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Session 2004

Session 2004

The chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees will be in the MPR studios to talk about legislative action on standards and testing, and about the upcoming appointment of a new education commissioner. ( 05/20/2004)
The price of a college education in Minnesota is going up again this fall. The University of Minnesota and the state's two- and four-year colleges are raising tuition by double digits. Despite consecutive years of big tuition hikes at the U and MnSCU, enrollments have grown to record levels at these institutions. Higher education officials say while most students are coming up with the extra cash for college, the trend toward higher tuition is not sustainable in the long run. (05/20/2004)
When the Minnesota Legislature adjourned earlier this week, it went home without a budget fix, a bonding bill, or a stadium deal. The Twins, the Vikings, and the University of Minnesota were all hoping that lawmakers would agree on a plan to get a stadium built for each team. <I>Morning Edition</I> host Cathy Wurzer talked with Aron Kahn, who covers the business of sports for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and followed the stadium issue at the Legislature all session. (05/19/2004)
The search is on for a new state education commissioner to replace Cheri Pierson Yecke. The DFL-controlled Minnesota Senate put Yecke out of work during the closing hours of the legislative session by voting down her confirmation. The Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, has promised he'll pick someone with the same strong views on school reform. That political shoving match is prompting some lawmakers to call for a change in the selection process. (05/18/2004)
A handful of bills eked through the Legislature Saturday night and Sunday morning, the most notable of which would enact new science and social studies standards for public schools and tighten drunken driving laws. But major legislation -- stadiums, closing the budget shortfall, gambling, same-sex marriage -- never made it to a final vote. What happens now? ( 05/18/2004)
Gov. Pawlenty says he will balance the state's budget deficit by using a mix of spending cuts and by taking money from a fund that pays for the state's subsidized health insurance program, MinnesotaCare. Seventy percent of Pawlenty's budget balancing plan will involve withholding payments to the Health Care Access Fund. The governor says the shift will not cause any problems for MinnesotaCare enrollees in the near term. But critics say they're worried the governor's action could lead to significant cuts to the program in the future. (05/18/2004)
The University of Minnesota plans to raise tuition and fees 14% by fall. The U's president talks about the challenge of keeping public education affordable. ( 05/18/2004)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty is taking unilateral action to erase a projected $160 million deficit. Lawmakers adjourned over the weekend without breaking an impasse over how to balance the budget. Pawlenty says that left him no choice but to cover the shortfall through executive action. But he says his options as governor are more limited than the choices that were open to legislators. The governor squarely blamed Senate DFLers for this year's gridlock, only to find the finger pointing back at him. (05/17/2004)
If you're a hunter, you got a new season for mourning doves. If you're a state trooper, you got a tougher drunken driving standard, starting in summer '05. If you're a student in kindergarten through high school, you got new science and social studies standards. If you're Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke, you got a pink slip. Otherwise, if you slept through the last four months, you didn't miss much. (05/17/2004)
One word sums up the 2004 legislative session: incomplete. Before this weekend, the closest thing to major legislation sent to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's desk was a bill to open a hunting season on mourning doves - something Pawlenty said he plans to sign despite pleadings from his two young daughters. (05/16/2004)
The state's ex-education chief says she's convinced she lost her job because of partisan politics, not her performance. Cheri Pierson Yecke spoke to reporters about her 15 months in office Sunday afternoon at her home in Blaine. Earlier in the day, the Minnesota Senate voted against her confirmation during a chaotic close to the 2004 Legislative session. (05/16/2004)
The Minnesota Legislature adjourned for the year Sunday morning, ending a contentious session. Lawmakers failed to pass a budget-balancing plan, a capital investment bill or tougher penalties for sex offenders. In the final moments of the session, they passed new social studies and science standards that were agreed to early Sunday morning. They also dumped the state's education commissioner. (05/16/2004)
Three days before the mandated end of the legislative session, all of the major issues remain unresolved. DFLers rejected the budget fix proposed Thursday by Gov. Pawlenty and Republican leaders. Barring a last-minute deal, the Legislature may adjourn Monday without passing a budget-balancing plan, a capital investment bill, new academic standards and a host of other issues. (05/14/2004)
With the prospects for a new publicly-subsidized stadium fading yet again, the financing puzzle for the Minnesota Twins remains unsolved. It's much the same position the San Francisco Giants found themselves in. But after voters rejected public financing four times in the 1980s and 1990s, the Giants financed their new park largely on their own. Since 2000, Barry Bonds and the rest of the Giants have played to a consistently packed house in one of baseball's premier parks. But that doesn't mean San Francisco's privately-financed stadium honeymoon will last forever. (05/14/2004)
Midday continues to broadcast live from the state Capitol. Host Gary Eichten and MPR's political editor Mike Mulcahy talk with key lawmakers at the MPR broadcast table. Also, analysis from MPR's Capitol Bureau Chief Laura McCallum, and former DFL legislator and former state commissioner Wayne Simoneau. ( 05/14/2004)

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