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Senate OKs reduced local mandates

ST. PAUL - Minnesota senators want to lift some mandates the state places on local governments, all in the name of saving money.

Senators Monday gave the measure tentative approval on a voice vote, including doing away with long-standing truth-in-taxation hearings local governments are required to hold as a way to give citizens a chance to comment on their budgets. Instead, the bill requires local governments to notify citizens that they can appear at a regularly scheduled meeting during which local officials will consider future budgets.

Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis, said that while the bill is designed to save money, she had no estimate about how much would be saved.

Sen. Dan Skogen, DFL-Hewitt, said one of the provisions he supports would reduce the amount of information school districts would need to publish in their local newspapers. At times, he said, districts must pay for three or four pages of information, but the bill would reduce that to a much shorter summary.

His amendment would have required the state to house prisoners in the final half year of their prison terms. Now, those short-term offenders are kept in county jails.

"It ended up costing quite a lot for the counties," he said, estimating it to be a $9 million expense.

Davis works for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Daily Globe.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.