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Weekly Recap

Posted at 1:23 PM on March 28, 2008 by Michael Marchio

Most committees are still muddling through omnibus bill hearings, putting an unfortunate brake on most of the point-earning, but the governor helped us out yesterday, signing a couple bills.

SF2632/HF2582, the Vietnam Veterans Day bill, sponsored by Rep. Larry Howes and Sen. Dan Skogen.

SF3081/HF3368, a bill that would regulate customer payments to utilities during cold weather months, Rep. Linda Slocum and Sen. John Doll.

And two bills that would make certain offices appointive instead of elective:

SF2534/HF2907 , carried by Sen. Gary Kubly and Rep. Aaron Peterson

SF2472/HF2816 , carried by Sen. Kathy Sheran and Rep. Terry Morrow.

Rep. Larry Howes, who sponsored the Vietnam Veterans Day bill, looks like the big winner, picking up 156 points on that bill alone.

SF3099, Sen. Linda Berglin's monster of a health care bill finally gained passage last night, after a contentious debate that split lawmakers all over the place, with conservatives like Sen. Dick Day voting for it and liberals like Sen. John Marty voting against it. Check out the VoteTracker.

Elsewhere at the Capitol, the Legislative Audit Commission held a hearing on whether or not to investigate the rumors swirling around Attorney General Lori Swanson's office. No real MFL implications here, but it did remind me of another bill that's been quietly picking up steam.

SF3494 and HF3807, sponsored by Sen. John Doll and Rep. Melissa Hortman would extend whistleblower protection to executive branch employees, including, one would think, employees in the Attorney General's office. According to the bill, executive branch employees couldn't be fired, demoted or otherwise punished for communicating "information that the employee, in good faith, believes to be truthful and accurate, and that relates to improving services provided by the executive branch." Sounds like that might apply here.

Another conference committee was held on the I-35W victim's relief bill. In an interview with Capitol Report, Sen. Ron Latz said the governor supports the Senate version, and made no mention in a recent letter of the "special exemptions" to the $400,000 cap he had suggested before. I'll link to that episode of Capitol Report when it is posted tomorrow.