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Library News - Books & Reports

Fiscal Review

By David Schmidtke

The Senate Counsel, Research, and Fiscal Analysis publication, Fiscal Reviewis one of the most heavily  used publications in the Legislative Reference Library. The Library’s paper copies are lovingly worn and the digital archive, reaching back to the first publication in 1975, is an invaluable resource. 

The 2018 Fiscal Review provides detailed coverage of the budgetary actions of this year's legislative session. Of course, the capital investment and the pensions bills are the main focus of this year's fiscal activity, but this year's edition also takes a look at the vetoed Omnibus Supplemental Finance and Omnibus Tax Bills. Two other budget issue are discussed that impacted the 2018 fiscal legislation as well: The Governor’s line-item veto of the FY2018-19 Legislative Appropriation and the creation of the nonpartisan Legislative Budget Office.

To celebrate the recent release of the 2018 edition of Fiscal Review, the office of Senate Counsel, Research and Fiscal Analysis invites you to the satellite office of the Legislative Reference Library (3238 MSB) on Wednesday, September 26th at 10:30 am.  Doughnuts will be served!

Discover Ebooks at the LRL

By Elaine Settergren

 

Have you heard about the free, online Ebook collection created for all Minnesotans? Ebooks Minnesota has over 5,000 books for readers of all ages – fiction and nonfiction, with a special focus on Minnesota’s independent publishers.

It’s easy to start reading. Open Ebooks Minnesota in your computer browser (such as Chrome, Edge, or Firefox). If you prefer to read on your phone or tablet, download the Biblioboard app in Google Play or the BiblioBoard app in the App Store. You’ll automatically see the option to be connected to the Ebooks Minnesota collection if you are anywhere in Minnesota. Titles that may catch your eye include:

  • North Country: The Making of Minnesota
  • A Boundary Waters History: Canoeing Across Time
  • Partisan Gerrymandering and the Construction of American Democracy
  • Doorstep Democracy: Face-to-Face Politics in the Heartland
  • Minnesota’s Miracle: Learning from the Government that Worked
  • Crossing the Barriers: The Autobiography of Allan H. Spear
  • The Art of War: The Oldest Military Treatise in the World
  • Land of Amber Waves: The History of Brewing in Minnesota
  • A History of Professional Hockey in Minnesota: From the North Stars to the Wild
  • Morgan Park: Duluth, U.S. Steel and the Forging of a Company Town
  • The City, the River, the Bridge: Before and After the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse
  • Hinckley and the Fire of 1894
  • Minnesota Mayhem: A History of Calamitous Events, Horrific Accidents, Dastardly Crime & Dreadful Behavior in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes

Ebooks Minnesota is brought to you by Minitex and made possible in part by funding from the Minnesota Department of Education through a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Senate’s annual Fiscal Review is one of the most heavily used publications in the Legislative Reference Library. The Library’s paper copies are lovingly worn and the digital archive, reaching back to the first publication in 1975, is an invaluable resource.

The 2017 Fiscal Review is the 40th edition, but you can’t quite call this an annual publication. It wasn't published in 2004 for reasons that are a mystery.  And anyone who can recall the state's financial situation in the early 1980s will understand why there was just one published for the years 1981-1984 with a revision published the next year.  Extreme budget shortfalls required two regular sessions and six special sessions in one biennium to resolve.  Librarians always start with the 1981-1984 edition when asked questions about this complex period of budget crisis.

To celebrate the recent release of the 2017 edition of Fiscal Review, the office of Senate Counsel, Research and Fiscal Analysis invites you to the satellite office of the Legislative Reference Library (3238 MSB) on Wednesday, September 27th at 10:30 am.  Doughnuts will be served!

Minnesota is usually well represented in the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Notable Document Awards each year; this year is no exception with four award winners from Minnesota. 

The awards are sponsored by NCSL's Legislative Research Librarians staff section.  "The award recognizes excellence in documents that explore topics of interest to legislators and staff, and present substantive material in an outstanding format."   The Minnesota award winners are:

Flame Retardants and Firefighter Exposure and Health.  Minnesota Department of Health Environmental Surveillance and Assessment Section, 2016. 

A 2015 Minnesota law required the Minnesota Department of Health, in consultation with the State Fire Marshall, to prepare a report about flame-retardant chemicals and the health and safety effects of exposures, particularly in firefighting settings. With a review of state, federal, and international regulations, a summary of exposure and health findings, and a comprehensive literature review, this document presents a wealth of information on this issue, an issue that has not been studied elsewhere.

Minnesota State Capitol: Overview of the Fine Art.  Minnesota Historical Society, 2015.

Each piece of artwork featured in this guide is accompanied by a color photograph, a note about its location in the Capitol, the date installed, a brief description of the piece, and a biographical note on the author. 

United States Constitutional Amendment Process: Legal Principles for State Legislatures.  (By Matt Gehring)  Minnesota House Research Department, 2016.

This report serves as a "reference guide for finding and understanding applicable law related to amending the U.S. Constitution."  

United States Constitutional Amendments: Minnesota's Legislative History. (By Matt Gehring)  Minnesota House Research Department, 2016.

Of the 33 proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution submitted to the states by Congress, 27 have been ratified by three-fourths of the states; Minnesota has ratified 18.  This report outlines the amendment process, the procedural issues, and Minnesota's amendment ratification history.

The Minnesota deer hunting season is just around the corner. During the 2015 legislative session, informational hearings were held to discuss the concerns of hunters regarding the declining deer herd in Minnesota. On April 17, 2015, the Legislative Audit Commission voted to direct the Legislative Auditor to evaluate the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) deer management process. The Legislative Auditor's report is scheduled to be released in early 2016.

The DNR completed new deer population goals for 40 of the 128 deer permit areas in the state but is postponing the remaining goal setting until the completion of the legislative audit. The completed Deer Population Goals were done in five blocks:

Superior Uplands Arrowhead: Minnesota Deer Population Goals

North Central Plains - Moraines: Minnesota Deer Population Goals

Pine Moraines: Minnesota Deer Population Goals

East Central Uplands: Minnesota Deer Population Goals

Sand Plain – Big Woods: Minnesota Deer Population Goals

According to the DNR, "As a result of this process, 85 percent of the 40 areas will be managed for populations higher than those experienced in 2014; the remaining will see no change." Additional deer population goal setting resources including Hunter and Landowner Survey Results and Deer Advisory Team Recommendations are available in the "2015 goal setting" section of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's Deer Management website.

Uninsured Drivers

By Carol Blackburn

book cover

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.

 book coverMany 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 refdesk@lrl.leg.mn, for further information on any of these issues.

Interesting Minnesota Elections

By Elizabeth Lincoln

book coverThe 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 refdesk@lrl.leg.mn, to request these books.

Rod Searle and the 67-67 House

By Elizabeth Lincoln

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. 

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.