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Session 2003

Session 2003: Health and Welfare



ISSUE UPDATE
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.

Gov. Pawlenty's budget plan allows for some growth in health and human services spending, but that growth is far short of projections for fiscal years 2004 and 2005. Pawlenty says the state can afford to cut back on its social programs and still be on a par with other states in the upper Midwest. Advocates for the poor, however, say Pawlenty's budget proposal will harm the poor and working class. (02/18/2003)
Hundreds of people, including nursing home residents, their relatives, and nursing home employees, held a rally at the state Capitol Thursday morning to urge lawmakers not to cut state funding for long-term care. That's a big order given the cost of nursing homes -- about $1 billion. How the state cares for the elderly and disabled in nursing homes is a huge issue for those people, their families, those who work in nursing homes and the cities and towns where the nursing homes are located. ( 02/13/2003)
A key House committee has approved a bill that would provide prescription drug discounts for up to 70,000 Minnesotans. Supporters of the bill say it would provide an added boost to seniors who are struggling to pay for prescription drugs. Opponents say it imposes unnecessary government price regulation. (02/12/2003)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty appointed Dianne Mandernach to lead the Minnesota Department of Health on Tuesday. Mandernach has served as chief executive officer for Mercy Hospital and Health Care Center in Moose Lake since 1993. (02/04/2003)
Gov. Pawlenty is proposing stricter work requirements for welfare recipients. Pawlenty's proposal would require welfare recipients to look for a job before they're eligible for cash assistance. He says that would force recipients to become more self-sufficient. Critics say the plan would get people off of welfare rolls, but not out of poverty. ( 01/31/2003)
Gov. Pawlenty is proposing stricter work requirements for welfare recipients. Pawlenty's proposal would require welfare recipients to look for a job before they're eligible for cash assistance. He says that would force recipients to become more self-sufficient. Critics say the plan would get people off of welfare rolls, but not out of poverty. (01/30/2003)
The Minnesota Health Department says it will start vaccinating health care workers for smallpox in mid-February. Health officials say 2,700 people have volunteered to receive the vaccine. The federal government is recommending the vaccine for front-line health care workers in case of a bioterrorist attack. The state says it's prepared to move forward with phase one of the program but caution they may have to take money from other programs to complete the task. (01/29/2003)
Several thousand abortion opponents marked the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision by listening to speeches on the Capitol steps in subzero temperatures. Despite the cold, speakers and activists described themselves as warm with the glow of anticipated victory. (01/22/2003)
Opponents of a state database of medical records are urging the Legislature to stop the project. Health officials say collecting medical information on nearly every Minnesotan will allow them to better track health problems. But opponents say the plan violates patients' privacy rights. (01/22/2003)
A 1973 Supreme Court decision made abortions legal across the country. In Minnesota both sides of the debate marked the day with marches and commemorations at the state Capitol, prior to legislative session lobbying for their ideas. Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer talked with Scott Fishbach, executive director of the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life and Sara Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and South Dakota. (01/22/2003)
A legislative auditor's report has found several problems in the way the state manages the MinnesotaCare health insurance program. (01/21/2003)
The Legislature will need to maintain its hurried pace to meet an early February deadline Gov. Tim Pawlenty set Tuesday for lawmakers to bite off a $356 million chunk of a $4.56 billion budget problem. In a letter to legislators, Pawlenty called for "prompt and bold leadership" and warned that they must reach agreement by the first week in February or he "will be left with no choice but to unallot." (01/21/2003)
Budget work continues at a fast pace at the state Capitol. Lawmakers hopes to finish work in the next week or two on plans for covering the projected $356 million deficit for the fiscal year that ends in June. Gov. Pawlenty has proposed a combination of cuts and one-time money to cover the gap. Several special interest groups told House members on Thursday that Pawlenty's proposals will have a dramatic impact on the poor. Meanwhile, a key lawmaker in the Senate Health, Family Security and Corrections Budget division proposed an alternative to Pawlenty's plan. (01/16/2003)
Lawmakers began sampling Gov. Tim Pawlenty's appetizer of a budget fix on Wednesday. For the most part they declared it distasteful but edible. Pawlenty's plan cuts $468 million from the budget before June. He still has the main course ahead of him, though, when he must cut nearly 10 times as much to balance the budget through the next two years. (01/15/2003)
For the first time in modern history, a lieutenant governor will head a state agency in Minnesota. Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty named the Lt. Gov.-elect, Carol Molnau, as head of the Minnesota Department of Transportation Tuesday. This in preparation for taking office next week. Pawlenty faces many challenges as the new governor, including what to do about the projected $4.5 billion state budget shortfall. Still, he's sticking to his campaign promise that he won't raise taxes. ( 01/01/2003)

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