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Session 2003

Session 2003: Business



ISSUE UPDATE
Looking for a little more wiggle room than is offered in Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget plan, the House banks on getting $100 million by having the state run a casino at the Canterbury Park horse race track in Shakopee. The Senate doesn't include the plan, and Pawlenty has been ambiguous about whether he'd support it, but if it doesn't become law, the House would have to come up with additional cuts. Another plan would permit two American Indian tribes that have benefited little from the casinos built on their northwest Minnesota reservations to build one in a Twin Cities suburb and share profits with the state.

Minnesota's governor, auditor, and other prominent Republicans are being tied to a Minneapolis-based telephone company accused of cheating consumers in seven states. MPR's Perry Finelli talked with DFLer Steve Kelley, who serves on the Senate Commerce and Utilities Committee. He expects the Legislature will investigate the charges. (07/14/2003)
The Minnesota Senate has approved a plan that extends nuclear waste storage at Xcel Energy's Prairie Island plant. The proposal is meant to keep the facility operating through 2014, but has run into objections from environmental advocates. Critics say it lacks a strong commitment to renewable energy alternatives and provides no explicit role for lawmakers in future nuclear waste storage debates. (05/23/2003)
The Minnesota Legislature's regular session came to a close with a filibuster that blocked final action on expanding nuclear waste storage at Xcel Energy's Prairie Island plant. The power company is seeking to increase waste storage in order to keep the plant operating through the end of its current federal license in 2014. But a handful of Senate Democrats managed to stall action on a measure that they criticized as environmentally unsound. (05/20/2003)
The Minnesota House is expected to take up a bill passed by the Senate that could extend bar closing to 2a.m. Why has a measure that has failed in the past seem to have legs today and what happens next? ( 05/08/2003)
Cities could allow their bars to stay open until 2 a.m., under a bill passed by the Minnesota Senate on Tuesday. The vote is a significant victory for supporters of extending bar hours, which has been debated at the Capitol for years. They say this could be the year a later bar closing is signed into law. (05/06/2003)
The Minnesota House has passed a bill that would allow Canterbury Park horse track in Shakopee to add 2,000 slot machines to the facility. The House voted 71-to-60 in favor of the bill. Lawmakers made one significant change to the bill. The "Racino" would not be built if Native American tribes agree to give a portion of gross gambling receipts to the state and agree not to expand gambling. Opponents say the bill will create more social problems and take casino jobs away from rural Minnesota. (04/25/2003)
Minnesota's premier research institutions formalized an alliance Thursday in what Gov. Tim Pawlenty termed a "historic" step toward making the state a world leader in cutting-edge science fields. Pawlenty and leaders of Rochester's Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota announced a plan to have the state devote more than $100 million over the next few years to get the partnership up and running. (04/17/2003)
In selling his no-tax-increase budget plan, Gov. Tim Pawlenty often points out that Minnesota's tax burden is higher than other states in the region. But despite the higher taxes, Minnesota also has been more prosperous than those states. Some experts say Minnesota's use of tax dollars has strengthened the state's economy. Others question whether that's still the case. (03/31/2003)
A proposal for a state-run casino in the Twin Cities has divided Native American communities. The package is supported by the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, who stand to share in millions of dollars of gambling revenues. But the state's other nine tribes say a new casino will eat into revenues they currently generate with their own gaming operations. The bill also faces opposition from lawmakers who say the state has no business in the gambling industry. (03/25/2003)
Officials in Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration say there's no substance to reports that a Florida insurance company received favorable treatment in return for campaign contributions. The company -- American Bankers Insurance -- also denies any wrongdoing connected to its political donations. But Democratic leaders in the Senate say they'll press for an investigation into the matter. (03/05/2003)
A bill that would would create up to 10 tax-free zones outside the Twin Cities was approved Wednesday by a Minnesota House committee. Supporters say the bill would attract businesses and boost job growth, and Gov. Pawlenty considers the proposal one of his top priorities. Critics say the bill is a form of corporate welfare. (03/05/2003)
Gov. Pawlenty on Friday asked for and accepted the resignation of Labor and Industry Commissioner Jane Volz. Volz revealed that she failed to pay for workers' compensation insurance for her employees at the law firm she founded in 1997. State law requires employers have the coverage. The labor and industry commissioner oversees worker health and safety laws. Pawlenty says he made the decision after it became clear to him that the Senate would not confirm her. (02/28/2003)
Saying the state must act boldly or miss out on the next technological revolution, Gov. Tim Pawlenty promised an aggressive push Thursday to spur new research and business development in biotechnology. (02/27/2003)
An attempt to tighten restrictions on telemarketers is drawing intense criticism from Minnesota's business interests. Last year, lawmakers created a "Do Not Call" list, meant to block unwanted telephone solicitations. Although the list went into effect last month, some legislators think too many calls will slip through. But opponents of tougher limits say it will cost the economy in jobs and growth. (02/10/2003)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty told a group of downtown Minneapolis business and government leaders the state is hemorraging jobs to surrounding states. He says Minnesota needs to focus on developing more manufacturing and light industrial jobs. Pawlenty said that Minnesota is split between knowledge-sector jobs and service jobs. He says the state needs to do more to encourage growth of jobs in between. (01/28/2003)

Audio Highlights

Gov. Pawlenty inaugural address
Pawlenty unveils budget cuts Proposes a mix of cuts to close short-term deficit (1/14/03)