A bill written to raise awareness of a rare disease that killed a southwest Minnesota boy is headed to the governor.
On the last day of the Legislatureâ€™s regular session, the Minnesota House voted 129-1 Monday in favor of creating Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week in the third full week of September each year. The Senate already passed the bill.
â€œThis can affect anybody at any time,â€ Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, said before the House vote.
Hamilton brought the bill up after the death of 1-year-old Leo, son of Andrew Nesseth and Lindsay Chapman of Jackson County. The boy died of the rare genetic disorder.
Mitochondria creates much of the energy a body needs, and diseases that affect it often are fatal. While mitochondrial disease usually impacts children, adults also can be affected.
Hamilton said tens of thousands of children have the disease.
Cheeseburger bill passes
The Legislature says Minnesotans can eat all the cheeseburgers they want, they just canâ€™t sue because those greasy creations made them fat.
Senators passed the measure 34-31 late Sunday, days after the House voted in favor of it 76-56.
Officially known as the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act, the bill now heads to the governorâ€™s office for his signature or veto.
This is the first time in seven tries that Rep. Dean Urdahlâ€™s bill has passed the Legislature. The Grove City Republicanâ€™s proposal does not allow lawsuits to be filed against companies by people who claim food or nonalcoholic drinks made them gain weight.
Lawmakers have sent the governor a bill including provisions to fight invasive aquatic species such as Asian carp and zebra mussels.
The House passed the bill 82-49 Monday over objections of Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, and others who called the bill heavy handed on people like boaters. The bill requires boaters to clean their boats so invasive species cannot be moved from one body of water to another.
â€œThis is the one step forward, four steps backward bill,â€ Rep. Jean Wagenius, DFL-Minneapolis, said.
DFLers fight redistricting
Democratic-Farmer-Laborites have asked federal and state courts to join a lawsuit about Minnesotaâ€™s redrawing of political district lines.
Sixteen DFLers from around the state, including Chairman Ken Martin, want to be part of existing lawsuits following last weekâ€™s Gov. Mark Dayton veto of Republican-written legislative and congressional redistricting maps.
â€œTo gain partisan advantage, the Republican majorities did everything they could to avoid public comment and compromise, and pushed through biased and illogical maps,â€ said DFL Chair Martin. â€œGov. Dayton rightly vetoed the gerrymandered maps that the Republicans steamrolled through the legislature. Now the focus shifts to the courts. Weâ€™ve retained a strong, experienced legal team to seek fair districts for the next decade of Minnesota elections.â€
Among lawyers who will represent Democrats is Mac Elias, who became a familiar face working for 2008 Senate candidate Al Franken and 2010 Democrat governor candidate Mark Dayton in their recount battles.
Next year set
The Minnesota Legislature will have to return to work at some point, probably this summer, but has set its next regular session to begin on noon Jan. 24, 2012.
Legislative leaders say they plan to adjourn next year by April 4.
Earlier, the plan was not to convene until March.