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

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:

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=ccrhf1671.html&session=ls86

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.

EMERGENCY EXECUTIVE ORDER 10-04

DECLARING A STATE OF EMERGENCY

IN THE STATE OF MINNESOTA

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.

Pawlenty Axes The Bonding Bill by More than $300 Million Dollars

March 15, 2010
State Capitol - By Marty Owings

Governor Pawlenty kept his promise to Law Makers and used his veto authority to slash hundreds of millions of dollars from the Bonding Bill. Pawlenty stated in a letter to Legislators that, “As usual, I have been left to reduce spending within the bill to an affordable level. The DFL-controlled legislature seems incapable of prioritizing projects or simply saying no. So, I have again done it for you.”

Some of the areas the Governor cut:

$43.5 million - Transit Capital Improvement
$42.3 million - St. Cloud State University
$28 million - Mayo Civic Center
$25 million - RIM Conservation Reserve

Interview with MN Justice Paul Anderson on the Resignation of Chief Justice Eric Magnuson

March 14, 2010
State Capitol - Marty Owings

This is a video clip sent to us courtesy of TheUptake http://theuptake.org which contains a very interesting interview with Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson. The interview was conducted by Access To Democracy's Alan Miller. Anderson is commenting on the significance of Magnuson's resignation. Governor Pawlenty will needt to appoint a replacement for Magnuson in his last few months in office.

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Governor Pawlenty Will Not Veto Bonding Bill, But Line Item Veto's Very Possible

Rainy Capitol
March 10, 2010
State Capitol - Marty Owings

The Governor today indicated he was willing to work with the current bonding bill, but reserved the right to use his veto power to trim down the size. Pawlenty told the Fargo Forum that, "The bonding bill incorporates most of our key priorities. It's still too large but it's a bill we can work with and we'll just have to slim it down to something that is more reasonable and responsible and affordable." Pawlenty was not specific about what exactly he would be cutting from the bill.

Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL) who is the Capitol Investment Finance Chair, indicated today that the current bill gives the Governor everything he requested. Hausman indicated that significant cuts were made to make the bill more palatable to the Governor.

A Few Bills To Keep An Eye On

March 10, 2010
State Capitol - Marty Owings

Here are just a few bills moving through the Capitol that have gotten our attention that you may find interesting. Here is the list, including the bills author and a note about what is interesting and or controversial about the Legislation:

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HF891 (Champion) - Expungement law expanded and modified, courts authorized to modify or suspend collateral sanctions under certain circumstances, and situations limited in which juvenile delinquency criminal record is publicly available.

A small piece of this bill contains a significant change. The law currently requires a law enforcement or government entity to obtain a Judges permission before opening up expunged records. This bill would eliminate the requirement to get a Judges permission.

Status: Bill will be heard on the house floor.

Here are Rep.Champions audio comments regarding this bill:

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