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Session 2004

Session 2004

House Republican leaders have released the outline of their budget plan. It relies on money from a casino at the Canterbury Park racetrack to balance the state budget. House Republicans say they went along with most of Gov. Pawlenty's budget recommendations. But the plan they released has some holes that Republican leaders say they'll fill in later. (03/17/2004)
Gov. Pawlenty has maintained for months that he would block any attempts to use the state's general tax revenues to support professional sports. But critics say he's slipped just such a proposal into the ballpark financing plan he released earlier this week. The governor's package would plow a portion of the sales and income taxes generated at new Minnesota Twins and Vikings stadiums right back into the facilities' construction costs. Minnesota Public Radio's Michael Khoo reports. (03/17/2004)
For the second straight year, Gov. Tim Pawlenty is looking to health and welfare programs for the cash to fill the largest holes in his budget. But hospital officials and advocates for the poor told senators on Wednesday his latest proposal would weaken their programs to the breaking point. (03/17/2004)
A Hennepin County judge has expanded and extended an injunction that allows churches to ban firearms from their property in spite of the state's concealed-carry gun law. Her latest order allows churches and religious organizations to ban guns not only from their parking lots and buildings but from licensed child care centers on their property and in space they lease to tenants, so long as the lease allows it. (03/16/2004)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced his stadium plans Monday afternoon. The governor's stadium advisory commission recommended the state build new ballparks for both the Minnesota Twins and the Vikings. ( 03/16/2004)
The DFL Party began running a caustic television commercial on Tuesday that accuses Gov. Tim Pawlenty of bungling the release of sexual predators. (03/16/2004)
Gov. Pawlenty's task force on education finance reform wants to give local school officials more discretion over how to spend state aid, as long as their students are succeeding in the classroom. (03/15/2004)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Monday presented a plan for new Twins and Vikings stadiums that would require team owners to pay about one-third of the project cost. Pawlenty's plan would authorize local governments to raise restaurant and lodging taxes. (03/15/2004)
Five non-profit agencies have filed suit to throw out Minnesota's concealed handgun law. The law, which passed last year, requires sheriffs to issue concealed weapons permits to mentally-competent adults who pass a background check and go through training. The groups say the law violates their rights to operate their property as they see fit. Supporters of the law say the lawsuits are a desperate attempt to get rid of a law that isn't causing any problems. (03/15/2004)
Legislators have a full range of issues to deal with again this spring. Topics include the bonding bill, the state budget deficit, and a raft of proposed constitutional amendments such as the gay marriage amendment. Not to mention the fallout from the transit strike, health care, education, criminal sentencing, and the stadium. Gary Eichten and his guests discuss issues before the Minnesota State Legislature. ( 03/15/2004)
A bill that would give voters a chance to create an annual pool of money to clean up Minnesota's lakes and rivers is working its way through the Legislature with a strong ally: the governor. (03/15/2004)
Lawmakers have had a week to digest Gov. Tim Pawlenty's $160 million deficit-reduction plan, but few seem inclined to endorse it. Republican and Democratic lawmakers are finding it difficult to accept the governor's reductions in health care spending, and both sides of the aisle are floating alternative concepts. But Pawlenty, in turn, is unlikely to approve of what's percolating at the Legislature. (03/12/2004)
A Senate committee has approved a bill that would erase any doubts about the legality of the University of Minnesota's stem-cell research. (03/11/2004)
The Minnesota House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill to lock up violent sex offenders for life. Only one person showed up to testify at a hearing on the measure Wednesday night, a man who opposes the bill. Some lawmakers on the committee also object to the tougher sentence, saying it goes too far. (03/11/2004)
A proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Minnesota receives its first hearing Tuesday afternoon in the Minnesota House. Supporters of the proposal say the amendment is necessary to ensure that the courts will not recognize the marriage of same sex couples. Opponents say the amendment is discriminatory and has no place in Minnesota's Constitution. (03/09/2004)

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