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Session 2003

Session 2003: Public Safety

Most law-abiding, mentally competent adults who pass background checks and undergo training now can get permits to carry concealed weapons. Past law gave discretion to local law enforcement officials in granting the permits, but that law was changed this session. Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the bill's sponsors wanted to amend the law to change the notification requirement to allow either sign-posting or verbal notification, but will have to wait until next year. That's because Democrats wanted to reopen the entire bill to debate rather than one provision.

Several city officials and local police chiefs are asking the Legislature to change the concealed carry that law that will go into effect on May 28. They're urging lawmakers to grant cities the authority to forbid guns on city property. They say they want the same rights granted to local schools and private businesses. Supporters of gun rights say the proposal would undermine their ability to create a statewide uniform law for permit holders. (05/09/2003)
Voicing concern that violent video games might encourage real-life violence, the Senate voted Thursday to make it illegal for children under 17 to rent or buy them. The bill applies to games rated M for Mature audiences or AO for Adults Only under the industry's own rating system. (05/08/2003)
The Minnesota House is expected to take up a bill passed by the Senate that could extend bar closing to 2a.m. Why has a measure that has failed in the past seem to have legs today and what happens next? ( 05/08/2003)
Gov. Pawlenty signed the concealed handgun measure into law Monday, just hours after the Senate passed it. The law requires county sheriffs to issue a handgun permit to almost any law abiding Minnesotan over the age of 21. The bill passed 37-30 after what several observers say was the longest Senate floor debate in recent memory. Supporters say current law is unfair because local law enforcement has too much discretion when it comes to issuing permits. Opponents say the law will make the state more dangerous. They also said the Minnesota House was dictating the Senate's agenda by forcing the Senate to vote up or down on the issue. (04/28/2003)
Opponents of a bill that would change the state's handgun permitting laws have conceded they can't stop permits from becoming easier to get. Supporters of the bill have been lobbying to change current law for seven years because they say local law enforcement has too much authority in denying permits. (04/24/2003)
The Minnesota House has voted in favor of a bill that would change Minnesota's handgun-permitting process. House leadership used a parliamentary maneuver to force the Senate to vote on the bill. Supporters want to make changes to current law because they say local law enforcement has too much discretion over who receives a permit to carry a handgun. Opponents say the bill would allow almost any Minnesotan over the age of 21 to carry a firearm and would make the state more dangerous. (04/23/2003)
The Minnesota House is expected to debate a bill later this week that would allow almost any Minnesotan over the age of 21 without a criminal background to carry a handgun. Officials at schools around the state say they're concerned the bill would allow more guns at or near schools and colleges. They say if lawmakers pass the bill they should make it clear that even people with handgun permits should keep guns away from schools. (04/21/2003)
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 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)
Minnesota's handgun laws could undergo significant change this year. If passed the Personal Protection Bill would streamline the process for obtaining a permit to carry a concealed weapon. (03/17/2003)
The gun control debate at the state Capitol took several twists on Monday. Supporters of legislation to broaden the availability of firearm permits charged Senate DFL leaders with trying to sabotage their efforts by manipulating the committee process. But top Democrats say they're simply trying to encourage multiple viewpoints in order to refine the various proposals. (03/17/2003)
The Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned rules Tuesday that allowed law enforcement to track foreign visitors through special driver's license markings. (03/11/2003)
A bill that would create stricter standards for drunk drivers started moving Wednesday in the Minnesota Senate. On a divided voice vote, the Senate Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee approved a plan to lower the legal blood alcohol limit from .10 percent to .08 percent. Supporters say it will make the highways safer and will secure additional federal money for transportation projects. Critics say the costs to local government will be significant. (02/26/2003)
County officials and jailers told lawmakers they don't want or have room for the short-term prisoners Gov. Tim Pawlenty hopes to send their way. In his new budget, Pawlenty would deal with a quick-growing prison population by double-bunking some and having those with less than six months to serve do so in local jails. (02/20/2003)
The House Civil Law Committee Tuesday approved a bill that would allow nearly every Minnesotan over the age of 21 to carry a handgun. (02/11/2003)
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Audio Highlights

Gov. Pawlenty inaugural address
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
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