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Senators are considering a bill designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions from state buildings. "This proposal will result in a reduction of 11.1 million metric tons of carbon equivalent emissions by 2050, and will save Minnesotans approximately $296 million," Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon, DFL-Duluth, said. The Sustainable Buildings 2030 proposal would result in new buildings being essentially carbon neutral by the year 2030, she said. However, the bill only applies to buildings constructed with state money.
A legislative committee praised Gov. Tim Pawlenty's new health commissioner Monday, making Dr. Sanne Magnan's chances at final confirmation by the Democrat-controlled Senate favorable. The Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee approved Magnan's appointment. Linda Berglin, a top senator on health care and frequent Pawlenty adversary on health-care issues, enthusiastically backed Magnan. "Her experience, her background, her knowledge in a variety of areas is very timely in terms of the kinds of things we need to do moving forward as a state," said Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis.
A health-care reform proposal passed the Senate over some opposition. Senate Minority Leader David Senjem, R-Rochester, complained that a fee placed on health insurers and hospitals will hurt rural Minnesotans especially hard. It passed 39-23 on Monday after a preliminary vote last week. Among other things, the bill creates a statewide health improvement plan providing grants to local communities to curb obesity and tobacco use.
A Republican known as a fierce partisan when in the House earned praise from Senate Democrats Monday, giving every indication full Senate approval is likely as Gov. Tim Pawlenty's labor and industry commissioner. "I'm one who is personally satisfied with the job you have done," Senate President James Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul, told Steve Sviggum. The former House speaker, a Kenyon Republican, earned voice vote approval by Metzen's Business, Industry and Jobs Committee. "There were some people going in afraid that there could be some partisanship," Metzen told Sviggum.
Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki is not in the camp of those who think that "earmark" is a dirty word. Earmarks, according to the federal Office of Management and Budget, are funds Congress provides for projects or programs in which the congressional action "circumvents the merit-based or competitive allocation process, or specifies the location or recipient." But to Harycki, earmarks are what will provide funds to pay for a new St. Croix River crossing. Harycki was in Washington, D.C., last week for a conference sponsored by the National League of Cities.
A bill has been introduced at the state capitol that would put color-coded signs on Minnesota's worst bridges in an effort to educate Minnesota drivers about the condition of the bridges they use every day. The bill, introduced by District 67 Sen. Mee Moua, DFL-St.
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Five years after Congress approved the popular Do Not Call List to limit unwanted telephone calls, environmental groups and activists are calling for a national Do Not Mail List to slow the flood of junk mail. The group ForestEthics on Tuesday said that Americans receive about 105 billion pieces of junk mail every year -- about 392 pieces each year for each person in the country. The group said junk mail also contributes to identity theft and takes time to sort, shred and toss or recycle junk mail. But the group also claims junk mail is more than an inconvenience for consumers -- that it's
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants legislators to approve a plan transferring land in a northeastern Minnesota state park for a new state veterans' cemetery. Pawlenty on Tuesday proposed using 60 acres in Jay Cook State Park south of Duluth to construct Minnesota's second veterans' cemetery. The parcel in the 8,781-acre park would be transferred from the state Department of Natural Resources to the Veterans Affairs Department. Pawlenty said there is a lack of access to military veterans' cemeteries in northern Minnesota, as the state has an aging and growing population of veterans.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is on the offensive about a legislative investigation into the Aug. 1 Minneapolis bridge collapse. "I think, frankly, that somebody's concerned that somebody else's conclusion doesn't fit into their story line," Pawlenty said. The GOP governor said he would not name names, but it was clear he referred to Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, who last week claimed the federal bridge investigation is being tainted because its investigators are working with a private firm the state hired to run its own investigation.