Today’s UpTake: Dayton State of the State; Newman Ethics Hearings

Governor Mark Dayton speaks during 2011 Blue State Ball

Governor Mark Dayton will deliver his first State of the State address today at noon, and The UpTake will air it live from the State Capitol. We’ll also bring you video of demonstrations from the rotunda before Dayton’s speech, and the GOP response afterward. The political activity won’t slow down all afternoon. Following the Dayton show, Doctor Mark Cooper, an expert in nuclear power economics from the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, will testify in front of the House Commerce Committee in opposition to the GOP-led effort to repeal Minnesota’s moratorium on new nuclear power plants. And at 3 p.m., we’ll bring you live footage from the Sen. Scott Newman ethics hearings. Republicans in the Senate appear to have attempted to bury those hearings — amidst Dayton’s State of the State, and in a room without a live feed — but rest assured, The UpTake will be there to bring transparency to local government.

We were busy yesterday, with our cameras ablaze throughout the Capitol and State Office Building. In the morning, DFL Representatives maintained that gender-based wage disparities still exist, and blasted GOP claims to the contrary. Just after noon, the Minnesota Nurses Association and TakeAction Minnesota staged a demonstration where they asked “where does $3 billion in HMO payments go?” And a few DFL faces found their way to the press area in the afternoon. This weekend’s GOP mailings to voters in the Iron Range, that attacked 5B hopeful Carly Melin with pictures of a hunter siting his target, drew the wrath of new DFL state chair Ken Martin, who bashed this type of propaganda in the wake of the Tucson shootings. And DFL Senator Kathy Sheran and Rep. Terry Morrow expressed anger at the news that Tim Pawlenty’s former Commissioner Cal Ludeman had secretly edited reports he submitted to the legislature. Meanwhile yesterday, Governor Dayton appointed new Human Rights and Department of Administration commissioners. And our roving activist reporter Bill Sorem captured a rally staged by the retail cleaning workers with Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (Center for United Workers in the Struggle) and their allies who demanded that their employers, Lunds & Byerly’s, express safety concerns.

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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