On Sunday, Representative Lyndon Carlson and Representative Phyllis Kahn will achieve 15,000 days of service in the Minnesota House of Representatives. They still have over 500 days to go to beat Representative Willard Munger's record in the House. And three legislators have even longer service when their House and Senate service is combined.
Representative Carlson could claim seniority over Representative Kahn if we were tracking their service by minutes--he was sworn in before she was!
Anyone who follows the actions of the Minnesota Legislature for a few years quickly discovers that some issues recycle through the legislature on a regular basis. One of those topics is… recycling - and specifically, “bottle bills”, or beverage container deposit-return legislation. Various forms of such legislation have been introduced in Minnesota back to at least 1969 when bills were introduced to prohibit sales of beverages in nonreturnable bottles.
Beverage container deposit programs require that a fee be added to the cost of each container; the fee is refunded when the container is returned for recycling. Oregon was the first state to pass such a law in 1971. Currently 10 states have these programs including neighboring Iowa.
Proponents say the programs increase recycling rates, decrease litter, save energy, and result in a net increase in jobs. Opponents cite the costs of establishing and operating such a program, loss of jobs in the existing recycling system, inconvenience to consumers, and financial impacts on retailers, especially near bordering states.
In 2013, the Minnesota Legislature requested that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (PCA) examine and report on issues surrounding the development of such a program in Minnesota. That report, Recycling Refund System Cost Benefit Analysis, was released in January 2014. Another PCA publication, the annual “SCORE” report, provides information and data on Minnesota’s solid waste management system, including recycling.
It is likely that bottle bills will make a return appearance during the 2014 legislative session. The Legislative Library has a variety of materials documenting past efforts to pass such a law including reports and news clippings. Contact the library to learn about these materials or to find information on how these laws have worked in other states.
Former House Speaker Rod Searle died at age 93 earlier this week. First elected to the House in 1956, he served as House Speaker in 1979 after the November 7, 1978 election resulted in an equal number of representatives on each side of the political aisle. (Check out this chart showing partisan control of the House, Senate, and Governor's office back to 1901.)
With no precedent and no rules a group of negotiators worked out a compromise that made Independent Republican Rod Searle the Speaker. In addition to the speakership, "the Republicans . . . got [the] chairs of subdivisions of the powerful money committees, on which they had a one-vote majority. DFLers chaired the full money committees, on which they had a one-vote majority, and the rules committee." (Star Tribune, January 7, 2014)
The final agreement was signed 35 years ago today--several days after the 1979 session convened. Searle's book, Minnesota Standoff: the Politics of Deadlock, tells the story of the negotiations between the November election and January 8th. It's well worth reading.
Books & Reports
The Legislative Reference Library just received the wonderful new book Minnesota in the 70s by Dave Kenney and Thomas Saylor. From the Minnesota Historical Society Press + Borealis Books 10,000 Books weblog:
"This book tells the stories of people, places, and events that defined the state: colorful individuals, including Allan Spear, Arlene Lehto, Wendell Anderson, and Herb Brooks; significant groups like the Willmar 8, American Indian Movement, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, and Save the Met; and news-making events, including the first Earth Day, the Dayton’s bombing, school desegregation battles, and highway construction protests. Richly illustrated with evocative photos, cartoons, and ephemera, this book helps bring the 1970s back to life."
We couldn't agree more. And in addition to the weightier topics mentioned above, this book reveals gems like the nation's first multi-level mobile home park in Vadnais Heights (1970), the protesters at Edina's Westgate Theater begging the cinema to play something other than Harold and Maude (1974), and an old LRL favorite, Minnesota's Experimental City!
Call (651) 296-8338 or email the Library to borrow this book.
Books & Reports
WE WANT YOUR USED BOOKS!!
Please donate your used books, DVD or VHS movies, Books on Tape, CD’s and Puzzles to the 2013 Combined Charities Used Book Sale.
You may drop off your items at three convenient locations:
Legislative Reference Library (Room 645 S.O.B.)
Chief Clerk’s Office (Room 211 Capitol)
House Supply (Room G35 S.O.B.)
This is an excellent way to get a tax deduction. Donations from the public are welcomed and appreciated. Receipts for your donations are available upon request.
Please drop off your donations by Monday, October 21st
The Combined Charities Used Book Sale will be held on October 23rd & 24th and is open to the public.