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Gov. Mark Dayton gave one of Minnesota's most famous governors a special 80th birthday present Friday -- a proclamation declaring it Wendell Anderson Day in Minnesota.
Anderson, a DFLer, served as governor from 1971 to 1976. While in office, he proposed tax increases of $762 million to increase state school aid and overhauled local property taxes. Anderson's leadership won Minnesota national recognition as having a "government that works." His tax and education successes became known as "The Minnesota Miracle." Anderson had served in the U.S. Army and in 1956 was on the U.S. silver medal Olympic hockey team.
Legislators press for better mental health services
Legislators and mental health advocates argued Friday that additional spending for mental health services in schools should be part of the state's response to the Connecticut school shooting.
Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato, joined by officials of the Minnesota branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Mental Health Association, called for additional funding for mental health services in schools, better training for professionals in dealing with psychosis and more help for adolescents suffering their first psychotic episode.
While much of the Legislature's response to the December shooting has been a debate over gun control, Sheran said legislators should be moved by such tragedies to focus more attention on mental health issues.
"I think we're complicit in the violence if we don't intervene," she said.
Dayton has proposed additional funding for what is known as school-linked mental health services so that more students can receive help. Sheran said her bill would call for $10 million in additional spending, $2.5 million more than the governor proposed.
The bill also calls for additional funding for training mental-health professionals and treating adolescents who suffer a first psychotic episode, but those amounts have not yet been determined, Sheran said.
The officials emphasized that a tiny percentage of people with severe mental illness resort to violence, and cautioned against stigmatizing people based on those isolated acts.
Cornish: Obama's the 'chief gun salesman'
There are regular reports of spiking gun sales when President Obama talks about gun control. Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, was asked this week if Obama's Minneapolis visit on Monday would affect Minnesota's gun violence debate.
"The only thing that worries me about the president coming here is that a week after he leaves there won't be any guns left on the shelves," Cornish said.
"Every time he shows up or opens his mouth we sell 10 million more AR-15s. This guy is the chief gun salesman in the United States right now."