After the dust clears today in St. Paul, it appears that Bemidji's needs have been heard by legislators and will be answered. Of course, politics are always in play and that's why it always seems to take to the last minute to resolve everything -- or in overtime sometimes as was the case last year -- but we'd like to believe that our community made the case and won on the merits of our requests. At any rate, with final votes expected sometime before 7 a.m.
As the end of the 2006 session of the Minnesota Legislature nears, the potential of leaving St. Paul without meaningful property tax relief looms large. With agreement still lacking on the session's top priority -- crafting a public works bill -- the Legislature could easily adjourn with a basketful of unfinished business. The Minnesota Supreme Court's decision earlier this week should have cleared the way for fast agreement on several spending issues, most notably how to spend a $317 million tax relief account.
Americans want to feel secure within the nation's borders, but they also want assurances that the ideals of America, the Land of Opportunity, is retained. President Bush, in his address to the nation on Monday night, gave those assur-ances in an attempt to break the congres-sional gridlock over immigration reforms that teeter between excessive and weak. The president laid out a thoughtful plan to increase patrols of our Southern border, an attempt to stem the tide of illegal entry into this nation, adding 6,000 more Border Patrol agents to the 12,000 already there.
The revelation late last week that the National Security Agency has been compiling a database of information on millions of Americans' everyday telephone calls is troubling and yet another indication that the Bush administration intends to keep on trampling over the privacy rights of American citizens for the sake of what it says is fighting terrorism. There is no doubt that just how unprepared we were on Sept. 11, 2001, forced us to take serious steps to provide homeland security.
This week marks the annual celebration of the start of Minnesota's fishing season. But this year takes on new meaning as the return of the walleye is celebrated in Lower and Upper Red Lake. After the walleye fishery collapsed, both the state of Minnesota and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa wisely imposed a moratorium on walleye harvesting in 1997.
The U.S. House again on Wednesday voted to widen the federal deficit by giving tax breaks to the wealthy and crumbs to the middle income. The Republican-led House's mantra for tax cuts continues, giving President Bush an election year victory to campaign this fall, saying he and the GOP Congress delivered tax cuts. Now there's nothing wrong with tax cuts -- we all want a little more check at the end of the month. But what worries us is the bill our children and grandchildren will get, plus that the majority of those getting the tax breaks don't need them.
For some reason, Republicans want to blame government for the high price of gasoline. At least, so it seems. A couple dozen state Republican lawmakers, led by Rep. Paul Kohls, R-Victoria, said Tuesday they would author legislation yet this session to have the state's 20-cent-a-gallon gas tax "blink off" for six months, from July 1 to Dec. 31, to help motorists who now are paying around $2.75 a gallon for gasoline. The move comes on the heels of U.S. House Republicans -- led by Rep. Mark Kennedy of Minnesota, the leading GOP contender for retiring DFL U.S. Sen.
Minnesota has no greater asset than its lakes and woods, fields and streams, flora and fauna. The protection of our valuable natural resources should rank at the top of everyone's list. Yet, in recent years, because of a rush of other issues demanding attention and with a severe lack of financial resources to take care of all of our needs, the environment has taken a back seat.
It took only a week, but the Minnesota Legislature completed efforts Thursday which could result in the most meaningful measure to surface from the Legislature in years. On Thursday, with a 66-0 vote, the Senate sent to Gov. Tim Pawlenty a bill setting standards to reduce mercury emissions, joining the House which passed its bill unanimously on Monday.
With the Minnesota House approving legislation Wednesday to authorize a new Minnesota Twins stadium, it appears the Minnesota Legis-lature is on the verge of something that has eluded it for 10 years -- a new baseball stadium. Not only that, by the time the dust clears May 22, we may have three stadiums in the works. The first question we ask: Is it proper? Next: Do we have the time?