Watch: Senate, House committees vote on gay marriage

Categories: GLBT, Legislature

Today's hearings could be a crucial step in answering that question.

Update [2:55]: After almost three hours of testimony and discussion, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill with a 5-3 vote. The House committee will vote later this evening.

It's a pivotal day in Minnesota's fight over the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The House Civil Law Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee will both hear testimony and eventually take up votes on gay marriage bills today, and if the AP has done its math correctly, the smart money is on both bills moving forward.

COVER: When will gay marriage be legal in Minnesota?
Strib poll: Most Minnesotans oppose gay marriage

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Phyllis Kahn and Dean Urdahl want Minnesota to invest in the movie business

Categories: Film, Legislature
Paul Battaglia
Rep. Phyllis Kahn advocates for Minnesota ownership in motion pictures, in front of AMMP co-founders Ralph Winter, Robert Schwartz, Denise Gardner, with Rep. Dean Urdahl at right.
In 1995, Hollywood shot nine feature films in Minnesota, spending $128 million on in-state production costs. By 2007, that number had dropped to a single film, and $7 million.

On Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) and Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Action Township), announced their plans to try to bring some of the movie money back.

But they're not just interested in the windfall of production spending. They want Minnesota to invest in movies directly, and when the films do well, to get a cut of the profits.

See Also:
- The 12 best movies filmed in Minnesota
- Mary Franson, Phyllis Kahn introduce bill to legalize industrial hemp production

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Majority of Minnesotans oppose gay marriage; college Republicans leader comes out in favor

A question with no easy answer.
A surprising majority of Minnesotans don't want our state to be the next to legalize same-sex marriage, according to a new poll, but that doesn't include the leader of the college Republicans.

Ryan Lyk, chairman of the Minnesota College Republicans, released a statement this morning in support of legislators lifting the ban on gay marriage. Writes Lyk:

-COVER: When will gay marriage be legal in Minnesota?
-Gay marriage amendment defeated in Minnesota

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Minnesota budget forecast shows slimmer deficit

Categories: Legislature

Photo: Wiki.
Some optimistic fiscal news, for a change.
Minnesota's budget deficit is looking about $463 million slimmer than estimated last fall, according to a new forecast.

Minnesota will be one of the states least affected by sequestration, but it's still going to suck

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Mary Franson, Phyllis Kahn introduce bill to legalize industrial hemp production

hemp image via Wikimedia Commons
Yesterday, Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) and Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) teamed up to introduce a bill that would develop and regulate industrial hemp production in Minnesota.

As it stands now, hemp -- marijuana's big, non-psychoactive sister  -- is banned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as a controlled substance. But some states, notably North Dakota, have thumbed their noses at the feds and passed laws to license an industry, though they (mostly) continue to wait for a green light to actually grow the stuff.

If Franson and Kahn get their way, Minnesota will be next.

See Also:
- Agriculture: Hemp Jive
- From the archives: High Expectations: Paranoia causes the Legislature to do an about-face on industrial hemp production
- Mary Franson wins recount in belated MNGOP election night success story

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Legislative auditor: 88 law enforcement personnel misused database in 2012

The Dept. of Public Safety hasn't provided adequate training for all law enforcement, the report found.
The state should increase its monitoring efforts and be more proactive when it comes to policing law enforcement abuse of motor vehicle records, according to a new report released by the legislative auditor's office.

-Cover: Is Anne Marie Rasmusson too hot to have a driver's license?
-Lawsuits: Dept of Human Services, DNR employees breached private data

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Spinal cord injury bill passes first hurdle

Categories: Legislature

Photo: Tony Nelson for City Pages
Matthew and Gabe Rodreick testified at Monday's hearing.
A bill that scientists say could be key to furthering spinal cord injury research in Minnesota passed its first committee hearing Monday afternoon.

Introduced by Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, the proposed legislation would designate $8 million from the state's general fund to curative spinal cord and traumatic brain injury research over a period of two years. Among those testifying at the Health, Human Services and Housing hearing Monday was the bill's namesake, Gabe Rodreick, who sustained a devastating spinal cord injury while body surfing in Costa Rica more than four years ago.

SEE ALSO: Sen. Jeff Hayden introduces spinal cord injury research bill

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Sen. Jeff Hayden introduces spinal cord injury research bill

Photo: Tony Nelson, City Pages.
The $4 million would go toward curative spinal cord research in Minnesota.
Sen. Jeff Hayden introduced a bill at a capitol press conference this afternoon that would appropriate $4 million in state funds to be used for curative spinal cord research in Minnesota.

The subject of this week's cover story, the bill was inspired by the story of Gabe Rodreick, a 20-year-old from south Minneapolis who suffered a devastating spinal cord injury while body surfing in Costa Rica. The bill is named after Rodreick and Jack Jablonski, a Benilde-St. Maraget's student injured during a hockey game a year ago.

"I used to be a piano player," said Rodreick at the press conference. "To be able to play piano again would be a dream."

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Law enforcement wants Legislature to take up mental health, gun violence

Categories: Legislature

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek (left) and Judge Jay Quam want Minnesota lawmakers to take on the intersection of gun violence and mental illness.
A coalition led by Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek demanded in a capitol press conference Wednesday that lawmakers take up reform on the intersection of the mentally ill and "extreme gun violence" in Minnesota.

COVER: Civil commitment leaves mentally ill languishing
Judge presses Dept of Human Services on civil commitment troubles

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Protestors converge on the state Capitol for opening day of the legislative session [IMAGES]

The cardboard sign on the right reads, "Make the Safety Net Safe."
The Minnesota Legislature kicked off the 2013-2014 biennium today at noon. Which means that marching protestors arrived on the Capitol steps at 11:30.

See Also:
- Take Back the Capitol protests end today
- Cover: When will gay marriage be legal in Minnesota?
- Marijuana legalization bill could come before DFL-controlled legislature this session

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