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
- 4 years 7 months
ST. PAUL --- The most important day of the 2012 Minnesota legislative session, for some at least, will be Tuesday. That is the day when a state judicial panel is expected to release new legislative and congressional district maps.
ST. PAUL -- School officials could lay off teachers based on their effectiveness rather than just how long they have taught under a bill Minnesota representatives approved 68-61 Thursday. "We have an urgency," Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, said. "We have students waiting for an answer to why they are not learning at the level where they should." The bill would not begin the new policy until 2016. Then, school boards would use teachers' effectiveness and what subjects they teach as part of the decision about whether to lay off or demote teachers.
ST. PAUL -- White Earth Nation's proposal to build a Twin Cities casino that could help fund a new Vikings stadium received little support from key policymakers Thursday after the tribe's leader said it would be the best option for Minnesotans. A casino operated by the tribe could be a fall-back plan, but probably not this year, the chief Minnesota House stadium proponent said. "They are not in play right now," Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Sen. LeRoy Stumpf offered a confession to the Senate Transportation Committee. The Plummer Democrat said he sometimes speeds while traveling his northwest Minnesota district. "I bring this bill to you on behalf of all the guilty people across the state of Minnesota," Stumpf said Tuesday.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota teachers should know basic reading, writing and math skills before taking over classrooms, a bill the House unanimously passed Monday declares. Current law gives new teachers three years to pass the basic skills test, allowing them to teach students during that time. Before a 132-0 vote in favor of her bill, Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Political rhetoric escalated in the Minnesota Capitol as Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed four Republican-written lawsuit reform bills. Dayton complained that Republicans did not talk to him or consider a court report on the issue before passing the bills. "It appears to be just another political ploy," Dayton said Friday. On the other hand, House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, and Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said that Dayton had since May to express concern about the bills.
ST. PAUL -- Many legislators are thinking about the outdoors while working inside the Minnesota Capitol. Many want to allow gray wolf hunting, expand a fight against invading Asian carp and make other changes in outdoors-related laws. Among those changes could be raising hunting and fishing licenses to pay for other outdoors needs. "Hunting and fishing licenses have gone 11 years with no real increase," said Rep. Denny McNamara, who chairs the House environment committee. Minnesota's Game and Fish Fund is expected to be in debt by 2013 if nothing changes.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Republicans look to the state Constitution as a way to enact some of their pet policy dreams. In some cases, the constitutional amendments are ways to get around Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, who would not approve of their policy choices. Other amendments are ones Republicans feel about so strongly that they think they should be in the Constitution, not mere laws. For issues ranging from voter photographic identification to making it harder to increase taxes, GOP lawmakers are preparing to ask voters to amend the state Constitution.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators are in the third week of what many leaders said will be a 10-week legislative session, but plenty of questions remain about constructing a Minnesota Vikings stadium. Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said a group of legislators working on the stadium issue is awaiting information from Ramsey County and Minneapolis about their stadium proposals. "How soon that will happen, I don't know," he said Wednesday. Lanning and Sen.