1990s

Arts in Schools (1990)

Fifteen jurors recommended priorities for the Arts programs in Rochester, Minn. schools. The jury was sponsored by the Rochester School District.

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Minnesota Gubernatorial Election (1990)

Seventy-two jurors rated candidates for governor on key issues. Six regional panels consisting of 12 jurors each were held for the primary elections. One statewide jury of 18 jurors was held for the general election. The League of Women Voters of Minnesota sponsored the project.

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Low Income Housing (1991)

Twenty-four jurors examined both public and private sector policies on housing for low-income people in the Rochester, Minn. area. A coalition of church and community organizations, including the Rochester Post-Bulletin and the United Way of Olmsted County sponsored the jury.

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Minnesota Budget Priorities (1991)

Twenty-four jurors evaluated priorities in the county’s $1.1 billion budget. The jury was sponsored by West Hennepin County Human Services Planning Board and was held in Minneapolis, Minn. This was an experiment for the Jefferson Center, in that the Human Services Planning Board was responsible for the conduct of the Citizens Jury, with the Jefferson Center acting as a consultant. This approach to conducting a Citizens Jury was not successful and was not repeated by the Center. The ratings for bias were among the lowest received for any Citizens Jury project.

Pennsylvania Senatorial Election (1992)

Two 18-member juries evaluated senatorial candidates on key issues. The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizens Education Fund sponsored the jury. WPVI-TV, Philadelphia, WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh, WHYY-FM, Philadelphia, and WDUQ-FM, Pittsburgh did special programming of the jury. The eastern jury met in Philadelphia, Penn., and the western panel in Pittsburgh, Penn.

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The Federal Budget (1993)

Twenty-four members of a national jury evaluated what measures and sacrifices should be considered to ensure a strong and healthy economy. The jury was sponsored by the Jefferson Center and took place in Washington, D.C.

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Healthcare Reform (1993)

Twenty-four jurors from across the nation evaluated health care reform, as well as the specific Clinton National Health Care plan. The jury was sponsored by the Jefferson Center and took place in Washington, D.C. Roger Mudd hosted a one-hour report on the Health Care Jury in April 1994, which was aired on public television stations.

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Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Election (1994)

Twenty-four jurors evaluated key issues facing candidates in the gubernatorial election. Both WDUQ-FM public radio and WHYY public radio of Philadelphia broadcast the sessions live to their audiences. WDUQ-FM, Pittsburgh, the Citizens League of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and the Jefferson Center sponsored the jury. The jury was held in Pittsburgh, Pa.

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Welfare Reform (1994)

Eighteen jurors studied the federal welfare system and made recommendations for reform in the Center’s first congressional Citizens Jury. The jury was sponsored by Representative Tim Penny (D-MN), member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The project was conducted in Winona, Minn.

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At Risk Children (1994)

Twelve jurors considered the problem of at-risk children in the Greater New Haven area. Yale University students, as part of an Ethics, Politics, and Economics seminar, conducted the jury. The jury took place in New Haven, Conn.

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Traffic Congestion Pricing (1995)

Twenty-four jurors from the Twin Cities Metropolitan area were selected to assess a novel transportation demand management method known as congestion pricing. The Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Council commissioned the project.

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Hog Farming (1995)

Twelve jurors from Rice County, Minnesota, were selected to discuss whether or not hog feedlots should be regulated in Rice County. Students from Carleton College and St. Olaf College, located in Northfield, Minn., conducted the project. The hearings took place at St. Olaf College. The project was sponsored by the Jefferson Center.

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State and Local Fiscal Matters (1996)

Twenty-four jurors, from four Minnesota counties, were assembled to help identify fiscal priorities of citizens as Minnesota faced difficult financial choices in the future. The project was held in conjunction with the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and the Minnesota Extension Service.

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Comparing Environmental Risk (1996)

Twenty jurors from around the state of Minnesota were selected to give input to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). They examined and comparatively ranked, in order of seriousness, 12 environmental issues that were selected by the agency. The jury’s recommendations will help the MPCA in fulfilling a federal mandate on citizen involvement in risk assessment. The project was sponsored by the MPCA.

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Minnesota’s Electricity Future (1997)

Sixteen jurors from the state of Minnesota were selected to participate in a jury held at the University of St. Thomas. The jurors were asked to evaluate and identify attributes needed to evaluate an electricity system. Using those attributes, they considered alternative plans for the current electricity system and created a plan that best embodied the values identified as important. The results were delivered to decision-makers and became part of the policy environment in which Minnesota’s energy has been regulated. The project was conducted in conjunction with the University of St. Thomas.

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Issues in K-12 Education (1997)

The second Jury on State and Local Fiscal Matters was held on fiscal issues facing K-12 education. Twelve jurors were selected from Polk County, Minn. They examined how K-12 education is funded in Minnesota and made recommendations about fiscal policy, outcome goals and community goals for schools. The project was held in conjunction with the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, the University of Minnesota, Crookston, and the Minnesota Extension Service.

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Dakota County – Land Use (1997)

Twenty-four jurors from Dakota County were selected to identify priorities of its residents as the County faced tough choices related to its projected growth and how to manage it. Some of the jury’s key recommendations were reflected in the County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The project was sponsored by the Dakota County Board of Commissioners, and was conducted in conjunction with the Physical Development Division of the Office Planning.

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Orono MN Public Schools (1998)

Twenty-four jurors were selected to examine the current and future needs of the Orono Public School District. The jurors contemplated such issues as open enrollment, facility needs and non-facility needs, as well as the solutions to those needs. The jurors’ recommendations served as a building block as to how the District and the community should proceed now and on into the future. The project was sponsored by the Orono Board of Education.

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Citizens Panel on Electoral Reforms (1998)

This Citizens Panel was not conducted by the Jefferson Center directly, but was sponsored by Jefferson Center Founder Ned Crosby. Paul Schaefer, one of the most skilled and long-term Jefferson Center staffers, served as project director and advised a class at the University of Wisconsin–River Falls, which conducted the panel. Eighteen jurors were  randomly selected from two counties in western Wisconsin. This project showed how average citizens can be engaged in reviewing alternate electoral reforms. The success of the project was important in the planning of the 2001 Citizens Jury in Washington state and the 2005 Citizens Jury in Perth, Australia.

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Physician-Assisted Suicide (1998)

Twelve jurors met on the campus of St. Olaf College over the course of four days to examine the difficult issue of Physician-Assisted Suicide. The jurors were asked to contemplate how the state legislature should deal with the topic of Physician-Assisted Suicide and the issues that surround it. The project was conducted in collaboration with students from a political science course at St. Olaf College and the Jefferson Center. The project was made possible through a grant from the Carolyn Foundation.

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Chatfield MN School District (1999)

Eighteen school district residents served on a Citizens Jury that examined the facility needs of the Chatfield School District. The jurors investigated the facility needs of the District and explored solutions to meet those needs. The Jury made a series of specific recommendations regarding school facilities and steps the District can take to communicate with area residents about facility issues.

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Minnesota Property Tax Reform (1999)

Seventeen jurors met for five days to examine the Minnesota property tax system and several key reform proposals. The project was sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Revenue with support from Governor Ventura. The Citizens Jury was the initial step in an 18-month reform process leading up to the 2001 legislative session. The jury’s recommendations were used to launch an extended series of community-based discussions across the state on tax reform issues.

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