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Session 2004

Session 2004

The fate of a constitutional same-sex marriage ban could largely be decided Friday when a Minnesota Senate committee considers whether the issue should go on the November ballot. Supporters of the constitutional ban say they want to ensure that Minnesota's Defense of Marriage Act cannot be overturned in the courts. But opponents say they want gay couples to have the same civil rights and legal benefits afforded to heterosexual couples. The civil rights argument has caused concern among some African American religious leaders in Minnesota, especially when it's compared to the fight for racial equality. They argue that the civil rights struggle is completely different than the gay marriage issue. (03/26/2004)
A study at the University of Dayton in Ohio finds that Major League Baseball owners could finance stadiums themselves, and still make money in the long-run. The study looked at more than a dozen new baseball stadiums built since 1989, and found that a typical owner could have recovered the construction costs of his or her new stadium in an average of 12 years. <I>Morning Edition</I> host Cathy Wurzer spoke with Larry Hadley, economics professor at the University of Dayton and the study's author. (03/26/2004)
Earlier this week, thousands of supporters of a same-sex marriage ban swarmed the state Capitol to urge lawmakers to put the issue before voters. A similar number of opponents showed up Thursday to urge just the opposite. The House passed a measure Wednesday that would put a constitutional amendment question on the ballot in November, but it could be defeated in a Senate committee Friday. (03/25/2004)
The state House voted Wednesday on a proposal that would let voters decide if the Minnesota constitution should ban same-sex marriage. Hear excerpts of the debate. ( 03/25/2004)
Eight months before they stand for re-election, the Republicans who control the Minnesota House are working on their plan to resolve the latest state budget shortfall. Gov. Pawlenty has already released his plan to fill in the $160 million gap. It includes cuts to nursing homes, hospitals and pharmacies. The Republicans say they have a proposal to avoid those cuts, but some DFLers at the Capitol say the plan still unfairly hits welfare recipients. (03/24/2004)
The Minnesota House has voted in favor of letting voters decide whether the Minnesota Constitution should be changed to ban same sex marriage. After a relatively short but somewhat emotional debate, the House voted 88-42 in favor of the proposed constitutional amendment. Supporters say the measure is needed to ensure that marriage remains between one man and one woman. Opponents, however, say the proposal is divisive and is divert attention from the state's real problems. (03/24/2004)
A plan to reintroduce the death penalty in Minnesota was derailed on Wednesday when a Senate committee overwhelmingly voted to reject the proposal. The bill was modeled on an capital punishment proposal outlined by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The governor broached the subject last fall, in response to reports that a convicted Minnesota sex offender was suspected in the apparent abduction of college student Dru Sjodin. But now, Pawlenty says the proposal appears defeated for the year. (03/24/2004)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty's stadium proposal has begun its journey through an uncertain legislative process, clearing its first committee hearing late Tuesday night. The House Local Government and Metropolitan Affairs Committee voted to advance the package to its next stop, but declined to give its full endorsement. And pointed questions by committee members indicate the plan will face many obstacles along its path. (03/24/2004)
On the eve of key legislative votes on a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, lobbying on both sides of the issue has intensified. The House is scheduled to vote on the measure Wednesday, and the bill will get a Senate hearing on Friday. Supporters of the measure have focused most of their efforts on the Senate, where the prospects for passage are uncertain. (03/23/2004)
Gov. Pawlenty's proposal to build two new stadiums for the Twins and the Vikings will have its first legislative hearing before a House committee on Tuesday afternoon. The teams, their lobbyists, and their assorted allies will be there to present their case. But so will the opponents. And while their numbers may have dwindled, those opponents have essentially won each of the previous rounds. (03/23/2004)
Several thousand people attended a rally at the Capitol on Monday in support of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Supporters of the ban say they want the Minnesota constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. While ban supporters rallied outside the Capitol, their allies in the Senate tried, but failed, to force a floor vote. Opponents of the amendment say the measure is mean spirited and would codify discrimination in the Minnesota constitution. (03/22/2004)
Both national and state political ads have created a stir in the political community. A look at the role of ads at this point in the presidential campaign, and why state parties are running TV spots on legislative issues. ( 03/19/2004)
The Minnesota House has approved legislation establishing new science and social studies standards for public schools. Members of the Republican-controlled body adopted the grade-by-grade requirements Thursday night on a 73 to 55 vote. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are considering three alternative plans for how schools should teach social studies. (03/19/2004)
A proposal requiring state consulting work to be done in the United States was tabled on the Senate floor Thursday after the bill's sponsor decided it didn't have the votes to pass. (03/18/2004)
Business owners in outstate Minnesota say the state's highway system is on the verge of a crisis, and they're urging lawmakers to spend more money to maintain and improve highways. (03/18/2004)

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