CapitolWatch - January 26, 2009

01/26/2009           Attorneys           Firm News           Events


In This Issue:


Editor's Corner

by Peter J. Coyle


The broad outline of the challenges confronting Minnesota during the current legislative session were defined by two separate but related events recently held at the capitol: Governor Tim Pawlenty's State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature and a presentation of the findings of the State Budget Trends Study Commission.  Neither identified specific solutions to the projected $5 billion budget deficit, though they confirmed the magnitude of the challenges that lie ahead.


Minnesota: A Biodiesel Frontrunner
By Karin O. Holt


Other states are taking note of Minnesota’s rapidly expanding biodiesel industry.  In May, the state biodiesel mandate will increase from 2 percent to 5 percent.  Current production levels show that we have the capacity to exceed this threshold. 


Low-Carbon Fuel Standards and Environmental Permitting Reform
by Peder A. Larson


State budget problems, climate change concerns and state job losses create the best situation ever to test the principle that environmental protection and economic development are complimentary goals.  This week the legislature had it’s first hearing on a climate change bill—a Low Carbon Fuel Standard for transportation fuels--and it took a big room to hold all the interested parties.  Coming soon could be a serious effort to revise Minnesota’s environmental review and permitting system.  


Shared Services Proposal Brings Schools to the Table
by Julie L. Perrus


One of the first bills introduced this session in the Minnesota House has been dubbed the “New Minnesota Miracle,” a proposal by Representative Mindy Greiling and others to reform the education finance system in Minnesota.  However, that isn’t the education bill that’s being talked about most right now at the capitol.  Instead, Senator Terri Bonoff and Representative Ryan Winkler’s proposal to mandate that school districts participate in shared services has raised concerns among multiple groups involved in K-12 education.



Welcome to Your Health Care Home
by Marnie S. Moore-Lindman


If you are currently unfamiliar with the term Health Care Home, that should change soon. Health Care Homes played a dominant role in the 2008 health care reform legislation and continue to be a major area of focus in 2009.


Overheard at the Capitol:

“I see a handout on my desk about farmers tilling up wetlands.  First of all, no one’s tilling anything right now in Minnesota.”  Rep. Al Juhnke on the House Floor, January 22nd, arguing against the need to suspend the rules and pass a bill repealing the 2008 changes to the Green Acres law.








Minnesota Senate:

Minnesota House of Representatives:

Office of the Governor, Tim Pawlenty:

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.



This alert is provided as a service to our clients and firm associates.  While the information provided in this publication is believed to be accurate, it is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice.

January 26 



Contact our Government Relations Attorneys:


Peter J. Coyle

Email 952.896.3214


Karin O. Holt

Email 952.896.3295


Email 952.896.3257


Marnie Falk
Email 952.896.3377


Julie L. Perrus

Email 952.896.3308


Email 952.896.3205