By Carol Blackburn
Most states in the U.S., including Minnesota, require drivers to have motor vehicle insurance. Yet, it is estimated that 10.8% of Minnesota drivers and 12.5% of drivers nationally drive without insurance. Minnesota currently has a manual process to verify insurance coverage yet in practice, coverage is verified only in select cases. More than 30 other states have some type of electronic verification system.
The 2014 Minnesota Legislature created a task force to "review and evaluate approaches to insurance coverage verification and recommend legislation to create and fund a program in this state." The Final Report of the Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverage Verification Task Force, released on February 1, 2015, offers a comprehensive review of the issue and offers recommendations related to Minnesota's program.
A recent posting in the Pew Charitable Trust's Stateline blog, "States Look to Reduce Ranks of Uninsured Drivers", offers a glimpse of the problem around the country and looks at state government efforts to address this ongoing concern.
Books & Reports
By Carol Blackburn
Many of the documents that flow into the Legislative Library this time of the year are annual reports about various state offices and programs. Scattered among those are a variety of studies that examine newly-emerging issues in the state of Minnesota.
What are plastic microbeads, why are they in Minnesota’s waters, and should we be concerned? Find the answers in the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s recently released report, Plastic Microbeads in Minnesota.
A special review currently underway by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is related to concerns about declining bee populations. The study is looking at the use of neonicotinoid insecticides in Minnesota and their possible impacts on bees and other insect pollinators. In 2014, the MDA released a project update titled, Scoping a Review of Neonicotinoid Use, Registration, and Insect Pollinator Impacts in Minnesota.
Another recently-received report is about medical cannabis (medical marijuana). A new law in Minnesota establishes a program for the limited production, distribution, and use of medical cannabis; only those living with specific medical conditions are eligible to participate. As part of the program, which will begin supplying cannabis to patients by July 1, 2015, there is a requirement to collect and analyze research and data in order to better understand the effectiveness of cannabis in the treatment of specific conditions. Several reports are required including one recently released by the Minnesota Department of Health, A Review of Medical Cannabis Studies Relating to Chemical Compositions and Dosages for Qualifying Medical Conditions.
Contact a librarian at 651-296-8338, or email@example.com, for further information on any of these issues.
Books & Reports
By Betsy Haugen
Presidential Executive Orders have been in the news of late with the announcement of President Barack Obama's recent executive action related to immigration. Their use can be controversial and their effect powerful. President Obama has issued fewer executive orders than any other president in the past 100 years when you look at the average number of executive orders per year in office. Similarly, Governor Mark Dayton has issued 82 executive orders during his time in office, far below former Governor Wendell Anderson's total of 143 over his four year term, the most issued by recent Minnesota governors.
State level executive orders can be just as important as state statutes and are considered public documents. The Minnesota Legislative Reference Library has been collecting Minnesota executive orders since the library's founding. The Library's searchable Minnesota Executive Orders database includes the full-text of executive orders from 1968 to the present.
In a recent Sunlight Foundation study, policy analysts evaluated all 50 states on the accessibility of their governor's executive orders. Minnesota earned an A, scoring high marks for machine readability, permanence, and timeliness of availability (how quickly executive orders are posted after issuance). The Foundation evaluated the Legislative Library’s database rather than the collection of executive orders available on the website of the Minnesota governor. Governors traditionally post executive orders for their administration only; when administrations change, this set of valuable historical information can be lost - or buried in state archives.
Just one more way the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library provides Minnesotans access to a notable set of information.
By Elizabeth Lincoln
The 2014 election is upon us and many remember interesting elections from previous years. The Legislative Reference Library has a few books that recount the stories.
Electing Jesse Ventura: A Third-Party Success Story. Jacob Lentz reports on the unexpected victory of third-party candidate Jesse Ventura over major-party candidates Norm Coleman and Skip Humphrey in the 1998 race for governor. (JK6193 1998)
Minnesota Standoff: The Politics of Deadlock. Rod Searle writes about the process that led to the compromise between the two parties and his selection as House Speaker after the 1978 election resulted in a 67-67 tie in the Minnesota House. (JK6171 .S43 1990)
Recount. Ronald F. Stinnett and Charles H. Backstrom tell the story of the 139-day recount that resulted from the 1962 gubernatorial election. Karl Rolvaag eventually took office in March of the following year with a 91 vote lead over incumbent Governor Elmer Andersen. (JK6152 1962 .S7)
There is No November. Dave Hoium and Leon Oistad recount first-hand the surprising turn of events when allegations against Republican-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Jon Grunseth forced him to quit nine days before election day in 1990. Arne Carlson, who lost the endorsement to Grunseth months earlier, took his place on the ballot and defeated incumbent Governor Rudy Perpich. (JK6195 .H65 1991)
This is Not Florida: How Al Franken Won the Minnesota Senate Recount. Jay Weiner tells the story of the recount that followed the 2008 election. Eventually Al Franken was sworn in as the junior Senator from Minnesota in July 2009 with a 312 vote lead over Norm Coleman. (JK1968 2008 .W45 2010)
No one has written a book about the turn of events surrounding the 2002 U.S. Senate election following Senator Paul Wellstone’s death on October 25, 2002. Walter Mondale’s autobiography, The Good Fight: A Life in Liberal Politics (E840.8.M66 A3 2010) has a section on it and the Library has compiled documents related to the election.
Contact a librarian at 651-296-8338, or firstname.lastname@example.org, to request these books.
Books & Reports
By Lisa Knoop and Tracey Van Haaften
Now's the time to clean out those closets! We want your used books, DVD/VHS movies, books on tape/CD, music CDs, and puzzles for the 2014 Combined Charities Used Book Sale. Drop off your donations at any of three convenient locations by Monday, October 21: the Legislative Reference Library (Room 645 State Office Building), the Chief Clerk’s Office (Room 211 Capitol), or House Supply (Room G35 State Office Building). Donations from the public are welcomed and appreciated. This is an excellent way to get a tax deduction—receipts for your donations are available upon request.
The Combined Charities Used Book Sale will be held on November 5 and 6 in Room 500N of the State Office Building, and is open to the public.