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Tony O is in the House

Posted at 11:40 AM on April 17, 2008 by Michael Marchio

The House welcomed a couple of guests this morning, including Twins great Tony Oliva and a Brazilian rotary club. How's that for cosmopolitan, Rep. Kahn? Tony O was actually in the House to watch a vote on one of Rep. Kahn's resolutions, HF599, which urges Congress and the President to lift the embargo on trade with Cuba. Did you know that Oliva was the first Cuban player to win the batting title? While they're at it, the House should pass a resolution urging Cooperstown to let him into the Hall of Fame.

"I know a lot of times when we do resolutions, we just think that they're pieces of paper that get lost in the abyss, but this one is very different," according to Rep. Al Juhnke (DFL-Willmar) He has a picture taken while he and other lawmakers were on a trip to Cuba distributed, and said that Congress and the Cuban government would be receiving it.

When debating the resolution, Rep. Joe Hoppe (Chaska) said he was concerned about Cuba's human rights violations, and that if the House was going to go on record to promote trade with Cuba, that he'd like to see a resolution encouraging Congress to pass the trade deal with Colombia.

A couple of Republicans rose to support the bill though. Rep. Ron Erhardt said "I didn't want to admit it to Rep. Hoppe, but I was in Cuba five years ago." He said he went there with a group from Augsburg College, and that they "had the distinct pleasure of rolling our own cigars." That would be quite the picture, Rep. Erhardt wearing a Panama hat, rolling out a couple of stogies.

Rep. Juhnke made the point that 75 percent of Cubans were born after the 1959 revolution, and that they shouldn't be punished because of the spat between our government and theirs. A very nice, short piece was written in the New Yorker after Fidel Castro announced his retirement. It's worth taking a look at.

The resolution passed easily, 89-6, with only a few members voted against it. Most who disagreed with it chose to abstain.

Another bill they passed this afternoon, left over from last session, was HF1625. According to our friends over at the Session Daily, it would:

• include e-mail and electronic messaging in no-contact provisions;
• allow a respondent to petition for a modification of an order after five years or original issuance; and
• require that a relief petitioner must state if there was a previous order filed against the respondent.

It could also extend a restraining order for up to 50 years. No points for the House version, sponsored by Rep. Larry Hosch (DFL-St. Joseph) because his was introduced last session, but Sen. Tarryl Clark will be earning some, because hers, SF3492, was introduced this year. Her teams owe Rep. Hosch a thank you.