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Session 2004

Session 2004

Midday broadcasts live from the Capitol rotunda on one of the last regular days of business for the state legislators. By law the state Legislature must adjourn by Monday. Key legislators stop by the MPR broadcast table. Wayne Simoneau, former longtime DFL legislator and former state commissioner in both the Carlson and Ventura administrations, offers analysis. ( 05/14/2004)
The push to generate new state gambling revenues appears over for the year after a Senate committee Thursday night rejected or passed over the major casino initiatives. The Senate Taxes committee, however, did approve a plan calling for the governor to discuss an off-reservation casino with any of the state's 11 Indian communities that express an interest. But with only days left in the legislative session, that proposal seems certain to stall. And some tribal representatives are already suggesting it may be unworkable and unwelcome. (05/14/2004)
University of Minnesota undergraduates will likely pay 14 percent more for tuition next fall. University President Robert Bruininks proposed the increase and other budget measures to the Board of Regents Friday. Bruininks also announced a new scholarship program. Officials are calling it the largest effort in university history to raise scholarship support for students. (05/14/2004)
Four days before the end of the legislative session, Gov. Pawlenty has used his executive authority to erase nearly $100 million of the state's budget deficit. Legislative leaders have been at a standstill over how to close a projected $160 million. Pawlenty and Republican leaders have a plan for taking care of the rest, but DFL leaders are demanding public hearings on the budget. If they can't agree on a solution, many organizations that rely on state funding are worried. (05/13/2004)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he's taking the next step on the issue of drug reimportation. A plan Pawlenty announced Thursday would allow Minnesota's 120,000 state employees to get certain drugs at no cost to them -- if they buy from a Canadian Internet pharmacy. Minnesota is the first state in the nation to take such action. But critics say the action is illegal and will have a short shelf life. (05/13/2004)
A recent Minnesota study shows teens are becoming more susceptible to smoking. Anti-smoking groups say the findings reaffirm that lawmakers made a mistake in gutting a tobacco endowment to balance last year's budget. (05/13/2004)
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty joins host Gary Eichten in the MPR studios to discuss the end of the legislative session, as well as other state and national news issues. He also takes questions from MPR listeners. ( 05/12/2004)
Las Vegas-based Caesar's Entertainment has finally shown its Minnesota hand. After months of quiet lobbying, the company Tuesday made a public pitch to lawmakers for a new, private casino. Caesar's officials have their eyes on a site next to the Mall of America in Bloomington -- but legislators from that area are bristling at the idea of a major gambling venue in their backyard. The package is one of several gambling options that are making the rounds at the Capitol in the final week of the regular session. (05/12/2004)
Gov. Pawlenty flew around the state Tuesday to pressure lawmakers to finish their work. With less than a week left in the session, all of the major issues are still unresolved. House and Senate leaders continue to wrangle over how to bring an orderly end to the session, and time is running out. (05/11/2004)
House and Senate negotiators will try to reach a compromise this week on one of the session's biggest education controversies -- social studies standards for Minnesota public schools. Conference committee members met for the first time Monday to begin hammering out the broader education policy bill that will include the standards. Their challenge is finding common ground between two dramatically different approaches to teaching civics, economics, geography and history. (05/11/2004)
Happenings during the 2004 legislative session. In this edition: Supporters of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Minnesota pressure Dean Johnson, a conference committee begins work on education standards, and the annual wine sales bill falls. (05/10/2004)
This is the final week of the 2004 legislative session, but there's no clear end in sight. Minnesota lawmakers are constitutionally mandated to adjourn on May 17th, but they're having trouble reaching an agreement on a number of issues. That has lawmakers talking about what happens if they don't finish in time. <I>Morning Edition</I> host Cathy Wurzer talked with Laura McCallum, Minnesota Public Radio's Capitol Bureau Chief. (05/10/2004)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposal to fund new stadiums for the Minnesota Twins and Vikings may have suffered a fatal blow on Friday when the $1 billion stadium construction bill was held back in the House Ways and Means committee after members deadlocked over whether to approve it. The setback came moments after a major funding change was added to the bill. The change, the vote, and the approaching legislative deadline make the bill's fate highly uncertain. (05/07/2004)
Minnesota lawmakers are running out of time to reach agreement on some big issues. The legislature is constitutionally mandated to adjourn in just over a week, but so far there is no plan for fixing a $160 million budget shortfall, and no bonding bill to borrow money for building projects around the state. Both the House and Senate are still considering stadium legislation, too. Legislative leaders are looking at backup plans in case they are not done in time. <I>Morning Edition</I> host Cathy Wurzer spoke with Republican Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum, and DFL Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson. (05/07/2004)
It's now up to House and Senate negotiators to try to come up with a plan for teaching social studies in Minnesota public schools. The DFL-controlled Senate approved its set of social studies standards Thursday night as part of a larger education policy bill. The vote was 34-31. Supporters say the Senate's learning requirements are less prescriptive than the plan approved by the Republican House. (05/07/2004)

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