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.
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ST. PAUL -- Bullying and other types of harassment would not be tolerated in Minnesota schools under a bill senators tentatively approved Thursday. On a 43-22 vote, the Senate approved a bill requiring school boards to adopt a policy that prohibits harassment. The policy applies to students and school workers. "The fact is some kids suffer vastly more significant forms of harassment," Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said, specifically saying gay students often are victims. "We don't tolerate this type of activity from adults; why do we tolerate it from kids?" he added.
ST. PAUL -- Sally and Dale Zamlen say state law slowed a search for their son, missing from St. Paul since April 5. "Their hands are tied," Dale Zamlen told a Minnesota House Committee Wednesday about police. "They did all the right things. They followed the letter of the law." The law did not require police to launch a search immediately because at 18, Dan Zamlen, a St. Thomas University freshman from Eveleth, was considered an adult and many law enforcement agencies' policies allow officers to wait to begin an adult missing persons case.
ST. PAUL - Professionals who want to become teachers may not have an easy route to receive teaching licenses after a House committee Wednesday rejected the proposal. The House K-12 Education Finance Division voted 11-10 to strip the provision from an overall education bill. During earlier testimony, teachers told the committee that there is a difference between understanding how to do a job and teaching about it. The provision, like one proposed by Gov.
ST. PAUL - Sally Zamlen says state law slowed a search for her son, missing since April 5. "We are seriously, seriously running out of time," she told a House committee today, urging lawmakers to pass a bill in front of them that would force police to quickly act on more missing persons cases. The House Finance Committee unanimously approved the measure, which likely will be in front of the full House Monday. A Senate vote also is pending. Dan Zamlen's father, Dale, said the Eveleth graduate did not fall into the river near the St.
ST. PAUL -- Paula Leach received training so she could deal with challenges she faces as an early-childhood special education teacher. The Hastings teacher fears that if the state gives an easy route for a teaching license to those who did not get such extensive training, students will suffer. Leach told a House education finance committee about her concerns Tuesday, one of several teachers to complain about a provision contained in an overall education measure. The provision, like one proposed by Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Al Franken won the U.S. Senate race and should be sent to Washington, a three-judge panel unanimously ruled Monday evening, but Minnesota is at least a few weeks away from having two senators. Republican Norm Coleman plans to appeal the decision, which follows a seven-week trial on a lawsuit he brought when a statewide recount left him trailing Democrat Franken by 225 votes. After the judges' ruling, Franken leads by 312 votes.
ST. PAUL - Al Franken won the U.S. Senate race and should be sent to Washington, a Minnesota three-judge panel ruled this evening. However, even before the ruling, Norm Coleman pledged to appeal the expected loss to the state Supreme Court. And there is a good chance the loser at that level will appeal to the U.S. courts, meaning it still may be months before a new senator is seated. Today's ruling said the election did not violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, as Coleman had claimed.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators voted to chop public school budgets $273 per pupil Tuesday while opting to expand a program that pays teachers based on performance instead of seniority. Those on the winning side of the 37-29 vote were not happy to be cutting schools, but said a massive state budget deficit left them no choice. "This bill expects more from our educational system and gives them less resources to carry it out," said Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer, chairman of the Senate education finance committee. "There is no way to sugar coat this," Stumpf added.
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.
ST. PAUL -- American Indian leaders fear their native languages are being lost, calling the situation a crisis. "When a person passes away, it is like a whole dictionary that is gone," Lillian Rice told a Minnesota House committee. A Native American's language, she added, "is the very sense of who we are. ... Without that, we are lost." Indian leaders are working to save languages, and now the Minnesota Legislature is considering helping the cause.