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Minnesota's unique tri-partisan government was tested during the legislative session of 2001. A philosophically-divided government debated a state budget, the state budget surplus, taxes, higher education and more. In the end, lawmakers needed a special session to finish their work.

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Midmorning wraps up Session 2001
MPR's Katherine Lanpher hosts a call-in look at the session, with listeners venting about or applauding the work of the Legislature. Minneapolis Star Tribune Capitol reporter Dane Smith is a guest. Listen. Midmorning - 7/02/01

The view from the Capitol
MPR's Capitol reporter Michael Khoo joins MPR's Gary Eichten for a wrap-up of the legislative session. Listen. Midday - 7/02/01

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See images from our 2001 political scrapbook, and hear the stories behind them. Stop by often for updates.

Spin Cycle
Get the latest "spin" on Minnesota politics with Spin Cycle, from Minnesota Public Radio and

The Budget

Learn more about Gov. Ventura's proposed budget and spending priorities in our special section.

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Session Highlights

Health and Human Services
A bill providing $7 billion for health and human services programs passed the House and Senate by wide margins, but the final vote totals don't reflect the contentious negotiations that led to an agreement on the bill. It will have broad implications for how the state treats its most vulnerable residents - the elderly, the sick and the very young.

Higher Education
One of the most contentious issues of this legislative session was the debate over how much to spend for public colleges and universities. Gov. Ventura said the state couldn't afford to give everyone all the money they wanted. Some lawmakers say the governor made a big mistake and is shortchanging the state's economic development engine.

K-12 Education
The tone for the debate over K-12 education spending was set back in January, when Gov. Ventura proposed a lean budget that teachers and school administrators said shortchanged Minnesota's students.Although the House and Senate more than doubled the amount of new money for schools that Ventura initially proposed, many of those who objected say $381 million in new spending is still not enough.
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The decision by the Minnesota Legislature to largely take local property taxes out of school funding will mean massive property-tax cuts for home and business owners. The tax bill also fundamentally changes Minnesota tax policy, by shifting some of the property-tax burden from businesses to homes. Supporters say the changes will make Minnesota businesses more competitive, and force local governments to be more accountable for their spending. Critics worry the sum total of the property tax changes will be property tax increases for people who can least afford to pay.

Even supporters of the $3.6 billion transportation funding package approved by the Legislature and governor say they're disappointed it doesn't do more for roads in the state. The bill does provide a substantial one-time boost for mass transit in the Twin Cities.

For additional stories, see the Session 2001 archive.