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Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, center, give advice to two newly elected Republicans Tuesday after the first day of the 2009 Minnesota legislative session. On left is Rep. Paul Anderson of Starbuck. On right is Rep. Mark Murdock of Ottertail.

Legislature begins amid optimism

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ST. PAUL - The smiles and "happy new year" salutations of Tuesday's Minnesota legislative session opening day soon will turn into serious faces and money talk as legislators begin grappling with a $4.85 billion deficit.

But legislators say the opening-day hugs will not turn into partisan stare-downs as has happened in the past.

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