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Session 2003

Session 2003: Health and Welfare

Women will need to receive information starting July 1 about the risks and alternatives to abortion, then wait 24 hours before having the procedure done. A similar proposal made it through the Legislature in recent years, but was stopped by then-Gov. Jesse Ventura.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty mostly got his way in proposed changes to Minnesota's welfare system. Modeled on Wisconsin's system, the state's new approach will steer applicants into intensive job-search efforts before giving them cash grants. The bills will also allow fewer activities to count as "work" and include harsher sanctions for those who don't follow them. Mothers who have additional children while they're receiving welfare also wouldn't get additional state help.

Legislative leaders negotiated into the night Saturday, but didn't reach agreement on the three outstanding budget bills or on a bonding bill. The rest of the Legislature has gone home after sending a nuclear waste storage bill to the governor. (05/25/2003)
Legislative leaders are still trying to negotiate an overall budget deal. They're saying it's unlikely they'll finish by next Monday's deadline and believe they'll need at least a short special session to complete their work. One of the major differences between Senate DFLers and House Republicans is on the health and human services budget. The two sides are hundreds of millions of dollars apart and differ on several policy issues. ( 05/16/2003)
One of the major budget differences between Senate DFLers and House Republicans is the health and human services budget. The two sides are hundreds of millions of dollars apart and differ on several policy issues. The House is proposing cuts to state subsidized health insurance programs and childcare assistance to help balance the budget. Senate DFLers are proposing a cigarette tax increase to offset the proposed cuts. (05/15/2003)
Minnesota's public hospitals and clinics are stuck with a large and growing bill for uncompensated care. It's the unpaid bill they're left holding when they treat the state's 272,000 uninsured residents. Most of the bill is paid by local taxpayers and other patients with health insurance. Hospital officials say Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget proposal will cause uncompensated care costs to grow. (05/12/2003)
Continuing to play good cop to the House's bad, the Senate approved a health and human services spending bill that contains few of the cuts to social service programs in the version passed by the House. The $8.5 billion bill, which also funds prisons, passed early Saturday 38-27. (05/03/2003)
Minnesota would be far less generous in subsidizing health insurance, helping with child care or giving cash grants to welfare applicants under a $7.1 billion budget bill the House passed early Friday. "The results were tough but fair," said Rep. Fran Bradley, R-Rochester, chairman of the health and human services finance committee. (05/02/2003)
The Senate Finance Committee has approved a health and human services bill that would restore $500 million in cuts that Gov. Pawlenty and House Republicans proposed for nursing homes, daycare and health insurance for the low income. The governor and House Republicans say the Senate plan is unacceptable since it raises taxes to offset the proposed cuts. But Senate DFLers say their plan would help the state's most vulnerable during an economic downturn. (04/29/2003)
The Minnesota House has approved a transportation funding bill that injects more than $1 billion in new money for road projects over the next five years. The plan closely mirrors the proposal favored by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. But critics say it offers too little new cash. The body also approved spending reductions in the courts and criminal justice system. The two budget bills are the first to pass the House this year. (04/29/2003)
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)
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 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)
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)
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)

Audio Highlights

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)
Gov. Pawlenty inaugural address