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Six states failed to pass spending plans last night in time for the new fiscal year, which started today. The biggest state in the union plans to pay its bills with IOU's. Other states barely made the deadline by cutting services and raising taxes and fees. Are bloated expenditures being brought under control or are states balancing budgets on the backs of the poor? Also, Al Franken's win in Minnesota gives Senate Democrats a super-majority. On Reporter's Notebook, an advisory body takes aim at popular pain killers. Should Vicodin and Percocet be banned? Why not Tylenol and Excedrin which have the same troubling ingredient?

Banner image: Senator Al Franken (D-MN) (2 L) celebrates with his wife Franni Franken (L) in front of their home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Jeffrey Thompson/Getty Images

Making News Al Franken's Senate Win Gives Democrats a Super-majority 7 MIN, 36 SEC

Yesterday, eight months after November's election, the Supreme Court of Minnesota ruled that Democrat Al Franken unseated Republican Senator Norm Coleman by 312 votes. Dismissing partisan politics and his win as providing Democrats a super-majority, Franken instead stressed his role as Minnesota's second senator. Dana Milbank is national political reporter for the Washington Post.

Dana Milbank, Washington Post (@Milbank)

Main Topic Will the Recession Force State Government Shutdowns? 36 MIN, 48 SEC

States all over the country are losing revenue. Last night, North Carolina and five other states failed to resolve disputes over taxes and spending in time for the start of the new fiscal year. Without balanced budgets, Pennsylvania and Illinois face partial shutdowns; Connecticut and Ohio are barely limping along. California has run out of money, and the biggest state in the union plans to pay its bills with IOU’s starting tomorrow. Last night in Sacramento, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made a $24 billion shortfall $3 billion worse by blocking a stop-gap agreement with Democrats. What are the consequences for education, medical care and public health? Or is it a blessing in disguise if it forces fiscal responsibility on state capitols?

Steve Fehr, Reporter, Stateline.org
Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times (@evanhalper)
Jerry Nickelsburg, UCLA Anderson Forecast
Emily Wagster Pettus, Mississippi State Capitol Reporter, Associated Press (@EWagsterPettus)
Dean Martin, Treasurer, State of Arizona
Nicholas Johnson, Director of State Fiscal Projects, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Tad DeHaven, Budget Analyst, Cato Institute

Reporter's Notebook FDA Targets Painkillers 6 MIN, 19 SEC

Some of America's most popular painkillers contain an ingredient that's hard on the liver in large doses. Disputes about Vicodin, Percocet, Tylenol and Excedrin have raged for years. Now an advisory panel has recommended that Vicodin and Percocet be banned. Alice Park reports on health and medicine for Time magazine.

Alice Park, Time Magazine (@AliceParkNY)

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