A day to keep your eye on the House

Today promises to be a busy day in the Minnesota House for Rochester-related items. It kicks off with a 10:30 a.m. committee hearing on Rochester Rep. Kim Norton's bill that would allow school districts to start school before Labor Day this year and next year. Labor Day falls late over the next two years — Sept. 7 in 2009 and Sept. 6 in 2010.

But the bill faces fierce opposition from lawmakers from the Iron Range. They argue that the change will hurt Minnesota's resorts by causing fewer families to head up north for Labor Day weekend. The Minnesota State Fair has also spoke out against the measure. Supporters argue it should be a local decision. Here's a past story I wrote about this.

Next up, a joint-convention of the Minnesota House and Senate is expected to approve four candidates for the Minnesota Board of Regents. That includes the First Congressional District seat currently help by board chairwoman Dr. Patricia Simmons of Rochester. Simmons sailed through a committee hearing, winning unanimous support for the nomination.

The day wraps up with a hearing at 4:30 p.m. on another Norton bill. This bill would provide $5 million in state bonding money for an expansion of the National Volleyball Center in Rochester. Getting funding for this expansion has been a long-running quest among Rochester lawmakers that has continued to hit political roadblocks — including two past vetoes.

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