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Session 2003

Session 2003

Gov. Tim Pawlenty took office promising to drive change "in a hundred places and a thousand ways." He may have underestimated his reach. At session's end, five months into office, the young governor finds himself with much - most - of an aggressive reform agenda becoming law.

Among his victories were wins on plans to change welfare, to establish tax-free industrial zones, to rewrite classroom graduation standards and to close a yawning deficit without raising state taxes.

Under Pawlenty, gun permits will be more accessible and abortions will be somewhat less accessible. Bar hours will be later, but there will be extra troopers on the road when they let out, and schools will be required to lead most students in the Pledge of Allegiance at least once a week.

His reach stretched from southwestern Minnesota's wind-rich fields, which will see more energy-producing turbines, to the Iron Range, which has a good chance for seeing a new coal plant and new tax-free zones.

The question presents itself, though: With a reach so vast, did he overreach? As Democrats adjourned their special session on Thursday, they were convinced he did.

Minnesota is one of a handful of budget-crunched states determined to make it harder for well-off retirees to hide their wealth to get the government to pay for their nursing home care. (04/21/2003)
There's a month left, and almost nothing has been accomplished. In other words, the Legislature is right on pace. Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he knows it's not unusual that so much remains to be done before the May 19 deadline. He was a House leader in 2001 when a special session dragged the state to the verge of a shutdown. (04/20/2003)
Officials at Minnesota's only residential, tuition-free arts high school say tight state finances could force them to close their dormitory and change their mission. (04/18/2003)
Friday is the last official day of work for 34 Minneapolis firefighters who have been cut to offset expected cuts in state aid. Some firefighters will return to jobs they held before joining the force; others face unemployment. But many say they are more concerned about what the layoffs will mean to the residents of Minneapolis. (04/17/2003)
After three months of work, the Minnesota Legislature has agreed on one major piece of legislation; passing a bill requiring a 24-hour waiting period for abortions. Meanwhile, work continues on budget bills, with little indication that the House and Senate will agree on spending priorities. ( 04/17/2003)
Minnesota's premier research institutions formalized an alliance Thursday in what Gov. Tim Pawlenty termed a "historic" step toward making the state a world leader in cutting-edge science fields. Pawlenty and leaders of Rochester's Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota announced a plan to have the state devote more than $100 million over the next few years to get the partnership up and running. (04/17/2003)
A disagreement over how to replace the much-maligned Profile of Learning academic standards is raising the possibliity that the Profile could survive for another year. Education commissioner Cheri Pearson Yecke presented a draft of new fact-based standards to lawmakers earlier this week. House Republicans generally agree with the proposal, but the DFL Senate is seriously considering an alternative that was created by teachers more than a year ago. The DFL chair of the Senate Education Policy Committee, Steve Kelley, and the Republican chair of the House Education Policy Committee, Barbara Sykora, joined MPR's Cathy Wurzer on Morning Edition. (04/17/2003)
A provision in the House Health and Human Services budget bill would forbid 3,000 state workers from striking. The provision would declare workers at regional treatment centers, group homes and other state-run health facilities essential employees. The state already forbids several categories of state employees from walking off the job, most notably law enforcement and corrections officers. (04/16/2003)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty took his no-new-taxes message to Duluth on Tuesday. A few protesters and some in the audience expressed reservations about the governor's plan, but Pawlenty stuck to his message. (04/15/2003)
On the deadline for Americans to file their taxes, the tax debate heated up a notch at the Capitol. Several groups used Tuesday's filing deadline to either call for tax increases or argue for holding the line on taxes. At the same time, the House is moving quickly to approve budget bills that conform with Gov. Pawlenty's no-tax-increase pledge. (04/15/2003)
State education commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke has presented legislators with revised math and English standards for Minnesota public schools. She needed to rewrite much of the plan after hearing complaints from teachers and parents. Yecke says pleased with the changes, but lawmakers are still finding flaws. (04/15/2003)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration briefs lawmakers Tuesday on a revised set of English and math standards meant to replace the Profile of Learning. The administration released the updated standards Monday, just as House lawmakers revealed a $12 billion education package that closely follows the governor's spending recommendations. (04/15/2003)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty has signed into a law a measure that would require any woman seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours before the procedure is done. Minnesota is now the 19th state to have such a law. The Minnesota Senate passed the bill and sent it to the governor earlier Monday afternoon. Supporters of the waiting period say it provides women with information about possible risks. Opponents say the bill is an attempt to chip away at a woman's right to choose. (04/14/2003)
A House panel is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a 600-plus page bill funding health and human services programs for the next two years. The bill would restore some of the governor's proposed cuts in funding for nursing homes and services for people with disabilities. To offset the additional funding, House Republicans would make deep cuts in child care subsidies. (04/14/2003)
Senior volunteers could keep their stipends but fewer parents would get help with child care costs under a tweaking of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's plan for human services programs that House leaders described Friday. (04/11/2003)
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Audio Highlights

Pawlenty's session postscript (6/4/03)
The governor discusses the budget and the session during a speech to the Society of Professional Journalists' meeting in Minneapolis
Political scientist Larry Jacobs (5/30/03)
Provides a review of the 2003 session.
Sen. John Hottinger (5/30/03)
Senate majority leader summarizes the session
Sen. Dick Day (5/30/03)
Senate minority leader summarizes the session
The human services budget
Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis, chair of the Senate Health and Human Services and Corrections Budget Division; and Rep. Fran Bradley, R-Rochester, chair of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee (5/16/03)
The view from former governors (5/13/03)
Former governors Arne Carlson, Wendell Anderson, Elmer L. Andersen and Al Quie give free advice to Gov. Pawlenty
Political scientist Larry Jacobs (5/5/03)
A look at recent polls
Pawlenty's budget message (2/18/03)
Issues budget in attempt to close deficit
Gov. Pawlenty announces "unallotment" cuts Takes action after legislators fail to make a deal (2/7/03)
Gov. Pawlenty's State of the State address (2/6/03)
Pawlenty outlines his vision for Minnesota.
Gov. Pawlenty inaugural address (1/6/03)
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