Political notebook: Minnesota lawmakers take weeklong break
ST. PAUL - Minnesota lawmakers begin a weeklong Passover-Easter break this afternoon with nearly 7,000 bills left undebated. If legislators were to consider every bill that has been introduced in the current two-year session, they would take 233 ...
ST. PAUL - Minnesota lawmakers begin a weeklong Passover-Easter break this afternoon with nearly 7,000 bills left undebated.
If legislators were to consider every bill that has been introduced in the current two-year session, they would take 233 votes every weekday until adjourning in May.
But legislators will not return April 6 and begin debating all of those measures. Some of the bills were folded into larger measures known as omnibus bills. Others didn't have the votes to pass out of a committee. And many were introduced just to show constituents back home that lawmakers were listening to their concerns, knowing the bills would go nowhere.
In the two-year session (bills filed in the first year remain alive in the second year), 7,060 bills have been introduced and not quite 200 were signed into law.
Even if lawmakers do not plan to take 233 votes a day, they have been busy. Senators debated 42 bills on Wednesday
and 43 on Thursday. And Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, promises 105 votes on Monday, although senators already have debated most of the bills.
House and Senate leaders say they cannot find a previous session that accomplished more at this point.
Speeding it up
Rural Minnesota will receive $4.8 million to speed up Internet access.
Federal stimulus measures are sending the money to help 80 counties with broadband education, training and technical assistance.
"As a country, we have ensured that every American has access to telephone service and electricity - we must now do the same for broadband Internet access," said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. "This project will ensure that rural communities throughout Minnesota have the training and tools necessary to utilize broadband technology."
Klobuchar said up to 2,500 people may be trained under the grant. About 1,000 refurbished computers will be given to low-income Minnesotans.
Republican-turned-Independence Party candidate Tom Horner says he is happy with his campaign.
Horner points to many events, fundraisers and get-togethers to support the public relations executive.
"Fundraising is on target - although the goals grow more aggressive every week," Horner wrote to supporters. "The budget
for the campaign is $2.5 million - a record amount for an Independence Party candidate, but a target we can and must reach."
One of the biggest problems Independence candidates traditionally face is that they raise far less money than Democrats and Republicans. And money means votes in most elections.
"I know that in these difficult economic times, a political contribution isn't high on most people's lists," Horner wrote. "I'm hoping you will find some room in your budget to make a contribution and help build a bright future for Minnesota, for each of us and for our kids and grandkids. It's that important."
T-Paw, Palin, Bachmann
Gov. Tim Pawlenty will join former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann at an April 7 rally.
The Republican Party will sponsor the event and is giving away tickets. More than 7,000 tickets already have been handed out.
The afternoon rally will be at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Ironically, Palin beat Pawlenty out to be Sen. John McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential election.
Passover begins at sundown today, but the Minnesota House and Senate do not agree on how much time Jews need to prepare.
The House plans to adjourn at 2 p.m., allowing what House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher said is enough time for Jews to prepare. But the Senate plans to adjourn at 3 p.m.
In some years, lawmakers have failed to meet their sundown deadline, let alone leave time for Jewish legislators to drive home and prepare for the celebration.
Ventura on video
Not many candidates can promote having a video of former Gov. Jesse Ventura on their campaign Web sites.
But Independence Party governor candidate Rob Hahn can.
His site, www.robbobforgov.com , features a conversation with Ventura, who is granting rare interviews as he promotes a new book.
Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.