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Session 2004

Session 2004

After a five-hour debate that touched on changes to abortion policy, HMOs and the welfare system, the Republican-controlled House passed its Health and Human Services budget bill on Friday. (04/02/2004)
Taking a cue from Donald Trump, Senate Democrats came out with a budget plan Friday that would have a few dozen state agency managers hearing "You're fired!" (04/02/2004)
Minnesota Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke is trying to convince lawmakers that she's been an effective leader for public education the past year and deserves to keep her title. (04/02/2004)
The Minnesota Family Council is taking to the airwaves in the debate over banning gay marriage. The group plans to start running radio ads on Friday in the districts of 10 senators who voted against allowing a gay marriage bill to go to the floor before it had a committee hearing. (04/01/2004)
The University of Minnesota president, Robert Bruininks, will be in the MPR studios to discuss a new Gophers stadium, tuition issues, and other university news. He'll also take questions from MPR listeners. ( 04/01/2004)
The Minnesota House has approved legislation that takes money used for school desegregation programs away from urban districts and shares it with schools statewide. Lawmakers approved the controversial funding shift Wednesday night as part of a broader education finance package. The Republican House passed the $8 million dollar education bill on a 74-56 vote. (04/01/2004)
The Minnesota House has voted overwhelmingly for a bill that would lock up the most violent sex offenders for life. The judiciary finance bill would also create tougher penalties for making methamphetamine, and merge the state's Gang Strike Force with regional drug task forces. (03/31/2004)
The House passed a bill 113-15 Wednesday to lower the state's drunken driving threshold from 0.10 percent blood alcohol content to 0.08 percent, but not until 2007. (03/31/2004)
A Minnesota Senate Committee will debate the job performance of Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke this week. The first of two confirmation hearings for the commissioner is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Yecke will be in the MPR studios to discuss her job and education issues, and to take listener questions. ( 03/31/2004)
Friends and foes of Minnesota Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke are ready to share their opinions with state lawmakers, as the Senate opens confirmation hearings. Even though she's been on the job over a year, her approval is by no means certain. Yecke has led the Department of Education with often polarizing results. Her fans say she's the type of commissioner the state has long needed. But critics claim she's done more to harm public education than help it. (03/31/2004)
A committee in the Minnesota Senate has voted to remove Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau from her job as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The recommendation now moves onto the full Senate which will make the final decision on Molnau's future. Molnau serves in the unique position of holding both the lieutenant governor and transportation commissioner titles. Critics say Molnau doesn't have a balanced plan to improve Minnesota's roads, bridges and transportation needs. (03/30/2004)
A plan to build two new stadiums for the Minnesota Twins and Vikings has taken another step forward. The bill advanced fairly easily out of the House Government Operations Committee on Monday night without the lengthy debate that has often accompanied stadium discussions. The plan remains a work-in-progress, but critics contend it's not receiving the full scrutiny it deserves. (03/30/2004)
There's a renewed battle in Minnesota over all-terrain vehicles. Last year, lawmakers approved a plan to create a system of designated trails for ATVs. They also passed rules protecting wetlands on both public and private lands. Several bills before this year's Legislature would undo some of those restrictions, and give ATV users broader access to state forests. The proposals have sparked renewed debate about where ATVs should and shouldn't go in Minnesota. (03/29/2004)
The Senate Judiciary Committee has defeated a proposal that would allow the voters to decide if the Minnesota Constitution should ban same-sex marriage. The committee defeated the proposal on a 5-4 vote. Senate sponsors of the measure have said they expected defeat in the committee. They've said they'll continue to try to bring the issue to the Senate floor until the end of the legislative session. (03/26/2004)
Host Gary Eichten and his guest discuss "judicial activism," and how judges decide what is constitutional. How should they decide? ( 03/26/2004)

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