Press Jumps On MN House Speaker For Budget Surplus Claim

  Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt says one of the reasons Minnesota’s predicted budget surplus has increased is higher economic confidence since Republicans won a majority in Minnesota’s House last November. The state revenue forecast released today showed Minnesota will have a $1.86 billion surplus, an $832 million dollar increase from the last forecast. State revenues go up mostly because of increased sales tax revenue and income tax revenue.“Part of this economic confidence is there is balance restored in state government,” Daudt told reporters.Pioneer Press reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger almost immediately pressed Daudt if he “could reiterate that theory… the theory that this forecast is good because Republicans now have the House and there is balance restored to the Capitol? Tell me more about that.”Daudt responded that Minnesota Democrats lost the House because the revenue forecast in November (also a surplus) showed that the policies Democrats put in place the last two years “didn’t help Minnesota’s families and didn’t help Minnesota’s economy.”Daudt said the increase in this latest forecast is mostly because gas prices are low “But I think Minnesota’s economy also understands that we don’t have a runaway government that when we didn’t need to raise any taxes put in place one of the largest increases in state history.”Governor Mark Dayton with Democratic majority in both the House and Senate raised the taxes on the top 2 percent of earners in Minnesota. Dayton was re-elected by a large majority.“I think that people have confidence in that balance has been restored in state government,” said Daudt.More reporter questions and video of the exchange Another reporter asks if Republicans are claiming credit for the portion of the surplus that happened after they took office. Continue Reading

Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Members of Occupy to Propose New Constitutional Amendment to Prevent Unlawful Search and Seizure

  It’s not often you get Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and members of Occupy to agree on something. Today  at 9:45 a.m. that happens as legislators hold a news conference to promote an amendment to Minnesota’s constitution to protect personal data from unreasonable search and seizure without a warrant.Supporters say the amendment is needed to clarify that personal data is covered by the fourth amendment. Bill author Sen. Branden Petersen (R) points to recent revelations that a loophole in federal law allows the government to search and seize any emails that are more than six months old without a warrant.The bill has been passed through the Civil Law Committee and will be taken up in Government Operations committee on Thursday. The bill still does not have a hearing scheduled in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Petersen says Sen. Ron Latz (DFL) still needs to be convinced the bill should be heard. Replay of the video is above. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Update: The Uptake’s marriage equality film

As of this posting, The Uptake is short by more than $7,700 of its Kickstarter fundraiser deadline goal of $21,211 for its documentary project on the struggle for marriage equality in Minnesota; that deadline arrives on SEPT 6 at 11:59 p.m.  The Uptake, a non-profit, citizen-propelled video news service, says its program on how Minnesotans successfully fought for marriage equality will be crafted for a national TV audience.  The gubernatorial signing of Minnesota’s marriage equality legislation came just six months after the unexpected defeat of the discriminatory constitutional marriage definition amendment question on the November 2012 ballot.  “That’s our story,” says The Uptake’s Mike McIntee. The Uptake can select interviews, demonstrations, legislative debates and protests from hundreds of hours of streamed and taped video from its own coverage and the video vault of the Minnesota United for All Families, the lead organization in the fight for equality.If the funding pledge deadline goal is made, the The Uptake will be good to go.  But if the $21,211 Kickstarter pledge goal is not reached by 11:59 p.m. on September 6, the film will not be produced.  The project will need to pay for such production costs as sifting through and selecting video clips from three years of coverage, scripting, digitizing the chosen footage for computer editing, music use fees, audio mixing, graphics and some promotion. Referring to the documentary’s small budget, McIntee says, “There’s some money in here for promotion and distribution, but not a lot.  We’re hoping that once we get this made other like-minded organizations are going to help us out on that.  It will get seen nationally.  Free Speech TV is one outlet for that.  I’m hoping that others will be available as well.” During the evening ramp up to the first, legal, same-sex marriage ceremonies at Midnight on August 1st, I assisted McIntee and Uptake videographer Bill Sorem at the Wilde Roast Restaurant at St. Anthony-on-Main.  They were live-streaming interviews of couples, activists and political supporters of the marriage equality campaign that I was recruiting from the jovial and reflective celebrants.  The three of us later added to that footage at Minneapolis City Hall before, during and after Mayor R.T. Ryback legally married the first group of 46 same-sex couples.  You’ll see clips of the evening in my accompanying video. McIntee explained that if the target amount is not raised by the September 6 deadline, pledged gifts will not be processed – prospective donors will keep their money. If the deadline goal of $21,211 is reached or surpassed, donations will be tax deductible.Here is the link to the film project’s information and pledge page at Kickstarter. 9/3/2013: It’s Kickstarter, not Quickstarter. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | The Uptake’s film on marriage equality – Minnesota Style

Our friends at The Uptake have gathered hundreds of hours of streaming and taped video of the campaign for marriage equality in Minnesota.  Michael McIntee and his colleagues at the citizen-driven, Internet video news service are hoping to make a documentary for national distribution on how marriage equality prevailed in Minnesota.  Their project needs to raise $21,211 through the Quickstarter fund raising mechanism by 11:59 p.m., September 6.  Mike McIntee has told me that if that amount is not raised by the September deadline that the film will not be made.  I think it is a story that has national import and should be told.Three weeks ago, The Uptake’s Bill Sorem asked me to help he and McIntee record Minnesota’s first, legal, same sex weddings at Minneapolis City Hall at midnight on August 1st.   I also assisted them at a pre-ceremonies celebration at a packed and celebratory Wilde Roast Restaurant.  McIntee and Sorem were live-streaming interviews of couples, activists and political supporters of the marriage equality campaign that I was recruiting from the celebrants.  It was the best time I’ve had in a tavern since my grad school days in Athens, Ohio.The perceptive comments and the informal and emotional pageantry, vows and hugs of the evening that we capture, however, is only a portion of an archive of several years of unwavering Uptake coverage of the marriage equality movement.The defeat of the State Constitution amendment referendum question on the November 2012 ballot and the legalization of same-sex marriage just six months later are well documented.  But only The Uptake has a large enough video archive for a major documentary. If the full amount is not raised by the September 6 deadline, your donation will not be processed.  You keep your money.  If the deadline goal of $31,211 is reached or surpassed, your gift will help complete the film and is tax deductible. I agree with McIntee and Sorem, this Minnesota story needs to be told.  Click here to view the video promo that I have produced for the project using some of the footage that will show up in the documentary. Continue Reading