Today’s UpTake: Dayton, GOP and DFL, Live from State Capitol

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This morning we’ll bring you a series of news conferences live from the Minnesota State Capitol. First at 9:15 a.m., Governor Mark Dayton and Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius will lay out their vision for education reform in Minnesota. Then we’ll hear form the leadership of both chambers of the legislature, before the House and Senate depart for the weekend.

After the Senate wrapped up yesterday afternoon, we saw a news conference that featured two very different political parties: the Senate Republicans, behind Amy Koch and Geoff Michel, were triumphant after passing a measure to reduce the state budget by nearly $1 billion following a move to cut off debate. Contrast that with an annoyed Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, who all but called the Republican freshmen amateurs who “didn’t even know what they were voting on.”

During legislative hearings earlier in the day, we learned that when it comes to taxes and spending, Minnesota is no longer above average nationally. In other words, goodbye Lake Wobegone. As discussions began over whether to push for mandatory voter identification, the American Civil Liberties Union lashed out at the proposal. Earlier in the week we saw a GOP House committee vote to overturn Minnesota’s coal ban. This on the heels of the newly emboldened Republicans’ efforts to torch the state’s ban on smoking in restaurants. Finally, the Republican establishment is also going after the DFL’s new House candidate from the Iron Range, Carly Melin, who GOP state chair Tony Sutton claims hasn’t lived in Hibbing long enough to run.

We also aired a few White House videos yesterday: President Obama speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington (Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly was there too); a White House report featuring economic whiz Austan Goolsbee on the Startup America program; and Obama’s appearance in Pennsylvania where he touted clean energy initiatives.

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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