Ingebrigtsen wants to make English state's official languageSenator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, brought back a bill often debated in the Legislature – to make English Minnesota’s official language.
By: Don Davis, Alexandria Echo Press
Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, brought back a bill often debated in the Legislature – to make English Minnesota’s official language.
“Learning the English language is essential,” the Alexandria Republican said. “The use of a common language removes barriers of misunderstanding and provides unity.”
Opponents say requiring English discriminates against those who speak other languages.
The Ingebrigtsen bill would require that government documents, meetings and other services and publications be in English. Driver’s license tests also would be in English, and would be required to be completed without an interpreter.
There are some exceptions, including the use of American Indian languages, and other languages may be used in private communications.
Ingebrigtsen said the bill would save governmental bodies that now pay to print material in several languages.
Representative Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, has a similar bill in the House.
More than two-dozen states already make English their official language.
Dome decision soon
The new Metrodome chief says the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission may make a decision on the facility’s roof soon.
“It could be next week or the week after,” Ted Mondale told a House committee Wednesday.
That is when the commission is expected to receive a report about how much it will cost to repair the roof, which was damaged by a snow storm.
Insurance will pay $1 million of the repair cost.
Many of the legislative committee’s questions dealt with the possibility of a new stadium.
“The roof is on the ground and the lease is up,” Mondale said.
The Minnesota Vikings football team says it will not play in the dome after next season, leaving the facility’s future in doubt.
Representative Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, said he is concerned about events other than Vikings games, such as college baseball games played in the dome.
Bill Lester said the Vikings bring $6.5 million a year for the budget that is about $12 million.
Urdahl said any new Vikings stadium will need to be funded by those who use and benefit from a stadium because there is no appetite to use state funds for one.
Sunday liquor bill
Liquor could be sold on Sundays under a bill introduced by Senator Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth.
“Minnesota’s current statutes prohibiting the sale of alcohol on Sundays puts our state at a competitive and economic disadvantage – particularly in communities that border Wisconsin,” Reinert said. “Wisconsin already got a win with the Packers going to the Super Bowl, why give them another win with Minnesota tax dollars?”
“Sunday liquor sale laws are remnants of a bygone era that no longer make sense in a 21st century world,” Reinert said.
Three percent of Wisconsin Sunday liquor sales are to Minnesotans, Reinert said. Iowa is the other state bordering Minnesota that sells liquor on Sundays.
The Duluth senator said he knows some will oppose his bill on religious grounds, but said people who do not want to buy liquor on Sundays do not need to. And the bill does not force stores to be open on Sundays.
There is a similar bill in the House.
Reinert said he is not interested in overturning the other major “blue law,” a ban on Sunday car sales.
‘Don’t raid legacy’
Sixty-six outdoors and conservation groups Wednesday asked Minnesota policymakers to not drain money for outdoors projects because of a $6.2 billion state budget deficit.
A letter sent to Governor Mark Dayton and legislative leaders urged them “to keep the faith with the voters of Minnesota who overwhelmingly passed the clean water, land and legacy constitutional amendment.”
“These 66 organizations are sending a clear message: ‘don’t raid our legacy’,” said Steve Morse, executive
director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, the statewide coalition of environmental and conservation organizations.
“Some legislators have hinted that they are looking at the clean water, land and legacy funds as a way to help solve the state’s budget crisis,” said Dave Zentner of the Izaak Walton League of America. “Those funds are constitutionally dedicated. They can’t be tapped to fix the state’s budget problem.”
Representative Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, wants to require Minnesotans to pass drug tests before receiving welfare benefits.
Drazkowski’s bill also would require periodic drug tests for someone to continue to receive state payments. Welfare recipients would pay costs of the tests.