FREE SPEECH ZONE | Advocates of Mentally Ill Fight to Keep Programs

Governor Pawlenty submitted his supplementary budget Monday night, and advocates for the mentally ill found enormous cuts for programs that assisted the people they help.The Minnesota Mental Health Legislative Network and their supporters gathered Tuesday at noon at the Capitol with news that Governor Pawlenty’s budget called for $347 million in cuts to health services.  The bulk of these cuts are the proposed $250 million per year in cuts in aid to local governments.  Ed Eide of the Mental Health Assocation of Minnesota said that this translates to a dramatic cut in services for the mentally ill. Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases.Much of the focus of the day’s advocacy centered around the GAMC and the current effort by the legislature to keep the program running beyond March 31, when it is scheduled to expire.Representative Larry Hosch (DFL- St. Joseph) criticized Gov. Pawlenty for making cuts to essential services.  “The Governor says that we should sit down and discuss the budget like a family,” Hosch said.  “But we don’t tell members of our family ‘you can’t sit with us, you’re too expensive.'”Senator John Marty (DFL-Roseville) said that a single-payer system has been introduced in the House and that it should become law.  Marty has promised such a system should he win the Governor’s race.  Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Minnesotans Demand the Legislature restore GAMC

At noon Thursday, the Legislative session resumed.  Just outside the chambers in the Capitol rotunda, hundreds of protesters demanded that the legislature restore the General Assistance Medical Care program.Funding for the program was vetoed by Gov. Pawlenty and the remaining funding was unallotted and money for the GAMC is expected to run out on March 31.Legislators, lead by Senator Linda Berglin (DFL-Minneapolis), have introduced a bill to extend funding for the GAMC through next year.  The program helps poverty-stricken citizens recieve medical care.Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. Meanwhile, on the Capitol steps, the Minnesota Coalition for a People’s Bailout protested in favor of restoring the GAMC as well as advocating for a moratorium on home foreclosures.  Such a moratorium was vetoed by Gov. Pawlenty in June 2008. Continue Reading