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Three of the key Minnesota policymakers gathered before Tuesday's start of the 2012 legislative session to discuss what they expect to happen in the 2012 legislative session. From left are House Speaker Kurt Zellers, Gov. Mark Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem. File photo by Don Davis/State Capitol Bureau

Partisan fireworks start on Legislature's opening day

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ST. PAUL - Lawmakers exchanged handshakes and hugs early Tuesday as they returned to the Capitol for the 2012 Minnesota legislative session, but contentious issues soon chipped away at the friendly start.

A Senate committee, controlled by the Republican majority, started the fireworks Tuesday afternoon by approving a nearly $2.7 million cut to the chamber's budget made necessary as part of the 2011 budget agreement.

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