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
- 3 years 10 months
ST. PAUL -- An 8-year-old effort to keep sex offenders in jail longer began a new trek on Tuesday through the Minnesota Legislature. The House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee unanimously approved a proposal that would force many of the worst offenders to spend 60 years in prison, followed by a decade of supervised release. Those "worst of the worst" sex offenders would serve twice the current sentences under the bill by Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota income taxes would fall $300 million in the next two years under a House Republican plan, while state payments to local governments drop significantly. The proposal, to receive a House Tax Committee vote late this week, eliminates Local Government Aid for Duluth, Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as Twin Cities suburbs, by 2015.
ST. PAUL -- Whether Minnesota retailers should sell alcohol on Sundays will be debated by a Senate committee Wednesday, perhaps the first time that has happened. Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, promotes the idea after seeing Minnesotans drive over bridges to buy booze in Superior, Wis.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's speeches these days contain one sure-fire applause line: "We're not Wisconsin." That is true, and Minnesotans appreciate the fact that thousands of protesters have not descended on their Capitol. But by at least one measure, Minnesota is worse than its eastern neighbor. Minnesota's $5 billion state budget deficit exceeds the $3.6 billion gap Wisconsin faces.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislative Republicans say they want to spend $34 billion in the next two years, about the same as in the current budget but $3 billion less than Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton proposes. House and Senate Republicans today released similar budget outlines, and said legislative committees have two weeks to decide how to spend the money. Dayton proposes a $37.4 billion budget.
ST. PAUL -- Senate Republicans say they want to spend $34.3 billion in the next two years, about the same as in the current budget. While big cuts will be needed in some spending areas, it appears local government aids would not sustain cuts as deep as many expected. House Republicans will release their overall budget outline later today, and it is expected to be very similar to the Senate plan. Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton proposes a $37.4 billion budget.
ST. PAUL -- No one argued over the need to continue state city aid during a Wednesday meeting of Minnesota mayors and Gov. Mark Dayton, but it will be a different story when Republicans who control the Legislature write their budget. Republicans are expected to release an outline of their budget plan today, and it could look like an earlier budget bill they offered that held Local Government Aid at the 2010 level, which is lower than what cities earlier were told to expect. LGA is the largest local aid from the state. Democrat Dayton vetoed that earlier bill.
ST. PAUL -- Professionals have a new pathway to become Minnesota teachers, but no one knows how many will take the new route. A bill designed to lure math and science professionals, in particular, into the state schools became law Monday as Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Good news to the tune of $1.2 billion changed little about Minnesota's budget debate. There was little evidence after Monday's news that a projected budget deficit has dropped from $6.2 billion to $5 billion smoothed differences between Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton and Republicans who control the Legislature. "It is still a matter of serious concern," Dayton said. Democrats and Republicans could not even agree on who was responsible for the better budget news. House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, thanked employers and employees for paying more taxes to the state.