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.
- Member for
- 2 years 12 months
EDEN PRAIRIE -- Minnesota motorists will see more orange barrels than ever this summer after state officials announced Wednesday they will spend a record $1.3 billion on transportation projects. Of the 283 projects on the Minnesota Department of Transportation's 2010 list, 217 are on highways. The remaining projects deal with railroads, ports and transit. Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel and other government officials gathered within earshot of the year's biggest project, a $150 million Interstate 494-U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Parents should know if their children have been abused in schools, the Minnesota House unanimously decided Tuesday, reacting to news that a couple did not know a teacher mistreated their Down syndrome son until nearly two years after it occurred. "We need to make sure parents have the ability to help their own kids when their kids are in trouble," Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul, said. The story of Kyle Herman, a kindergartener in the northern Twin Cities when he was abused, came to attention of Concordia University, St.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty plans to sign a budget-cutting bill that plugs a third of Minnesota's nearly $1 billion deficit. The House and Senate approved the compromise bill cutting $312 million Monday, mostly with Democratic-Farmer-Laborite votes. After a week-long break that started Monday afternoon, lawmakers will return to St. Paul April 6, preparing to debate a new bill, not yet finished, cutting health and human services programs.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota lawmakers begin a week-long Passover-Easter break Monday afternoon with nearly 7,000 bills left undebated. If legislators were to consider every bill that has been introduced in the current two-year session, they would take 233 votes every weekday until they adjourn in May. But legislators will not return April 6 and begin debating all of those measures. Some of those bills were folded into larger measures known as omnibus bills. Others simply never had the votes to pass out of a committee.
ST. PAUL - An attempt to lift the state's ban on new nuclear power plants failed when a senator pulled his bill that nuclear supporters were attempting to amend. The action came on the Senate floor Wednesday on an amendment by Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, that would have gone far beyond just lifting the moratorium. It would have required the state to find a site for a new plant. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- State workers should be allowed to tell legislators their opinions about Minnesota finances and other issues without fear of retribution in their jobs, senators decided Thursday. On a 46-10 vote, senators tentatively approved an extension to the state whistleblowers' law, giving most state workers permission not only to talk to legislators, but also to the Legislative Auditor's Office and statewide officials such as the governor and attorney general. "It ensures that no state employee ...
ST. PAUL -- Attempts to lure investments in small business and encourage people to rehabilitate historic buildings could produce jobs, Minnesota legislative Democrats say, and they are willing to bet state money on the idea. "I don't know how much stimulus this will provide, but we should give it a try," Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said Thursday. Bakk's bill and a similar House measure are among the Minnesota Legislature's priorities this year because they are designed to produce jobs at a time when the rough economy has killed many jobs.
ST. PAUL - A European wind-turbine manufacturer is more likely to build plants in Duluth and the Iron Range if Minnesota gives it tax breaks, backers of the proposal tell legislators. A House jobs bill contains a provision to give the manufacturer $12.7 million in tax breaks and a similar Senate bill is expected to include it, too, in an effort to compete with an Ohio offer.
ST. PAUL -- A bill headed to the governor reinstates medical coverage for 70,000 Minnesotans making less than $8,000 per year. The House voted 121-12 and the Senate 50-12 Wednesday to restore the program, but lawmakers scaled back General Assistance Medical Care, which had been slated to disappear April 1. Most voting against the bill were rural lawmakers who said their local hospitals would lose money under it. Rep.