Governor Pawlenty proposed a 40% cut to the arts in Minnesota. The House Committee, chaired by Rep. Bob Gunther, last week proposed reducing the cut to 32%. Yesterday in the Senate, Sen. Dallas Sams’ committee proposed reducing the Governor’s cut to the arts to 16%. This will put us in a much better position of negotiation when we get to Conference Committee in May.

This success is due to many things: the strong support and work of Senator Dallas Sams and Senator Richard Cohen, the massive ongoing grassroots pressure from friends of the arts across the state, including phone calls, post cards, coffee parties, and letter writing, the work of our great board members and our lobbyist Larry Redmond. Thanks to all!

If you have not yet contacted your own legislator, it’s not too late! Please make your voice heard by calling or writing your legislators and the governor to ask them to support the arts. You can get phone numbers and addresses of your legislators here.

Next steps:
Sen. Sams’ bill goes to the full Finance Committee (chaired by Sen. Cohen) today, and Rep. Gunther’s bill, which was supposed to be heard in the Ways & Means committee yesterday but wasn’t, will be heard soon. Then both bills will hit their respective floors, and then go on to conference committee, where they will negotiate a compromise between the Senate and House positions. We will probably be in Conference Committee around May 5, when we are planning to deliver our petition to the legislature. So far we have 965 people signed up on the petition! I predict weâll get 1000+! (See below).

We still have postcards to give away, if anyone can think of a good group to give them to! It’s not too late until session is ended. The pre-printed cards are a very easy way to get the arts community’s message to your legislators. Call 651-251-868 to get more.