceled the rally. However, I did find out that the VFW did allow the event to go forward with a racist speaker from Willmar, Bob Enos. To counter this we are planning a rally this Saturday at 1:00 in front of the VFW. Please join us a peaceful collective community action. We are all in this together.

When Prof. Jaede used his SCSU email address to highlight an AFL-CIO political rally, he used state property “for personal or private use.” He wasn’t conducting University business when he posted this event information. He seems to admit that in signing off:

Mark (writing as an individual faculty member who is concerned about having a community that welcomes all)

Considering the fact that Jaede’s been a DFL activist for years and considering the fact that he was using state resources to highlight an AFL-CIO political rally, does anyone take Prof. Jaede seriously when he insists that he’s doing this “as an individual faculty member who is concerned about having a community that welcomes all” and not as a DFL activist?

The St. Cloud Times published House DFL Leader Paul Thissen’s op-ed this weekend. Suffice it to say that it would’ve been about 22 words if you omitted the DFL’s dishonest chanting points. Let’s debunk the most disgusting of Thissen’s dishonesties, starting with this:

Students at the St. Cloud State University recently learned they will receive a tuition hike next year. Raising tuition is essentially a tax increase because you’re taking money out of the pockets of students, many who simply can’t afford it. Now, thanks to these misplaced priorities, the cost of tuition, room and board for 2015-16 in St. Cloud will be almost $17,000.

This tuition hike wasn’t caused by the GOP legislature. It’s been caused by 5 years of mismanagement by President Potter. He insisted that enrollment was fine while it was dropping by 20+ % in a 5 year period. He insisted that we needed to build an upscale apartment complex even though there wasn’t a demand for it. That project has cost SCSU $7.7 million in 5 years. He paid EMG $417,000 to rebrand SCSU. Potter spent another $50,000 to find out that the professors think he plays office politics and that he doesn’t mean what he says.

SCSU’s scholastic reputation has taken a significant hit. SCSU’s financial standing has taken a significant hit, too, because FY2015’s deficit was more than $9,500,000. That’s before the news that there’s a good chance SCSU’s deficit for FY2016 will be in the millions of dollars, too.

Rep. Thissen wants to blame the GOP legislature for the SCSU tuition increase when President Potter is the one to blame. Rep. Thissen’s never let important things like facts get in the way of a dishonest diatribe, though.

Making college affordable should be a higher priority for our Legislature, as it was over the past two years. In 2013, Gov. Dayton and our DFL-led Legislature froze tuition for all Minnesota students for two years, despite a $627 million deficit.

It’s disgusting that Rep. Thissen thinks that the tuition problem is caused by the legislature not spending enough. Why hasn’t Rep. Thissen looked at the possibility that DFL legislators have let the MnSCU Central Office and university presidents spend like drunken sailors?

Chancellor Rosenstone paid McKinsey & Co. $2,000,000 for a couple months of work that college professors could’ve done. Why isn’t Rep. Thissen complaining about wasting money on Charting the Future? Is it because he doesn’t care about how much gets spent as long as he gets to play Santa Claus with the taxpayers’ money?

If Rep. Thissen’s attitude is that he isn’t interested in spending money wisely, then he’s part of the problem. He definitely isn’t part of the solution.

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I wish I could say that I’m surprised that Gov. Dayton defended his unfair pay raises for a set of incompetent commissioners but that’s what he did:

Gov. Mark Dayton followed through on his promise Wednesday, giving two dozen cabinet members and other commissioners salary increases. It’s essentially the same set of pay hikes Dayton granted in January before lawmakers voted to rescind the raises in the midst of a political uproar over them. The same legislation granted the DFL governor a one day window to reauthorize the pay, on July 1. And he used that power, citing the need to attract and retain high quality administrators for multi-billion-dollar state agencies.

“I do believe in government. I believe the issue isn’t smaller or larger government, it’s better or worse government,” Dayton told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “And my goal is to make government better.”

As I wrote yesterday, some commissioners are utterly incompetent. Yesterday, Gov. Dayton complained about getting criticized for his foolish decision. Here’s what he said:

GOV. DAYTON: It’s very, very frustrating to me that their bottom line goal seems to be to discredit government as much as possible, discredit me, build up some political talking points so they can get re-elected next time.

Giving incompetents like Myron Frans a $35,000 annual pay raise isn’t justified. When he was commissioner of the Department of Revenue, he projected revenue from electronic pull tabs to be $35,000,000/yr. That was the projection. The reality was $1,700,000/yr. That’s a shortfall of 95%.

When governors give $35,000 pay raises to a commissioner that was off by 95% with an important forecast, it isn’t difficult to discredit that governor. In fact, I’d argue that it’s impossible to make that governor look anything but incompetent.

Gov. Dayton whines about Republicans wanting to discredit him. The best way to prevent that is to stop doing stupid things. Unfortunately, there’s little chance that Gov. Dayton will stop making foolish decisions before he leaves office.

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The MPCA’s Special Interests’ Citizens Board held its final meeting Tuesday. It was a bittersweet day, depending on your political persuasion. For environmental activists, it was a bitter ending. For people that believe in holding government accountable, it was a beautiful sight. First, let’s listen to the special interests’ whining:

“Dissolving the Citizens’ Board is bad for rural and metro Minnesota,” said Kathy DeBuhr at a protest before the board’s final meeting Tuesday morning. “This legislature has taken away the voice of the common person. The little guy.”

DeBuhr was among those who protested a proposed 9,000-cow “mega-dairy feedlot” in western Minnesota in 2014. In a controversial move, the Citizens’ Board ordered the dairy operation to seek an expensive and time-consuming environmental impact statement even though MPCA staff had not ordered one. The dairy ultimately decided not to go forward with the project.

Ms. DeBuhr’s whining is annoying at best. This wasn’t a panel of ordinary citizens. It was an activist board. The fact that they ran off a major dairy operation after the operation had gotten its permits from the MPCA speaks to their activism.

Further, what type of citizens panel reserves a spot for a union member? The Board had a member of Duluth’s Transit Authority and an “agriculture representative”, too. I still haven’t heard anyone explain why there’s a need for a citizens panel. Isn’t the MPCA doing its job properly? If it isn’t, shouldn’t the MPCA be overhauled or outright abolished?

The Citizens’ Board was established to guard against undue political influence of the agency and to create a public and transparent decision making process on controversial issues. Supporters of the board say its abolishment will remove the final public process for environmental review and permitting actions for industry and factory farms.

The notion that the Citizens Board was impartial is absurd. It wasn’t. It was filled with activists. As for the statement that this removes “the final public process for environmental review and permitting,” that’s a bit melodramatic. Why is it necessary for limitless environmental reviews?

If anyone needed confirmation that the Iron Range thinks that they’re being treated like second class citizens by Metrocrats like John Marty, this week’s Onions ‘N Orchids might provide some of that proof:

Orchids: To the DFL Iron Range Delegation. You all did an exceptionally good job representing corporate mining and corporate agricultural interests during the recently ended legislative session. You pulled the rug out from beneath the feet of Democratic Gov. Dayton. Being Democrats in name only, it would be appropriate now for you folks, led by Sen. Bakk, to either retire or switch to the Republican Party. That would at least give us voters a choice in the 2016 elections. Let’s get some Democrats back in office from the Iron Range.

Orchids: To Tom Bakk for standing up to and beating John Marty and the green metro liberals; so-called allies and friends of the Iron Range, but they are nothing but a bunch of back stabbers. Jerry Janezich sold his Iron Range heritage and bent his knees to the Green Liberals, even traveled to Seattle, Wash. to march and protest against industry with them. Where did it get him? Nowhere!

I get it that that first ‘orchid’ is sarcastic. Calling Bakk a “Democrat in name only” is proof that the Metro DFL has lost its mind. Apparently with them, it’s their way 100% of the time or they’ll excommunicate the heretics from the DFL.

Let’s get something straight. John Marty is upset because the MPCA’s Citizens Board soon won’t exist. That’s a great thing. Lots of businesses have followed the law and gotten their MPCA permits, only to have the Citizens Board reject the approved permit. Contrary to Sen. Marty’s contention that they were just a bunch of citizens reviewing the MPCA’s work, they were environmental saboteurs.

They’re most famous for sabotaging 2 major dairy farm projects. Thanks to the anything-but-Citizens-Board, those farms are now located outside of Minnesota. Though these were the highest profile cases of environmental sabotage, they weren’t the only cases.

The question now confronting suburban voters is whether they’ll support DFL politicians that support the DFL’s radical environmental agenda. Do they really think that’s in their best interest?

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Rep. Jennifer Schultz’s op-ed is yet another op-ed that discounts Gov. Dayton’s disastrous decisions:

On Friday, the Minnesota Legislature held a special session that concluded a disappointing year. Like most Minnesotans, I was not pleased the Legislature was unable to conclude its business on time or with the content of the resulting compromise bills.

Let’s modify Rep. Schultz’s statement to fit with reality. Here’s what it would say if it was accurate:

On Friday, the Minnesota Legislature held a special session that concluded a disappointing year. Like most Minnesotans, I was not pleased that Gov. Dayton wasted the last week of the regular session negotiating 2 budget bills. When Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk booted Gov. Dayton from the room that Friday afternoon, they negotiated and finalized the other 4 budget bills in less than 2 hours. That says everything about who’s to blame for the special session.

Let’s be blunt. There were rumors swirling around the Capitol the last 2 weeks of the session that the DFL thought that they could win the government shutdown if it happened. Gov. Dayton spent an entire week fighting for bills that went nowhere. When Gov. Dayton left the room, Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk finished the budget in what was left of that Friday afternoon.

Most disappointing was the ongoing failure to address the issue of transportation infrastructure. In greater Minnesota, we are used to living at the end of a very long road to anywhere, but we would like that road to be safe and efficient for our businesses and people. A bipartisan commission worked hard to develop a plan to solve the problems that a decade of neglect of transportation infrastructure left us and to create the new infrastructure we need to prosper in the 21st century. This is critical for the economic growth of the state and especially of our area but has been derailed by shortsighted demands for a free lunch and refusals to create the revenue streams needed.

The DFL’s insistence that another tax increase was required stopped transportation dead in its tracks. The Republicans’ plan showed that a tax increase wasn’t required. There isn’t a compromise position on this issue. There will either be a tax increase or there won’t. When a tax increase isn’t needed, taxes shouldn’t be increased.

Further, Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk, Sen. Dibble and Move MN pushed a plan that didn’t prioritize fixing Minnesota’s potholed roads. I won’t shed a tear that the DFL coalition’s plan didn’t pass. Gov. Dayton and the DFL should’ve listened to the people, not the lobbyists.

If Rep. Schultz wants to blame someone for this session, she should blame Gov. Dayton.

In a session that saw tons of weird things happen, finding out that Sen. John Marty and other Twin Cities DFL senators tried ousting Sen. Bakk as majority leader ranks right up there:

ST. PAUL — How successful of a job did Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk of Cook do for the Iron Range while also being a key player in making split government in Minnesota work? Well, some disgruntled DFL liberal legislators from the Twin Cities area tried to unseat him in caucus as leader of the majority party in the Senate.

Their attempted DFL coup in the early morning hours of the Saturday finale of the 2015 legislative special session fizzled like a bad fuse on an unexploded firecracker. Bakk’s support within the caucus was unwavering.

The Senate majority leader told the Mesabi Daily News Saturday afternoon that while he preferred not to comment directly about the caucus dust-up, he was pleased with the intra-Senate DFL backing he received and also his role in a session that relied for success on bipartisan partnerships with the GOP House majority.

By now, saying that the DFL is fractured isn’t news. That’s been established for at least a month. In fact, we’ve known that the split is essentially a geographic split.

It isn’t hyperbole to say that the Metro DFL, in their minds, have put up with Range DFLers on environmental views because they needed the Range delegation’s votes on their economic policies. This feud was obvious during the DFL’s 2014 State Convention. That’s when the Twin Cities activists, led by DFL State Chairman Ken Martin, fought off a resolution saying that the DFL supports mining. When that was deemed too controversial, it was clear that a fight was brewing.

It looks like the special session was when the fuse reached the explosive.

This should make for an interesting session in 2016. Sen. Bakk doesn’t strike me as someone who forgets these things quickly.

UPDATE: Briana Bierschbach’s post says that the DFL caucus discussion about whether Sen. Bakk should continue happened after the special session had adjourned:

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota House and Senate had adjourned their one-day special session to finish passing the state budget and most lawmakers had gone home, but at 3 a.m. Saturday Senate Democrats were just getting started.

I was originally told that it happened after the Agriculture/Environment Bill had been defeated. This explanation makes more sense. Consider this my correction to my original post.

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