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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.

Legislative leaders join Midday from the MPR's Capitol bureau to discuss the latest proposals to balance Minnesota's budget. ( 04/03/2003)
House Republicans outlined a budget plan Thursday that is similar to Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty's no-tax-increase proposal, but makes a few priorities of its own. House Republicans would include more funding for local government aid, ethanol projects, higher education, nursing homes and senior programs than does Pawlenty. (04/03/2003)
A Senate panel is scheduled to vote Thursday on Gov. Pawlenty's proposed education budget. Pawlenty says his budget protects K-12 funding for the classroom. Education groups disagree, but they're not complaining too loudly. They say K-12 schools were largely spared from the deep cuts that hit other areas of the state budget. (04/03/2003)
A divided Minneapolis City Council approved a series of job cuts Tuesday to account for a proposed $21 million cut in state aid. At the same time, Hennepin County officials approved $27 million in cuts to their budget, reducing more than 300 jobs, mostly at the county's hospital. (04/02/2003)
Vehicle registration fees, which were cut three years ago, would climb under an ambitious road-building plan backed by big-name Democrats and Republicans. The chairmen of House and Senate transportation committees are co-sponsors of the proposal that would pump $2.5 billion into road and transit projects over the next seven years. (04/01/2003)
State lawmakers on Tuesday dealt a significant blow to a proposed metropolitan casino to be operated jointly by the state and northern Indian tribes. The House Government Operations Committee voted 10-8 against the plan, making it unlikely the measure can pass this year. Representatives of the White Earth and Red Lake Indian tribes had stood to gain millions of dollars in gambling revenues from the project. But the state's other tribes viewed the plan as an encroachment on existing casinos. (04/01/2003)
The Minnesota House has passed a bill that would require abortion providers to give women seeking an abortion 24 hours before the procedure is done. Supporters say the measure will ensure that women have all of the available information before they have an abortion. Opponents say the bill is filled with bad information and is an attempt to restrict the procedure in the state. (04/01/2003)
The St. Paul city council will meet Wednesday to talk about Mayor Randy Kelly's proposed budget for the next fiscal year, anticipating a $33 million cut in local government aid. ( 04/01/2003)
The debate over taxes at the state Capitol is heating up on several fronts. A key Republican lawmaker is proposing a $1 increase in the state's cigarette tax. Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he'll consider the idea, because the money would be used to offset another tax. And the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is the first interest group to come forward with a specific proposal to raise taxes since Pawlenty released his budget. (03/31/2003)
In selling his no-tax-increase budget plan, Gov. Tim Pawlenty often points out that Minnesota's tax burden is higher than other states in the region. But despite the higher taxes, Minnesota also has been more prosperous than those states. Some experts say Minnesota's use of tax dollars has strengthened the state's economy. Others question whether that's still the case. (03/31/2003)
The tables begin turning this week in the budget debate. After a month of dissecting - and in many cases denouncing - Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget proposal, legislators will provide a hint of what they'd do differently. (03/31/2003)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been clear that he intends to use the three anti-tobacco endowments to help bridge the state's more than $4 billion deficit. The Legislature must still approve the plan, but using money from the state's tobacco settlement is likely to pass if other states' actions are indicators. While the governor says there will still be money appropriated for helping those addicted quit smoking and preventing others from starting, there's one group that'll disappear: "Target Market," a program for teenagers. (03/31/2003)
In the first votes testing parts of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget, two Senate committees on Thursday rejected his plans for the state's welfare and health programs and his proposals for higher education. (03/27/2003)
The Senate Crime Prevention Committee has defeated a bill that would allow the commissioner of public safety to stamp the driver's licenses of temporary immigrants with their visa expiration dates. Supporters say the bill would give public safety officials the ability to identify whether a temporary immigrant has overstayed his or her visa. The provision is a top priority of both Gov. Pawlenty and House Republicans. (03/26/2003)
For weeks, the chairman of the Senate's tax committee has been repeating one phrase like a mantra: Gov. Tim Pawlenty's "no-tax" budget will drive up property taxes. On Wednesday, he proved it. Sort of. Sen. Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, distributed to his committee information from the state Revenue Department that predicts taxes will increase 14 percent for homes on average statewide under Pawlenty's budget. (03/26/2003)
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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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