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Session 2004

Session 2004

With the opening of the primary season comes a re-examination of why we have the system we do for anointing candidates. Minnesota Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer says it's time to think about a regional, rotating primary. ( 01/28/2004)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty is asking legislators to let Minnesota voters decide whether the state should re-introduce capital punishment in certain murder cases. Pawlenty first floated the idea after a repeat Minnesota sex offender was connected to the disappearance of college student Dru Sjodin. Pawlenty says, with proper safeguards, the death penalty would provide an ultimate punishment for the state's worst offenders. Opponents say the governor is moving the state in the wrong direction. (01/27/2004)
With health care costs and the number of uninsured people both rising, state lawmakers say health care will be a big issue in the upcoming legislative session. Senate DFLers and House Republicans are offering dramatically different proposals to lower the rising cost of health care. Meanwhile, a task force appointed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty is scheduled to release its ideas for reforming Minnesota's health care system by the end of the week. (01/26/2004)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Stadium Screening Committee is due to make its recommendation to the Legislature on Feb., 2. The committee has narrowed down the options for a new Vikings stadium to sites in Eden Prairie and Blaine. If the Blaine site is chosen, that city and Anoka County would contribute up to $240 million toward the cost of the stadium. <I>Morning Edition</I> host Cathy Wurzer talked with Steve Novak, Anoka County division manager for government service and the county's lead person on the stadium project. (01/26/2004)
State Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke on Friday defended the proposed standards for social studies and science as &quot;a reasonable amount work for students.&quot; At a state Senate hearing on the standards, critics complained about the volume of factual content, and whether there's enough time to for them to cover the required material in their classes. (01/23/2004)
More than 2,000 opponents of legalized abortion braved the cold for a rally in front of the Capitol Thursday, while supporters held their own event -- a prayer breakfast and program. (01/22/2004)
A new report prepared for the Legislature says that in 2002 there were more people put behind bars for drug crimes, than for violent crimes or property crimes. Drug offenders now make up nearly a quarter of the state's prison population. ( 01/22/2004)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Stadium Screening Committee has pared a list of competing proposals down to four contenders: two each for the Minnesota Twins and Vikings. As expected, committee members selected locations in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul as possible sites for a Twins ballpark. Blaine and Eden Prairie are the two possibilities for the Vikings. But other crucial parameters, such as how the state might assist ballpark financing, remain controversial. And state officials and the two teams clearly disagree about how to proceed on that front. (01/22/2004)
Gov. Pawlenty's stadium screening committee started winnowing down the list of stadium plans Monday. Ten written proposals made the first cut, and sixteen were tossed out. The committee will spend the next two days scrutinizing the 10 proposals, and could take pieces from various plans to come up with a recommendation for the governor. (01/19/2004)
As policymakers and state officials pore over the details of 26 stadium ideas submitted Thursday, one thread emerges bright and clear -- aside from the plans that call for new gambling revenues, all the major proposals rely heavily on increased tax dollars to build new homes for the Twins and Vikings. And, as in past years, convincing lawmakers, citizens, and businesses to accept new taxes won't be an easy sell. (01/16/2004)
The deadline to submit proposals to Gov. Pawlenty's stadium screening committee was 4 p.m. Thursday. The Twins, the Vikings and the University of Minnesota football team are all seeking new homes. ( 01/16/2004)
More than two dozen cities, counties, and private citizens have pitched their ballpark solutions to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Stadium Screening Committee. The governor solicited outside input to help him decide what role -- if any -- the state might play in financing new facilities for the Minnesota Twins and Vikings. The plans cover a range of sites across the metropolitan area, and offer funding options from local taxes to state dollars to casino revenues. (01/16/2004)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty just wrapped up a week of press conferences highlighting projects in his bonding proposal. After cutting budgets last year, the bonding proposal gave the governor the chance to dish out some spending around Minnesota. Pawlenty has released a flurry of initiatives in recent weeks, and some Democrats believe the activity level is designed to deflect criticism of his administration. (01/15/2004)
Minnesota Senate DFLers have elected a new majority leader, replacing John Hottinger only one year after he assumed the post. Caucus members settled on Dean Johnson of Willmar. Many Democrats were disappointed with the outcome of last year's legislative session in which Gov. Tim Pawlenty and House Republicans prevailed on their no-new-taxes pledge and outmaneuvered liberal Democrats on abortion rights and gun control. ( 01/15/2004)
For the first time in at least a generation, the governor, the House leadership, and now the Senate leadership all publicly favor restrictions on abortion access. The selection Tuesday of Willmar DFLer Dean Johnson as Senate majority leader is being greeted enthusiastically by abortion opponents. But supporters of legal abortion say they're confident Johnson will remain fair and impartial during upcoming debates. (01/14/2004)

Video from the Capitol

Audio Live House video
(Windows Media)
Audio Live Senate video
All times approximate and subject to change.

Audio Highlights

Audio How K-12 education fared in the session
Rep. Barb Sykora, chair of the House Education Policy Committee, and Sen. Steve Kelley, chair of the Senate Education Committee discuss education issues that were debated this session. (Midday - 5/20/04)
Audio The governor's point man
Gov. Pawlenty's chief of staff, Dan McElroy, discusses what's next in the wake of the legislative session ( Midday - 5/18/04)
Audio The effect of the U of M
University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks ( Midmorning - 5/18/04)
Audio Sviggum and Johnson square off
House Speaker Steve Sviggum and Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson exchange barbs as the session ends ( Midday - 5/14/04)
Audio The governor's view
Gov. Tim Pawlenty reacts to the end of the legislative session and the ousting of his education commissioner.
( 5/17/04)
Audio The gay marriage debate
Ann DeGroot, executive director of OutFront Minnesota; Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council. ( Midday - 3/9/04)
Audio Health care task force makes recommendations
Dave Durenberger, head of the Minnesota Citizens Forum on Health Care Costs ( Midday- 2/24/04)

State of the State (2/5/04)
Gov. Pawlenty's address to a joint session of the Legislature