COLORADO: Denver Mayor-elect Hancock names co-chairs for transition committee
Anthony Cotton for the Denver Post
Mayor-elect Michael Hancock on Saturday announced the co-chairs for Denver Forward, his transition committee, a team that includes three sets of honorary co-chairs — current Mayor Guillermo "Bill" Vidal and his wife, Gabriela; former Mayor and current Gov. John Hickenlooper and his wife, Helen Thorpe; and former Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, Wilma.
Ten general co-chairs were also announced, a mix of political, civic and business leaders: Dawn P. Bookhardt, Cole Finegan, Pat Hamill, Anna Jo "Happy" Haynes, Walter Isenberg, Cary Kennedy, Barbara O'Brien, Theresa Peña, Daniel L. Ritchie and Ruben Valdez.
"Michael has stressed community involvement and inclusion as we make recommendations for his administration,"
FLORIDA: At Democratic gathering, Rick Scott gets most of the attention
Adam Smith for the St. Petersburg Times
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Forget Barack Obama. The fellow really firing up Florida Democrats is Rick Scott.
On Saturday, Democratic activists who gathered in Broward County for their annual Jefferson-Jackson fundraising gala invoked the name of Florida's unpopular, hard-right governor at least as often as Obama.
"He's our number one supporter. What would we do without him?'' joked Ron Mills, president of the Dolphin Democrats club of South Florida. "You see the energy here? That's thanks to Rick Scott. We didn't have that in 2010."
Washington— The Federal Election Commission rejected two complaints from Michigan that alleged campaign finance law violations in the 2010 election cycle, according to commission findings made public Friday.
The FEC closed the cases filed last year by the Michigan Democratic Party and by Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski, who lost his bid for Congress, finding no reason to believe violations occurred.
The Michigan Democratic Party accused the GOP of violating election laws in 2010 by evading contribution limits.
Just off the main drag in Pine City one recent Sunday, the seeds were being sown for what promises to become a grueling, 17-month campaign over Minnesota's gay marriage amendment. Signing up volunteers at one of the country's only rural gay pride festivals, organizer Donald McFarland said he is heeding the advice of predecessors in other states.
"Everyone has said 'start today, start today, start today,'" said McFarland, a veteran Democratic political consultant now running Minnesotans United For All Families, a coalition of groups trying to defeat the amendment that would enshrine only heterosexual marriage in the state constitution.
Amendment supporters haven't moved as quickly or as publicly, but they plan to tap a statewide network that includes 1,600 churches and a mailing list of more than 300,000 social conservatives.
MINNESOTA: State shutdown would be a leap into unknown
Baird Helgeson for the Start Tribune
Minnesota's state parks: Closed.
The state lottery? Frozen.
Minnesota's most violent prisoners? Held back by a skeleton crew.
Taxes? Not so fast. Minnesotans would still be paying those.
In 19 days, Minnesotans could endure the most wide-reaching government shutdown in state history, with little sense of when it might end.
Across the vast enterprise of state government, agency heads are scrambling to come up with closure plans. State leaders have no real playbook for blinking off such an enormous government machine, so they must wade into an array of wrenching decisions and legal scuffles, knowing they risk turning Minnesota into a national spectacle of partisan gridlock.
NEVADA: Anger left in wake of film tax bill’s demise
Joe Schoenmann for the Las Vegas Sun
When Bruce Willis and a Hollywood crew shooting “Lay the Favorite,” a movie to be released next year, left Las Vegas a few days ago, it wasn’t because this isn’t a great place to shoot a film.
“They loved the talent we had, loved the people they worked with,” said Tony Gennarelli, business agent for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 720, which boasts 1,600 members. “But Louisiana has the tax incentives; we don’t.”
Louisiana offers a 30 percent tax incentive for movies whose budget includes spending of at least $300,000 in production in the state. Another 5 percent credit applies to the payroll of state residents hired for a production.
NEW MEXICO: Learning Curve: Education reform is focus of summit
Robert Nott for the New Mexican
About 150 parents, teachers, students, and civic leaders are expected to attend today's Mobilization for Education Excellence summit in the Jemez Rooms at the Santa Fe Community College on Richards Avenue.
The summit runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and is designed to develop strategies for a community plan for educational reform here. It is co-sponsored by New Mexico First and the United Way of Santa Fe County, which have already joined forces to release a preliminary report for summit participants.
That report, based on about 25 community meetings with some 300 people, did not offer too many surprises: more quality early-education programming will help; reading is the main building block for academic success; parental and teacher involvement are vital to the process, and so on. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out today and how the participants work to address these issues — something summit organizers will do on Tuesday in response to today's event.
OHIO: Ohio Senate tucks policy changes into massive state budget
Aaron Marshall for the Plain Dealer
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- State budgets are nothing more than vehicles for spending money. At least that's how they draw it up in government class.
In reality, the proposed spending plan for 2012-13 passed by the Ohio Senate on Wednesday does much more than direct about $112 billion worth of spending over the next two years. Policy changes galore are tucked into every nook and cranny in the sprawling 5,000-or-so-page document.
Anti-abortion activists will be pleased with a pair of provisions designed to help curb public funding of abortions. Union members will cheer another amendment that only slightly raises the prevailing wage project exemption threshold.
PENNSYLVANIA: Dahlkemper is weighing another run for old seat
Daniel Malloy for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
WASHINGTON -- Erie's Kathy Dahlkemper has been weighing a run for her old seat in Congress and said she will decide by early summer whether she will enter the race.
Washington Democrats have been courting Ms. Dahlkemper, who served one term before losing her seat to Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Butler, last fall, but she said personal and political concerns are keeping her undecided.
Ms. Dahlkemper, 53, said the mammoth time commitment of a Congressional run as well as the hard-to-gauge political climate in fall 2012 are the key considerations in making her decision.
WISCONSIN: GOP leaders agree on basics of budget bill
Jason Stein for the Journal Sentinel
Madison - Republicans' plan to balance the state's budget by slicing aid for schools and local governments is largely written and set to come before the Assembly Tuesday, but compelling questions about it remain.
Top GOP lawmakers and Gov. Scott Walker agree on the broad outlines of the bill to close a $3 billion deficit in the state's main account over the next two years by holding the line on spending and cutting some taxes for corporations and investors to spur economic growth.
The wild card remains Walker's legislation to eliminate most collective bargaining for most public employees, which was passed in March but struck down by a Dane County judge. Republicans expect the state Supreme Court to weigh in any day on the judge's decision. But if the high court doesn't restore the law, GOP lawmakers would likely be forced to pass the measure again as part of the budget.
MONTANA: Tea Party advocate makes run for control of Montana Republican Party
HELENA — A Tea Party advocate is making a run for chairman of the Montana Republican Party as the GOP faithful gather later this week in Butte to pick leadership in advance of the critical 2012 election cycle.
Republicans are gearing up to back undisputed GOP leader U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg in his challenge to U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, and Rehberg's speech on Saturday will highlight the event.
But first Republicans will have to sort out a challenge to the current Montana Republican Party chairman, Will Deschamps. Tea Party advocate Mark French of Paradise says the GOP has not done enough to protect individual liberties.
IDAHO: Prospects improve for deal for redistricting in Idaho
Staff for the Idaho Statesman
Democrats came to the Capitol last week acting like whistlepigs with hawks in the sky — wary, dodgy and fearing for their lives.
Allen Andersen, the former teachers union leader from Pocatello elected to co-chair the Redistricting Commission, said on the first day he figured the Republican strategy was my way or the highway. “You need to come over to our side, or we’re not going to settle,” was Andersen’s read.
After three days of map training, a compromise on a hearing schedule and some one-on-one chats with GOP Co-Chairman Evan Frasure, Andersen began to relax.
Mainstream Republicans of Washington have endorsed Attorney General Rob McKenna’s newly minted campaign for governor, in language so effusive you’d think they were adopting him.
“Rob McKenna truly represents the values of Washington State and is one of the most intelligent and genuine leaders I have ever met: We have never made so early an endorsement before but no one has deserved it more,” said former U.S. Rep. Sid Morrison, the group’s chair.
Mainstream Republicans hangs on to the heritage of the party back in days when it elected governors, captured U.S. Senate seats, and had a “bench” of political prospects.
AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage will be joined by Maine legislative leaders as he signs into law a bill that gets the distinction of being Legislative Document No. 1.
The governor on Monday will put his signature on a bill to streamline state regulations. The law will establish an environmental self-audit program, strengthen business assistance efforts, streamline permitting and trim the size of the Board of Environmental Protection from 10 to seven, among other things.
Some of the provisions in the legislation were introduced through a series of "red tape" workshops held throughout Maine earlier this year.
FLORIDA: Maddow: Allegations against Buchanan ‘a mess’ for him ‘and for the Republican Party’
Cooper Levey-Baker for the Florida Independent
Rachel Maddow devoted some of last night’s program to the Federal Election Commission lawsuit against a former business partner of Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, and a former dealership co-owned by the congressman. As our Virginia Chamleereported last week, a judge fined the dealership $67,900 for what the Election Commission called an “extensive and ongoing scheme” to funnel “secret, illegal contributions” to Buchanan’s 2006 and 2008 campaigns.
Maddow also examined similar accusations against Buchanan and related companies that had surfaced before the Election Commission lawsuit, as well as his role as finance vice chair for the National Republican Congressional Committee.