Wisconsin Republicans want to kick investigative journalism center off UW campus

Categories: Legislature, Media

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Photos: Wisconsin Legislature, UW-Madison.
Rep. John Nygen (left) says the center can find housing elsewhere; Andy Hall, the nonprofit's executive director, says he was "blindsided" by the news.
Wisconsin Republicans want to boot a nonpartisan journalism watchdog organization off the UW-Madison campus.

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Paul Thissen wants to crack down on synthetic drugs

Categories: Drugs, Legislature

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Synthetic drugs are a perennial target in the Legislature.
Synthetic drugs are already illegal in Minnesota, but lawmakers believe there's more work to be done to "combat the spread of the sale" of these and other controlled substances across the state.

House Speaker Paul Thissen, D-Minneapolis, announced this week he's starting a committee to study the issue and recommend policies next legislative session.

SEE ALSO:
Bipartisan medical marijuana bill to be introduced today at Capitol
Minnesota House members vote to drug test themselves

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Dayton signs law to move mentally ill offenders out of jail quicker

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The new law will move mentally ill offenders through the system quicker.
As of July 1, the state will be legally obligated to move mentally ill offenders out of jails within 48 hours of a judge signing a civil commitment order.

Designed to move people with mental illnesses to treatment quicker, the measure was included in the Health and Human Services omnibus bill passed by the Legislature this session, which Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law Thursday.

"It seemed like the best interest of the inmate had been forgotten," says bill author Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen. "This will ensure that we don't have anyone languishing without treatment in jail."

SEE ALSO:
Cover: Unfit for Trial
The In-Betweeners: Civil commitment loophole cycles out mentally ill offenders

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Watch the most compelling speech from the House gay marriage vote

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The Senate will vote on the gay marriage bill Monday.
On Thursday afternoon, the House voted 75-59 in favor of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

The tally came after a three-hour floor session. The bill was expected to pass, and many legislators wanted to put their mark on the historic moment with a few words.

SEE ALSO:
When will gay marriage be legal in Minnesota?
House passes gay marriage bill
Gay marriage amendment defeated in Minnesota


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Minnesota Senate fights over clothing tax

Categories: Legislature

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Taxes Committee Chair Rod Skoe says the tax plan could help wipeout the state's deficit; Dayton won't support any hike on middle- or lower-income families.
The DFL-controlled Senate will take up its $1.9 billion tax plan this afternoon in what we expect will be a grueling debate that could last well into the evening.

Among the most contentious proposals: repealing the state's tax exemption on clothing.

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Spinal cord bill dead in House and Senate

Categories: Legislature

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Photo: Tony Nelson for City Pages
Rodreick is already planning to reintroduce the bill next year.
It's been a frustrating week for Matthew Rodreick.

Committees in the House and Senate have released their budgets for health and human services programs, and a bill that would fund curative spinal cord injury research in Minnesota is absent from both. Rodreick originally brought the idea for the bill to Senate chief author Jeff Hayden, and has tirelessly lobbied for it over the past few months, even releasing a documentary to draw public support that featured Vikings punter Chris Kluwe spending a day in a wheelchair.

SEE ALSO:
COVER: Stalking the Blue Demon
Spinal cord bill supporters make final plea to legislators

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Spinal cord bill supporters make final plea to legislators

Categories: Legislature
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Photo: Tony Nelson.
Matthew and Gabe Rodreick posing for our January feature.
For supporters of a bill that would fund progressive spinal cord research in Minnesota, these next few days will be crucial in convincing legislators that their cause is worthy enough to make the cut.

As of this morning, the bill -- known as the Jack Jablonski/Gabe Rodreick Bill, after two young Minnesotans who suffered life-changing spinal cord injuries -- is not included in the Health and Human Services Finance budget in the House, authored by committee chair Rep. Tom Huntley, D-Duluth.

SEE ALSO:
Cover: Stalking the Blue Demon
Spinal cord injury bill passes first hurdle

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Gay marriage bill passes House, Senate committees. What's next?

Categories: GLBT, Legislature

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Photo: Youtube Screenshot.
Sen. Scott Dibble, chief author of the Senate bill, presenting a photo of a boy raised in a same-sex household in closing remarks.
As predicted by many, bills to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota passed key committees in the House and Senate Tuesday.

After almost three hours of testimonies and discussion, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-3 in favor of the bill just before 3 p.m. The House Civil Law Committee followed suit a few hours later, moving the bill forward by 10-7 vote.

SEE ALSO:
-COVER: When will gay marriage be legal in Minnesota?
-Watch: Senate, House committees vote on gay marriage

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Watch: Senate, House committees vote on gay marriage

Categories: GLBT, Legislature

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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.

SEE ALSO:
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
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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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