Minnesota Session

2009 proved to be one of the most challenging sessions yet for Minnesota lawmakers, with the legislature and the Governor clashing over how to balance the budget. Governor Tim Pawlenty had originally advocated borrowing $1 billion, a plan that met with near universal disdain in the House, which voted 130-2 against. Lawmakers held listening sessions throughout the state to hear from over 10,000 citizens on how best to handle an unprecedented deficit of $6.4 billion. Ultimately, after the legislature passed two omnibus budget bills including a balanced budget and failed to overcome the Governor's veto,  Pawlenty decided to use his unilateral power of unallotment to slash $2.7 billion of funding over the next two years, hitting cities, counties and health services the hardest. 

Path Breaking Voter Registration Modernization Bill is Vetoed by Minnesota Governor Pawlenty

Minnesota legislators passed a landmark voter registration modernization bill recently that would, absent a veto, have registered or updated the registration of voters automatically when they applied for a driver's license, learner's permit or ID card.  It would also use information in motor vehicle and corrections databases to verify and maintain voter rolls.  This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Steve Simon and Sen. John Marty, would have made Minnesota the first state in the nation to proactively register voters, and made it among the most advanced in maintaining clean, accurate voter rolls.  The bill was designed to build on the state's already first-in-the-nation portability bill, which requires automatic updates to voter registrations based on changes of address.

However, Governor Pawlenty vetoed this historic legislation last week...

Colorado and Indiana Legislatures Pass Internet Voter Registration Bills

In the final week of their legislative sessions, the Colorado and Indiana legislatures gave final approval to bills allowing residents to register to vote online.  Colorado Senators passed HB 1160 and Indiana House Members passed HB 1346; both bills allow residents with driver's licenses or state-issued ID cards to register to vote online.  The legislation has been sent to the governor in both states.  In Colorado the governor is expected to sign the bill, while Indiana's governor has not indicated support or opposition.