The state’s three most powerful people in public policy have hatched a plan that revolves around a renewed dedication to work together in an effort to solve some of the most vexing issues in Minnesota politics. On the Minnesota State Fair Almanac program at the Twin Cities PBS booth, DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman announced: “You have brought us together. We did have a conversation before the show started about heading up to Brainerd, getting on a boat at a more temperate time of year, and having a conversation about insulin and gun violence prevention. Just the three of us, to see if we can’t find some common ground.” In the light-hearted feeling of the State Fair atmosphere, Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka joked that Almanac is, “Solving problems with us again.”

Rep. Melissa Hortman, Sen. Paul Gazelka and Gov. Tim Walz behind the scenes during the live taping of Almanac at the Minnesota State Fair on August 30, 2019.

Regardless of the leaders’ declaration to work together on issues such as gun violence prevention, their positions on the legalization of marijuana are divided. As DFL House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler convened conversations at the State Fair about legalizing marijuana and Gov. Tim Walz has asked state agencies to prepare for legalization, Republican Leader Gazelka made it clear that his chamber’s opposition hasn’t changed: “The Senate took a vote and said we don’t want recreational marijuana in Minnesota.” DFL House Speaker Hortman brought up the possibility of decriminalizing cannabis and said generally, “Minnesotans want us to have a conversation about marijuana.”

As always, Almanac’s Friday broadcasts at 7 pm on TPT2 will keep you up-to-speed on the issues that matter most to Minnesotans. You can also stream the show at any time.

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Earlier this year, hundreds of Minnesotans flocked to the State Capitol to provide emotional testimony on the issues surrounding gun violence. Revisit the debate that legislators will take up “on a boat at a more temperate time of year.”

Despite their party differences, there’s one issue that many legislators can agree on: Minnesota is sorely lacking in affordable housing. Mary Lahammer examines the issue more closely as some of the state’s politicians came together to literally “hammer out their differences.”

As the 2019 legislative session came to a close, Gov. Tim Walz visited the Almanac studio to offer his reflections on what went well and what still needs to be done.