Statewide elections this year kept in place a system that, to the surprise of many, worked well in its first two years: A three-sided government in St. Paul.
The House will remain Republican, the Senate will still be strongly Democratic, and Gov. Jesse Ventura has two more years in office.
While the three sides have needed record amounts of time to do it, they have managed to work out compromises that give each some of the things they want, but without letting any of the three do too much their own way.
With most incumbents winning ... it's clear that Minnesotans are happy with how state government has been working during this unprecedented period. It's clear people prefer a system with many checks and balances to one where a single party has most of the power.
The interests of the people seem best served when legislators take a middle road.
The people elected ... would do well to remember that when negotiating this year.
--Austin Daily Herald
Minnesota should consider age limits for driving snowmobiles
It seems to be just plain common sense that age 8 is too young to be operating a snowmobile -- under any circumstances. Indeed, the case could be made for prohibiting youngsters below car-driving age from operating snowmobiles.
And yet an 8-year-old Minnesota boy was killed over the weekend when the snowmobile he was driving was struck by a train. This is a tragedy his family and their friends will have to deal with for a long time, and our sympathies go out to them.
But it does point to the need to change Minnesota laws on who can drive snowmobiles -- and who can't. Children shouldn't. Until a tragedy of this magnitude, most people don't focus on what the law allows or doesn't allow.
Minnesota law allows children under the age of 12 to operate a snowmobile on public land, water (ice) or trails, provided they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. They are not allowed to cross highways or county and state roads.
The victim in Sunday's snowmobile-train accident was accompanied by his father on a separate snowmobile. Authorities said the father was leading and tried to warn the boy of the oncoming train but the boy darted onto the tracks, where he was struck broadside.
This accident demonstrates all too well that children do not have the proper judgment to operate high-powered machines. Some snowmobiles can be revved up to go car highway speeds and beyond. Should children be given the throttle of such a machine?
Emphatically, no. A snowmobile is not a toy. This is an area of state law that needs to be revisited and changed, either administratively or legislatively.
It's not enough that the law requires that state residents born after Dec. 31, 1979, have a snowmobile safety certificate to operate the machines. Even with classes, 8-year-olds, or even 12-year-olds, shouldn't be allowed to operate solo on the machines on public lands -- under any circumstances, including being accompanied by an adult.
We don't let youngsters drive cars until they are 15, and then only with a learner's permit requiring that a licensed adult be in the vehicle. Then, at 16, the state deems young people to be old enough to drive alone, something insurance companies still recognize as risky.
Those same age limits should be considered for snowmobiles, too.
--Duluth News Tribune
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