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Session 2004

Session 2004

Gov. Pawlenty has released a bonding package totaling $760 million. The size of the proposal surprised some House Republicans who favor a leaner package of public works projects, while some Senate DFLers called it skimpy. The bill would fund construction at colleges, universities and state buildings, as well as prison expansion, roads, rail and environmental projects. (01/14/2004)
Senate DFLers have made a critical change in their leadership team only weeks before the start of the 2004 legislative session. Just one year after assuming the mantle of majority leader, John Hottinger of St. Peter has been voted out of that position and replaced by Dean Johnson of Willmar. DFLers say the move reflects a new unified front as they face a Republican governor and a Republican-controlled House. Observers say the switch highlights the difficult position Democrats face. (01/13/2004)
Gov. Pawlenty Tuesday reversed years of opposition to a northwest metro commuter rail line linking Minneapolis to Big Lake. Pawlenty is now offering nearly $40 million in state funds to jumpstart the Northstar Commuter Rail line. The governor says a new cost-benefit analysis helped convince him that the project deserves support. But the change of heart has left many of Pawlenty's former legislative colleagues upset and disappointed. (01/13/2004)
Minnesotans have a strong appetite for major changes in the health care system that would both lower costs and lead to universal access to care. That's the conclusion of a state forum being led by former U.S. Sen. David Durenberger. The forum, appointed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and made up of 18 people representing businesses, unions, community groups and a variety of health care interests, released its findings Monday. ( 01/13/2004)
The state's corrections commissioner faced a barrage of questions over the state's program for dealing with sex offenders at a Senate hearing Monday. The program has come under scrutiny after a level 3 sex offender living in northeastern Minnesota was arrested in the case of a missing college student. Senate DFLers grilled Corrections Commissioner Joan Fabian about the process for seeking civil commitments of sex offenders, but they say they aren't satisfied with her answers. (01/13/2004)
Minnesotans have a strong appetite for major changes in the health care system that would both lower costs and lead to universal access to care. That's the conclusion of a state forum being led by former U.S. Sen. David Durenberger. (01/12/2004)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty released another round of bonding proposals Monday, including $147 million to fund environmental initiatives and $18 million to boost agricultural loan programs. Pawlenty is also proposing $25 million for the Minnesota Zoo, for maintenance, construction and debt relief. (01/12/2004)
Democratic lawmakers joined Attorney General Mike Hatch on Friday in pushing a trio of bills they said could trim health care costs. (01/09/2004)
Governor Pawlenty says Minnesota can eliminate chronic homelessness in seven years. His proposal calls for borrowing $20 million in the first year for affordable housing, and drawing millions more from government and the private sector. ( 01/09/2004)
More prison beds, longer sentences for sex offenders and closer monitoring of those who are released are key components of a proposal outlined Thursday by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. (01/08/2004)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty is offering a $20 million downpayment on what he says is an effort to eliminate chronic homelessness in Minnesota by 2010. Pawlenty says he'll ask lawmakers to borrow the funding during the upcoming legislative session, but critics of the administration say the governor's plan won't make up for spending cuts made last year as part of a multi-billion dollar deficit reduction plan. (01/07/2004)
The Twins, Vikings and Gophers presented their dreams of new fields to a governor's stadium committee on Tuesday, each making pitches soaked in the nostalgia and optimism of sport as they began a new year's hunt for public dollars. (01/07/2004)
Gov. Pawlenty's education agenda for the 2004 Legislative session keeps getting bigger. The Republican governor unveiled proposals Monday that would expand charter schools, restructure low performing school districts and encourage districts to share certain services. He also wants to lower Internet access cost for rural schools and recognize students for high test scores. (01/05/2004)
Gov. Pawlenty says the state's transportation system is in crisis, and is offering up toll lanes as one solution. The Pawlenty administration will soon seek bids from private entities to build toll lanes on congested corridors. Some legislators question whether the proposal will do much to solve the state's transportation problems. (12/30/2003)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty answers listener questions during his monthly appearance on Midday. Current issues include a look ahead to the legislative session, Pawlenty's call for a death penalty, and his recent trip to visit Minnesota National Guard soldiers in Bosnia. ( 12/30/2003)

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