No Child No More In Minnesota
(AP) Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius went to Washington for President Barack Obama's announcement that 10 states including Minnesota are being freed of the strict and sweeping requirements of the No Child Left Behind education law. In exchange for the waivers, the 10 states have come up with alternative plans for improving the way schools teach and evaluate students. Gov. Mark Dayton says in a statement that the waiver will allow Minnesota administrators, teachers and parents to work together in building a new system of school accountability, which will lead to better education for the state's children. In the same statement, Cassellius says this waiver will help Minnesota address its achievement gap, which is one of the widest in the country, and create an educational system that better serves every student.
Budget Bill Republican Side
(AP) Gov. Scott Walker says no emergency budget repair bill will be needed to deal with a projected $143 million shortfall. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released the new estimate Thursday.
As recently as October the state was projected to have a $73 million surplus. Walker didn't detail what he would do to deal with the projected shortfall next year, other than promising not to raise taxes. The Fiscal Bureau says the Walker administration is looking at debt refinancing and restructuring to deal with the shortfall. Republican legislative leaders issued a joint statement saying Wisconsin is not immune to the bad economy and defended their past actions and promises not to raise taxes.
Vikings Stadium Update
(AP) The Duluth Vikings? That's the vision of a Duluth state senator who says his city would be ideal for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium. Actually, Sen. Roger Reinert says the proposal he gave Gov. Mark Dayton Thursday would keep the Minnesota Vikings name. The Democrat's proposal is a long shot at the Capitol, where the stadium effort is focused on rebuilding downtown Minneapolis. Reinert says a 500-acre site southwest of the city's downtown and along the St. Louis River is perfect. He points out that the Green Bay Packers are about as far from the much larger Milwaukee media market as Duluth is from the Twin Cities. Reinert says a Duluth stadium could be partly funded by new tax revenue from lifting Minnesota's Sunday restriction on liquor sales.
Budget Bill Democratic Side
(AP) The Democratic leader of the Wisconsin state Assembly says a new projection showing Wisconsin faces a $143 million budget shortfall illustrates irresponsible action by Gov. Scot Walker.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca issued the statement Thursday in reaction to the new estimates from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Barca says Walker's policies have left Wisconsin fiscally unsound and caused the state to fall behind on the road to economic recovery. Barca says Walker's economic plan isn't working. Walker views the new figures differently, saying he believes the state is headed in the right direction after Republicans made tough budget choices last year to balance a $3.6 billion shortfall. Barca is considering running against Walker in a recall election.
Approval of New City Garbage Rules Likely Delayed
New regulations on garbage in La Crosse were meant to help pick-up neighborhoods a little. But opposition by neighborhood groups and landlords have put adoption of those rules apparently on hold. The city council is poised to delay approval of the new garbage and recycling rules for a month. A special neighborhood revitalization committee will weigh in on possible changes. Among the more contentious rules, one that would mandate a dumpster for any rental that had eight or more bedrooms.