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Session 2004

Session 2004

Minnesota lawmakers begin debate Tuesday on a bill that could lead to a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The constitution would state: "only the union of one man and one woman will be recognized as a marriage in Minnesota." ( 03/09/2004)
Minnesota lawmakers are considering several proposals to toughen penalties for the state's most severe sex offenders -- indeterminate sentencing, life without parole and even the death penalty in cases involving murder. But even if they make it harder for some offenders to get out of prison, the changes won't affect sex offenders scheduled for possible release under current sentencing laws. (03/09/2004)
Members of Minnesota's Gang Strike Force say they're not happy with Gov. Pawlenty's proposal to merge the gang unit with the Minnesota Drug Task Force. Pawlenty's supplemental budget proposal includes a $3 million initiative for an agency that will investigate both drug and gang activity. Pawlenty and other supporters say the merger would save money and consolidate crime fighting resources. But critics say they're concerned the agency will suffer. (03/05/2004)
Opponents of a law that allows almost any Minnesotan over the age of 21 to get a handgun permit say they've collected 28,000 signatures to urge lawmakers to repeal the law. The effort is being led by former Gov. Arne Carlson and former V.P. Walter Mondale. (03/04/2004)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Thursday he won't call for expanded casino gambling or use money from a state reserve account to balance the state budget. (03/04/2004)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty joins host Gary Eichten in the MPR studios to talk about the Metro Transit drivers strike, major issues before the state legislature, and current local and national events. ( 03/04/2004)
Rejecting a call to start fresh, the Republican-led House Education Committee endorsed proposed social studies and science standards Thursday for Minnesota public schools. (03/04/2004)
Two Republican lawmakers say the state should outlaw video slot machines statewide unless the state's Native American tribes agree to share a portion of their casino revenues. Indian tribes are reacting negatively, calling the plan a form of legislative blackmail. (03/03/2004)
The Minnesota State Board of Investment adopted a resolution Wednesday that would encourage the drug company, Pfizer, and other drug companies, to change their business practices. Minnesota's pension funds own about $476 million in Pfizer stock. Gov. Pawlenty, who sits on the investment board, proposed the resolution after the company cut off supplies to Canadian drug wholesalers that sell to Americans. (03/03/2004)
Minnesota education commissioner, Cheri Pierson Yecke, is in the MPR studios to discuss the latest on the social studies standards, school funding, and the federal No Child Left Behind law. ( 03/02/2004)
It's been 15 years since state officials signed gaming compacts with Minnesota's Indian tribes. Since then, the tribes have built 18 casinos, which generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue -- far more than anyone imagined they would. The state of Minnesota gets only a small sliver of that money. Minnesota's contract with the tribes is permanent -- no expiration, no renegotiation. Gov. Pawlenty has hinted it's time for a change. (03/01/2004)
As the Legislature prepares to overhaul Minnesota's child support guidelines for the first time in more than 20 years, parents across the state are watching closely. (03/01/2004)
State officials say Minnesota's budget outlook shows a slight improvement from last fall. The latest revenue forecast shows a projected $160 million deficit through June 2005. That's a smaller deficit than many lawmakers had predicted, but plugging the budget hole may still prove contentious. (02/27/2004)
A proposal to reinstate the death penalty in Minnesota got its first hearing at the Capitol on Thursday. The bill would allow voters to consider the issue in November. Gov. Pawlenty announced in December that he supports capital punishment for extreme cases of first degree murder. Critics say the death penalty doesn't deter crime and has caused problems in many other states. (02/26/2004)
A new report says the federal No Child Left Behind law will cost Minnesota and local school districts at least $39 million a year to implement. (02/26/2004)

Video from the Capitol

Audio Live House video
(Windows Media)
Audio Live Senate video
All times approximate and subject to change.

Audio Highlights

Audio How K-12 education fared in the session
Rep. Barb Sykora, chair of the House Education Policy Committee, and Sen. Steve Kelley, chair of the Senate Education Committee discuss education issues that were debated this session. (Midday - 5/20/04)
Audio The governor's point man
Gov. Pawlenty's chief of staff, Dan McElroy, discusses what's next in the wake of the legislative session ( Midday - 5/18/04)
Audio The effect of the U of M
University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks ( Midmorning - 5/18/04)
Audio Sviggum and Johnson square off
House Speaker Steve Sviggum and Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson exchange barbs as the session ends ( Midday - 5/14/04)
Audio The governor's view
Gov. Tim Pawlenty reacts to the end of the legislative session and the ousting of his education commissioner.
( 5/17/04)
Audio The gay marriage debate
Ann DeGroot, executive director of OutFront Minnesota; Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council. ( Midday - 3/9/04)
Audio Health care task force makes recommendations
Dave Durenberger, head of the Minnesota Citizens Forum on Health Care Costs ( Midday- 2/24/04)

State of the State (2/5/04)
Gov. Pawlenty's address to a joint session of the Legislature