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< First sighting of an abortion amendment | Main | Parliamentary death-match >

Floor-a-palooza at Noon

Posted at 11:34 AM on April 2, 2008 by Michael Marchio

There was some confusion, mostly on the part of the Commish, about the bonding bill yesterday. They did not, in fact, give the bill final passage, and will be doing that today, so our floor-a-palooza is still on.

Sen. David Tomassoni's bill, SF3300, that would pay for a U of M study on the recent cancer deaths on the Iron Range, had another hearing this morning in the Senate Finance Committee. Rep. Tom Rukavina's companion legislation, HF3569, is awaiting action on the floor of the House, so some Rangers will be picking up some points in the coming days.

Last year, it was revealed that 58 miners had died from a rare form of cancer, called mesothelioma, thought to be linked to mine work. The results of the study which found out about the deaths was kept secret for a year, and led to the eventual resignation of the then-Health Commissioner, Diane Mandernach. Here's what was written about it at the time:

[H]er handling of the data raised even more questions about how Mandernach managed the department.

Over the past few months, several Health Department staffers have told Minnesota Public Radio News that they could not speak to a reporter about Mandernach for fear of being reprimanded or losing their jobs.

One former staffer, Diane O'Connor, said in June that the commissioner and other executives in her office were not interested in the information or expertise from rank-and-file staffers. O'Connor said politics, not science, drove the department.

Sounds like a job for Rep. Hortman's whistleblower bill.

Yesterday, as Bob Collins pointed out at NewsCut, Rep. Phyllis Kahn gave a cringe-worthy quote to the New York Times.

The sponsors hope to spur spending at the convention from Sept. 1 to 4 -- and also to make the Twin Cities metropolitan region seem "more sophisticated," as one lawmaker put it.

"Las Vegas is open all night long, and New Orleans is open till dawn," said Representative Phyllis Kahn, a Minneapolis Democrat who is a co-sponsor of the proposal. "I spend a lot of time in cities like New York and Montreal, and they all seem to have later drinking times."

[...]Ms. Kahn said she wanted her area to seem at least as sophisticated as other American cities.

Its nice to see our lawmakers in the New York Times, but that one hurts, Rep. Kahn.

Also, as the great Linda Higgins noted in our comments, many in that mess of bills that was approved off General Orders yesterday will be getting a hearing on Thursday, so we'll have a lot of points to dish out.