Politics Friday: Look ma, no hands on my phone

A driver uses a cellphone on the road.
Proposed legislation would mandate that drivers use hands-free phone devices on the roads.
David J. Phillip | AP 2011

This Friday's show was jam-packed with breaking news going on at the legislature.

Up first was reporter Brian Bakst who debriefed host Mike Mulcahy about Gov. Mark Dayton's supplemental budget proposal that was released Friday morning. Dayton wants to cut taxes for lower and middle-income Minnesotans.This relief would come from higher taxes for business owners. Bakst concluded that this budget is going to be difficult to get through the Republican-controlled house and senate.

Then, DFL Secretary of State Steve Simon discussed the Legislative Auditor's report on voter registration. Secretary Simon warned that Minnesotans voter registration database needs upgrades to secure it against hacking by Russians and others. He said the Legislature needs to spend $1.4 million over the next four years to shore up the system.

Next up was U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer. The Republican proposed legislation to help prevent suicide among farmers, who take their lives more than any other job occupation. Emmer said famers face work stresses and uncertainty, they also live in areas where isn't ready access to mental health care. His legislation would reauthorize the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network and provide funding from the Farm Bill.

Following Congressman Emmer was Rep. Mark Uglem, R-Champlin, who talked about his proposed legislation that would mandate drivers use hands-free devices when using cell phones in their cars. Uglem, who called into the show parked and on a hands-free device, said that distracted driving is an issue in the state and he hopes this bill stems that.

We wrapped up with a debrief from reporters Brian Bakst and Tim Pugmire from the Capitol. They expanded on the budget proposal and talked about the Republican response.

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