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

Lawsuit Seeks To Restore Cuts To General Assistance Medical Care - PLUS No New Progress in the Negotiations

March 4, 2010
State Capitol - By Marty Owings

A Lawsuit was filed in Ramsey County Thursday that would extend GAMC for an additional month, in the hope it would give Law Makers and the Governor enough time to negotiate a solution that would restore the program. In addition, the lawsuit challenges Governor Pawlenty's authority to unilaterally unallot money from the program. The program is set to expire on April 1 and without any agreement between the DFL controlled Legislature and the Governor, many see the Courtroom as their only recourse in the fight.

Bakk Proposes Sales Tax on Clothing

State Capitol - March 4, 2010
By Tanner Curl

DFL gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Tom Bakk has proposed to remove the sales tax exemption on clothing starting July 1. According to Bakk, such a move would generate $120 million annually. This revenue would be designated to help repay schools part of the $1.7 billion shift in payments Gov. Tim Pawlenty implemented last year to balance the current budget. "This proposed bill is an opportunity to make an investment in our children and in our future," Bakk said in statement.

Republican Senate Minority Leader David Senjam, along with Gov. Pawlenty, denounced the proposal. "Minnesota families are currently overburdened with excessive taxes and Senator Bakk’s call for new tax increases is simply the wrong approach to jump-starting Minnesota’s economy," Senjam said.

Read more about Bakk's proposal after the jump.

Law Maker Interview Series - Sen Mike Parry (R) and Rep Larry Howes (R) - Full Audio


March 4, 2010
State Capitol - By Marty Owings

I sat down with newly elected Republican Senator Mike Parry from Owatonna to discuss his first few weeks in office. You may recall that Parry filled the seat occupied by former long time Senator Dick Day who resigned to become a Lobbyist for racino's. Parry has some interesting things to say about his first weeks in office and touches on the controversy surrounding his tweets during the special election.

My second interview of the day was with Republican Representative Larry Howes from Walker, Minnesota. Howes has recently been very outspoken about separating politics from policy and has been critical of his own party at times. In this interview, Howes discusses why he thinks partisanship has become so prevalent, and you may be surprised at who he thinks is responsible. Howes addresses how long he hopes to serve and a small legacy he's proud to be leaving behind.

GAMC Veto Override Fails On Party Line Vote - But Bill Is Still Alive - VIDEO

March 1, 2010
State Capitol - By Marty Owings

The Minnesota House today attempted to override Governor Tim Pawlenty's (R) veto of the General Assistance Medical Care program. After nearly two hours of debate, the measure was defeated along party lines. The DFL controlled House needed at least three Republicans to support the vote, but none did.

At one point, Republican Larry Howes said he would be willing to vote for an override if negotiations were allowed to continue for 48 hours. DFL Law Makers including the bill's chief author, Erin Murphy said they needed to act today in order to avoid auto-enrollment for GAMC recipients in MN Care, a program they say won't serve the needs of recipients.

MCN Poll Finds 81% Support GAMC Veto Override - Legislature Likely To Take Up Vote Monday

February 28, 2009
State Capitol - By Marty Owings

A Minnesota Capitol News poll shows 81% support for a Legislative override of Governor Tim Pawlenty's (R) veto of General Assistance Medical Care. The poll asked voters, "Should the Legislature override Governor Pawlenty's Veto of GAMC". The poll collected 165 votes during its two day run, starting Saturday February 27th and ending Monday morning March 1st, with the following results:

Yes 145 votes (81%)

No 35 votes (19%)

And then this, late Sunday night - media recieved the following from Andrew Wittenborg, Director of Public Affairs for the DFL House.

"After numerous meetings throughout the weekend between Representatives Murphy, Huntley, Senator Berglin and the Governor's staff, there has been no agreement reached on a GAMC fix. No additional meetings are scheduled between now and tomorrow's floor Session. I would anticipate a vote to override the Governor's veto of GAMC."

Should The Legislature Over Ride Govenor Pawlenty's Veto Of GAMC - Weekend Poll - Vote To See Results

81% (145 votes)
19% (35 votes)
No Opinion
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 180
Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

First Ever Minnesota Hearing On Same Sex Marriage - Audio and Video Highlights

February 25, 2010
State Capitol - By Marty Owings

Early this week, the first hearing of its kind took place at the Minnesota Capitol. The hearing heard testimony on civil unions, also known as same sex marriage. Law Makers heard and questioned testifiers from both sides of the issue. Many in the LGBT community considered the hearing a watershed moment in their struggle for equality. Here are some audio & video highlights of the hearing:

Here is an interview with Civil Union opponent Professor Teresa Collett:

General Assistance Medical Care - The Audio Files - Law Makers Speak Out

February 26, 2010
State Capitol - By Marty Owings

The fight over General Assistance Medical Care has taken some interesting turns in the past week. A bill authored by Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL) with Republican input was passed in the House by a vote of 125 to 9. That vote represented more than 80% of GOP Law Makers who supported the measure. Later that night the Governor used his veto power to kill the bill. The next morning, GOP Law Makers who had previously supported the measure, including the House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers, announced to the media that they were now supporting the Governor's veto.

Senator Steve Dille (R) comments on why he thinks it's politics over principle:
Click Here For The Audio.

Senator Mee Moua (DFL) comments on why she believes the GAMC program will be saved:

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