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

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Press Access At The Capitol

Capitol Night
April 10, 2010
State Capitol - By Marty Owings

This week David Brauer at wrote a lengthy piece on the battle for media access at the Capitol. Specifically the access in question is for the UpTake, which is a new media outlet best known for their coverage of the Senate recount trial between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. The Uptake applied for space in the Capitol Press Corps area which is located in the basement of the Capitol.

The problem started when the Rochester Post Bulletin complained in a letter to Capitol Administration, the people responsible for leasing space, that the UpTake was a partisan media organization. All the detail is included in Brauer's piece, you can check it out at the link below. I've included my response to the issue for our readers as well.

New Law Gives Say Back To Loved Ones Of Those That Have Died

Rep. Carolyn Laine - DFL and Supporters of "Gary's Bill"
April 7, 2010
State Capitol - By Marty Owings

As readers may or may not know, in Minnesota it’s always been the funeral industry that controls what happens to people after their death. They control everything from transportation, display and embalming and they have an obvious vested interest in keeping that control. However, they weren't able to defeat a bill allows individuals to control what happens to their loved one's body after death.

A bill passed yesterday in the House of Representatives gives those rights back to next-of-kin. The bill allows people to obtain permission to remove the body of a loved one from the place of death. It also modifies the rules for how the departed are transported and prepared for public viewing. It no longer requires immediate embalming; dry ice can now be used for preservation.

Law Makers Vote To End Program For Poor And Use The Money For Corporate Tax Breaks (Video and Audio included)

Rainy Capitol
April 2, 2010
Minnesota State Capitol
Marty Owings

This week at the Capitol, as Law Makers hurried to get their work done before the Easter break, the media hardly took notice when a $30 million dollar program for the poor was cut and the money was used for Corporate tax breaks. It was a page right out of the old Robin Hood story book, the difference here is that Robin Hood, in the form of the Legislature, robbed from the poor and gave to the rich.

Law Makers To Try Passing $300 Million In Cuts Before Break

March 28, 2010
State Capitol - By Marty Owings

Monday at the Capitol could be a big day if House Law Makers can get a bill (HF 2691) passed that will reduce the State deficit by $300 million dollars. Legislators will try to get it done before the scheduled Easter break. The bill is slated to cut in areas such as Higher Education, Public Safety, Environment, State Government and others. Here is a link to the conference committee report with highlights and numbers:

Other bills on the House Calendar today:

H. F. 3038, (Authors: Olin; Anderson, B.; Johnson; Emmer; Shimanski and others. Companion to S. F. No. 2709.) A bill for an act relating to corrections; modifying inmate payment of room and board to include any time credited for time served;

Ramsey County Gang Database Under Fire by Sen. Mee Moua (DFL) - Full Video

March 18, 2010
State Capitol - By Marty Owings

Governor Declares State Of Emergency - In Anticipation Of Flooding

March 16, 2010
State Capitol - By Marty Owings

Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) declared a State of Emergency to address potential flooding in Minnesota for the following counties Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Chippewa, Clay, Dakota, Goodhue, Hennepin, Kittson, Lac Qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lyon, Marshall, Nicollet, Norman, Polk, Ramsey, Redwood, Renville, Scott, Sibley, Swift, Traverse, Washington, Wilkin, Wright, and Yellow Medicine.

The Executive Order declaring an emergency, allows the Governor to activate the National Guard to assist in flood control and relief services. The Governor already requested assistance from the Federal Government in a letter to President Obama last week.

Text of the Governors Declaration.




Governor's Unallotment Power Goes Before the Minnesota Supreme Court

March 16, 2010
State Capitol - By Marty Owings

A lawsuit filed by three low-income people is challenging the Governor's power to unallot. The suit was filed last year after Governor Pawlenty used his unallotment authority to balance the budget, cutting among other programs, funding for a state nutrition program used by the poor.

The case basically boils down to how much power a Governor has to balance the budget in times of fiscal crisis. The unallotment power was established to allow a Governor to unallot or basically remove spending from the state budget during "fiscal" emergencies. That's the simple explanation.

Attorneys arguing against the Governor's unallotment say that the Governor is essentially ignoring the original Legislative intent of the unallotment statutes. They argue that the authority to unallot does not provide the Governor "Legislative" powers and that Pawlenty over-stepped his authority.

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