Monthly Archives: April 2009

C-Sections as Preexisting Conditions

Sen. John Marty (DFL) of the Minnesota Senate introduced a bill today that would force insurance companies to drop their clause that states that the second c-section a woman has is considered a preexisting condition and will not be covered, or covered at a high premium. The bill passed. Continue Reading →

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Same-Sex Rights: MN Senate Debates

The MN Senate debated a bill today that would allow same-sex couples the right to carry out their spouses final wishes, as well as sue in case of wrongful death. After the discussion quickly turned to the definition of marriage, the bill passed the Senate. Continue Reading →

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Ginsberg Press Conference On Coleman MN Supreme Ct. Filing With Hang-ups

Spokesman-attorney Ben Ginsberg explains the brief that former US Senator Norm Coleman filed with the Minnesota Supreme Court today supporting Coleman’s appeal of Al Franken’s victory in the US Senate race.  
For some reason, the Coleman campaign decided to hang up on The UpTake five times during the open press conference call. Spokesperson Tom Erickson invited the media to contact him with any more questions. We’ve contacted him about the problem and are waiting for a response. Continue Reading →

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“Swine Flu” Case Confirmed In Minnesota

Tests from the Centers For Disease Control have confirmed that a person at Rocori Middle School in Cold Spring, Minnesota has the H1N1 virus also known as “swine flu”. The school will be closed until next Tuesday. Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Sanne Magnan and Rocori Superintendent Scott Staska all answer questions from the press. This is an audio feed of the news conference. Continue Reading →

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ReCapitol Minnesota 4/29/09

Senior Political Correspondent Noah Kunin gives a recap of the day’s legislative activity in the Minnesota Legislature. While the MN House looked at funding for green jobs, the MN Senate took on green medicine – medical marijuana.  
  Continue Reading →

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Cold Spring, MN Middle School Closes After Probable Swine Flu Case

News Conference and press release from Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s office
A lab specimen from a Minnesota influenza patient has been submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be tested for the H1N1 novel influenza virus, also referred to as swine flu.  The individual is expected to make a full recovery and did not require hospitalization.  “We expected to have cases of the H1N1 virus in Minnesota and we have plans and preparations in place to respond appropriately and aggressively,” Governor Pawlenty said.  “This is certainly cause for concern, but not panic.”
 The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is characterizing the case as “probable” – meaning that the MDH lab has confirmed the virus as type A influenza, but the strain cannot be identified using lab tests available to MDH. The individual was linked with Rocori Middle School in Cold Spring. Both Rocori Middle School and St. Continue Reading →

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Turning “Lawbreakers Into Good People” With A Bad 35E Law

Representative Mark Buesgens (R- Mankato) probably meant something different, but he states not once, but twice that keeping the speed limit at 45 mph along 35E south of downtown St. Paul will “turn lawbreakers into good people.” The author of the proposal, Representative Pat Garafalo (R-Apple Valley) steps in to clarify that it’s really the other way around.  
Either way, the speed limit on 35E stays the same as the proposal is defeated 62 to 72, sparing the State of Minnesota a potentially very expensive lawsuit so Representative Garafalo can shave a few seconds off his commute from Apple Valley to the Capitol. Continue Reading →

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Sen Pogemiller Cuts Down Pawlenty’s Budget Credibility

If you watched Governor Pawlenty’s news conference with reporters last week, you heard him say in no uncertain terms that his budget plan cut more spending than the DFL Senate.  Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller begs to differ and made his point while grilling the Governor’s Finance Commissioner Tom Hanson on Tuesday.  
  Continue Reading →

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Gov’s Budget Document “Not Ready For Prime Time”

Governor Pawlenty’s Finance Commissioner faced the wrath of the House and Senate leaders on Tuesday for the Governor’s mischaractorizaton of the state’s budget.  Commissioner Tom Hanson is grilled by Speaker of The House Margaret Anderson Kelliher about the accuracy of a budget forecast Hanson gave the Governor.   Continue Reading →

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Rep Brod (R) Ruled Out Of Order

Representative Laura Brod tries to use a point of parliamentary inquiry to raise rhetorical questions about the tax bill during debate on the Minnesota House floor. House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher is diplomatic at first and then finally rules Representative Brod out of order. Continue Reading →

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Impassioned Speech Dispels Myths About Tax Bill Before MN House Passage

Republicans have been saying the House Revenue bill will tax every man woman and child.  It’s a great slogan, but it’s false according to House Tax Committee Chair Representative Ann Lenczewski (DFL).  Minutes before the Minnesota house takes a vote on the bill on Saturday evening, Representative Lenczewski gives an impassioned speech about why the bold tax reform in the bill is needed.  
Lenczewski invokes the name of President Reagan pointing out that his tax reform did much the same that this bill does.  It cleans away many tax laws that are outdated.  
Lenczewski did not shy away from calling this a revenue producing bill.  She said it is fairly asking people who are “not down” to chip in and help.  That list of people who are not down include those making more than $250,000 a year and those who have a high income with a million dollar mortgage. She also pointed to Minnesota’s tax incidence study that shows the wealthiest Minnesotans pay a smaller proportion of their income in total taxes than the middle class or the poor.  
It’s a myth that “cuts don’t hurt people, taxes do” said Lenczewski.  She called the bill a document of “principle.” Continue Reading →

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Republican Attempt To Derail Light Rail Defeated

One of the common criticisms of public transportation is that it isn’t sustainable because it is government subsidized.  Representive Tom Emmer (R) recycles that argument on the Minnesota House floor as he attempts to limit funding to the Hiawatha Light Rail (or as his colleague Representative Mark Buesgens puts it, “choo-choo trains”).  
Representative Emmer fails to mention that without government subsidies, highways would not be sustainable either.  
Emmer’s attempt to derail light rail (pun intended) is defeated on a voice vote. Continue Reading →

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Republican Buesgens’ Bizarre Highway Sign Proposal

Do you drive in the left lane and have a hard time seeing signs that are posted on the right hand side of the road?  Representative Mark Buesgens feels your pain.  Most members of the Minnesota House however, don’t.  
Pity.  If Representative Buesgens got his way, Minnesota highways would be dotted with more signs, probably keeping local sign makers in business in this down economy.  
However, it isn’t economics that was motivating Buesgens.  It’s those slow “Iowageans” who won’t get out of the left lane.  He wants signs on the left hand side to tell them to move over.  
His amendment to the transportation finance bill was easily defeated 41-90. Continue Reading →

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Speeding While Passing OKed By MN House

Minnesotans will be allowed to temporarily exceed the speed limit to pass cars on the highway under a bill approved by the Minnesota House on Saturday.  The provision in the Transportation Bill drew criticism from Rep Tina Liebling (DFL) of Rochester who sought to have the speeding language dropped.  
You can hear audible groans in the House when she made that proposal.  
Representatives apparently did not want to go on the record as opposiing or supporting the speeding language and refused to have a roll call vote on it.  However, Liebling was joined by Rep Maria Ruud (DFL) of Minnetonka  and Rep Julie Bunn(DFL) of Lake Elmo  who both were concerned about the the number of teens who are killed in auto accidents.  
Rep. Tom Rukavina of Virginia authored the speeding language and defended it as improving public safety.  
The proposal to strip the speeding provision out of the transportaton bill was defeated on a voice vote. Continue Reading →

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