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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.

Legislation to extend the time limit for sexual abuse victims to sue their abusers is still alive at the Capitol. A bill cleared a key House panel in time for Friday's committee deadline. But the legislation faces several obstacles before it could become law. (04/11/2003)
The Senate Democrats' budget plan includes a new income tax bracket for upper-income Minnesotans. Republicans immediately called the proposal class warfare, and said it would drive job creators out of the state. DFL leaders say they're simply asking wealthy Minnesotans to share the pain along with the rest of the state. (04/11/2003)
The Minnesota Senate will vote on Thursday on a bill that would require any woman seeking an abortion to get specific information and wait 24 hours before the procedure is done. A parliamentary procedure on the House floor will force the full Senate to either adopt the bill or send it to conference committee. Supporters say they have the votes in the Senate to send the bill to Gov. Pawlenty's desk. Critics say the parliamentary procedure is undermining the committee process and won't allow the Senate to make any changes to the bill. (04/09/2003)
The latest news on the war in Iraq from the BBC World Service. And, Gov. Tim Pawlenty is traveling to several cities in Minnesota Tuesday to press his budget plan. Senate DFLers Monday released their proposal to fix the projected $4.2-billion deficit. Their plan would raise about $1 billion from higher income and tobacco taxes. The DFL plan also would put more money into K-12 education, colleges, health care and local government than Pawlenty and the House would. In February Pawlenty released his proposal for solving the anticipated deficit without raising state taxes. ( 04/08/2003)
DFL lawmakers asked the House Ethics Committee Monday night to discipline Rep. Arlon Lindner, R-Corcoran, for comments that offended some homosexuals and blacks. They argued that Lindner made bigoted statements that brought dishonor to the House. Lindner's attorney said the charges are false, and Lindner's comments have been taken out of context. (04/08/2003)
Senate DFLers have proposed solving Minnesota's budget crisis with higher taxes on income and cigarettes. The plan also would cut some corporate tax exemptions. Now that all parties have proposals on the table, the real negotiating begins. ( 04/08/2003)
Red-nosed clowns greeted lawmakers as they entered the House chamber for a vote to tack a bill requiring women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion to one deregulating circuses. (04/07/2003)
In a direct challenge to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's no-new-tax pledge, Senate Democrats on Monday proposed a budget plan that would raise more than $1 billion from higher income and tobacco taxes. The proposal raises the income tax rate on those who earn more than $250,000 a year and adds $1 to the current 48 cents per-pack cigarette tax. (04/07/2003)
State budget woes may force many communities to reduce or eliminate after-school programs. Some who run after-school programs predict an increase in juvenile crime. But a state official says there may be a way to save after-school programs. (04/07/2003)
A look at the Democrats' budget-balancing proposal, released Monday. Republican lawmakers brought out their own budget proposals Thursday. ( 04/07/2003)
Governor Pawlenty is calling his "JOBZ" program "the mother of all economic development incentives." Communities in outstate Minnesota are already compiling their evidence to convince state officials that their town needs the extra boost. (04/07/2003)
The Senate Health and Human Services Policy Committee approved a bill on Friday that would dramatically change how the state provides health coverage to lower income Minnesotans. On a 4-2 vote, the committee approved a portion of the Senate health and human service budget proposal that would reduce services available rather than limit eligibility for state coverage. The bill is modelled after a program in Oregon. (04/04/2003)
Budget crises have elected officials rethinking the size of government. Minneapolis and Hennepin county are considering consolidating some government departments in the wake of a layoff of nearly 200 Minneapolis city workers. ( 04/04/2003)
A bill is now on its way to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's desk that would ratify state employment contracts -- without providing benefits to same-sex partners of state workers. The House and Senate voted Thursday to strip those provisions from labor agreements that were initially negotiated in 2001, following a two-week strike. (04/04/2003)
A Minnesota Senate committee has voted to repeal the Profile of Learning and implement a new set a statewide academic standards for public schools. But the replacement standards differ sharply from the back-to-basics approach approved in the House and favored by Gov. Pawlenty. (04/04/2003)
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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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