News & Features
Session 2002

Against the backdrop of declining state revenues, lawmakers will have to decide on making spending cuts. Social service experts are concerned that these will drastically affect services to the state's neediest. As in most legislative sessions, anti-abortion forces will likely attempt to attach legislation.


•Extending closing time at bars. Guests: Sen. Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis and Sen. Edward Oliver, R-Deephaven. Listen (Midmorning - 3/28/02)

•Should the state provide benefits to domestic partners? Listen. (Midmorning - 2/19/02)

•Abortion legislation. Listen. Rep. Tony Kielkucki - (Midday 1/29/02)

Life on the Bottom Rung

Welfare to Work (1998 MPR special)

Social Issues
    Domestic partner benefits - The House approved a contract for state workers, but eliminated a provision requiring the state to provide benefits for domestic partners. Gov. Ventura says he's done with the contracts. He says the House can re-negotiate with the unions. He says members seem to want to nullify an entire contract over 85 people getting benefits
     Abortion - Despite some early movement, the abortion issue ended up going nowhere. The Senate's budget-balancing bill was held up earlier in committee over a measure requiring women to wait 24 hours to get an abortion after receiving information on risks and alternatives. The restriction was stripped and the bill passed. The House supported the provision and the Senate was evenly divided. Abortion amendments were turned back several times in committees.
     Gambling - The luck has run out for supporters of a state-run casino. Stand-alone bills were handily rejected in the House and a key Senate chairman refused to hold hearings. An attempt to add an amendment to a stadium bill also failed.
Latest News at the Capitol

House passes state workers contract without same-sex benefits
Mar. 22 - Doing an apparent end-run around state bargaining law, the House passed a bill Friday adopting all parts of negotiated union contracts except a provision that would give health benefits to gay and lesbian partners of public employees. (More)

More Capitol Reports on Social Issues
Abortion issue tied to budget (3/12/02)
No gambling expansion (3/11/02)
Anti-abortion bill gains at Capitol (2/14/02)
Domestic deal breaker? (2/13/02)
The surrogate debate (2/7/02)
Guns, Gambling likely to spark legislative debate (1/24/02)
Rally marks abortion decision anniversary (1/24/02)
New leader, same agenda for MCCL
Senators back welfare extension