Independent political news, information and commentary from the Capitol and the State of Minnesota.

Two Candidates For Saint Paul Senate Seat Get Fiesty

Broadcast on Tuesday March 22 at 6:00 p.m. CST on Capitol Conversations Representative John Lesch and GOP Endorsed Senate Candidate Greg Copeland are both vying for Senator Ellen Anderson's seat. Anderson accepted an appointment to become the chair of the Public Utilities Commission. The two mixed it up on a variety of questions and issues. The special election will take place on April 12th.

Also joining the program was citizen lobbyist and information advocate Rich Neumeister from
Mr. Neumeister will be on to discuss familial DNA and the direction of public disclosure and privacy issues under a GOP controlled legislature.

Host Marty Owings, Producers Craig Stellmacher and Susan Maricle.

The Minnesota Abortion Stalemate

The Minnesota Abortion Stalemate.
By Craig Stellmacher

Minnesota Capitol news looks at several Pro-life and Pro-Choice bills going forward in the legislature this year. Four identical Republican bills that would prevent state funding for any abortions that would likely not get past Governor Mark Dayton. If the bills did pass they would likely face a Supreme Court challenge because they conflict with an earlier ruling, 1995's Doe vs. Gomez. Representative Peggy Scott is Principle Author of the HF 201 "Abortion funding limited for state-sponsored health programs." (

Republican Rep. Peggy Scott details that $1.5 Million in 2008, and $15,000 a year of state funds have been spent since 1995, because a key Minnesota Supreme Court decision allows for the poor to access state funds to use them on all forms of reproductive care including abortion. Since that ruling a different Supreme Court--a "Pawlenty Supreme Court"--would now weigh in on this issue.

Representative Steve Drazkowski, helps discusses the math a bit on HF 201 which contains five Democratic Co-Authors including Representatives Patty Fritz (DFL) 26B, Larry Hosch (DFL)14B, Mary Murphy (DFL) 06B, John Ward (DFL) 12A and Lyle Koenen (DFL) 20B.

Rep. Drazkowski figures all 72 Republican would be on board, and 18 Democrats would have to come along, but that isn't likely. Finally (DFL) Rep. Scott Dibble, explains his "Reproductive Privacy Act" probably doesn't even have a chance of a hearing in a Republican controlled house and senate. He says he wants to codify the right of women to decide.

Capitol Conversations - Political Panel Weighs In On Latest Budget Issues

TONIGHT - A panel of Political experts face off on the latest budget issues including news that the overall deficit has decreased by $1.5 billion dollars. Joining Host Marty Owings will be political analyst Sarah Janacek, conservative radio commentator Mitch Berg along with Former DFL State Representatives Karla Bigham and Paul Gardner. Capitol Conversations broadcasts every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. CST.

Producer Craig Stellmacher, Assoc. Producer Susan Maricle, Host Marty Owings.

Capitol Conversations - Two Minnesota Law Makers Square Off On The Crisis In Madison

Republican Representative Steve Drazkowski and DFL Representative Tim Mahoney face on the crisis in Madison, Wisconsin. They discuss and debate the issues surrounding the events taking place in the Wisonsin capitol after Republican Governor Scott Walker introduced a measure to eliminate collective bargaining for state workers and teachers. Democratic senators fled the capitol to prevent a vote on the measure. They left the state and are now in Illinois vowing not to return until the Governor agrees to concesions.

Then we hear from a Union Supporter, Craig Rice, who was at the Minnesota State Capitol to show his support for public workers in Wisconsin. After asking about forty people, we were unable to find a counter-protester or anti-union person among those gathered at the Capitol yesterday.

Correspondent Craig Stellmacher covered events in Madison over the weekend and will be presenting a special "Stellmacher Reports" which examines the situation from both sides.

MADISON PROTESTS - Both Sides Offer Very Different Views

Reporter Craig Stellmacher talks to protesters who support Governor Scott Walkers proposal to eliminate collective bargaining and then to Union supporters who want to defeat the measure. As both sides descended on the Wisconsin Capitol the police kept them mostly separated. Stellmacher talks to the protesters who engage in sometimes angry arguments and vigorous debate as they offer their ideas on how to end the standoff.

In the meantime Wisconsin Senate Democrats remain outside the State as they continue to defy Republican Governor Scott Walkers order to return to the Capitol. As the protests enter day six neither side seems willing to move.

SPECIAL COVERAGE - Madison Protestors Square Off

Watch live streaming video from mncapnews at

DAY 5 of the crisis in Wisconsin - Minnesota Capitol News Corespondent Craig Stellmacher LIVE on the scene at in Madison, Wisconsin. LIVE coverage throughout the day. As thousands protest Wisconsin Governor Scott Walkers (R) proposed to end some forms of collective bargaining for public employees. Senate Democrats fled the Capitol in an attempt to stop a vote on the controversial measure.

SPECIAL COVERAGE - Crisis in Wisconsin

Correspondent Craig Stellmacher captures highlights from a day of protests in Madison, Wisconsin. The crisis has entered day four without resolution. The Wisconsin Senate Democrats have fled the state in protest and thousands are gathering around the Capitol to protest the proposed elimination of collective bargaining by state workers. The measure would effect state employees and teachers unions among others. As the day winds down there are some unconfirmed reports that luminaries such as Vice President Joe Biden (D) and Sarah Palin may make appearances on Saturday.

Thissen And Buesgens Trade Shots Over The Budget

Host Marty Owings speaks with Representatives Paul Thissen and Mark Buesgens about Dayton's Budget Rollout earlier in the day. It doesn't take long for the two to disagree and at times the conversation became very contentious. Then Representative Erin Murphy joins the program to talk about health care reform, and then at the end a special Stellmacher Reports shows all the highlights from the 90 minute budget rollout earlier in the day, boiled down to 7 minutes of hard-hitting distilled highlights.

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