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
- 1 year 10 months
ST. PAUL -- Workers will fix roofs and walls, renovate buildings and, in general, improve state facilities later this year if some key legislators' wishes come true. Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, on Tuesday announced he plans to push a $300 million public works bill, nearly three times what normally would be expected this year.
ST. PAUL -- Jeff Almer wants his mother's death to mean something. Shirley Almer of Perham died Dec. 21 from salmonella poisoning blamed on contaminated peanut butter. It was the first of at least nine U.S. deaths, including three in Minnesota, attributed to the deadly organism from a Georgia peanut butter factory. "I want to make a difference," he said after appearing with scientists and the son of another victim in a Monday University of Minnesota roundtable discussion. "It is in honor of my mom that I am doing this." Almer and U.S. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators roughed up Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget proposal in the past week. As Democratic-controlled legislative committees began to look at the GOP governor's budget, some Republicans joined Democrats in criticizing it.
ST. PAUL -- Current economic conditions could cost the state a college, the Minnesota Colleges and Universities system chancellor warns. "This is such as difficult challenge that the board has suggested that everything is on the table," James McCormick told the state Senate Higher Education Committee Thursday. McCormick said, however, that no college is targeted and a decision to close a school has not been made. McCormick and University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks warned the committee that Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Proposed business tax cuts would do little to immediately boost Minnesota's economy, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's top aides heard Thursday from a fellow conservative Republican -- as well as Democrats who control the Legislature. The toughest attack on Pawlenty's plan in a Senate Taxes Committee discussion came from Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, who normally sides with the governor. "In order to avail itself a tax credit, a small business must have money," Ortman told Revenue Commissioner Ward Einess. "There is no money in the economy. ...
ST. PAUL - Minnesota Senate Republicans want to freeze all state and local government workers' pay. The proposal goes a step beyond Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty, who last week said he favored a freeze, but has not offered a bill to do that. Assistant Senate Minority Leader Geoff Michel, R-Edina, on Wednesday said his plan would freeze salaries for two years.
ST. PAUL -- Bill Clinton was president. Arne Carlson was governor. Gasoline was $1.15 a gallon. Six more years of new television episodes were in "Friends" future. Google was two people in a garage. And Minnesota cities received $368 million in local government aid. Fast forward a dozen years, and all that has changed, except LGA could still be at $368 million. That is how Steve Peterson of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities sees the situation as Gov. Tim Pawlenty proposes to chop local government aids by 25 percent as part of his budget-balancing plan.
ST. PAUL - Give Minnesota's Q Comp teacher pay and performance program an "incomplete." That was the message auditors delivered Tuesday to legislators who are considering Gov. Tim Pawlenty's request to expand Q Comp to all school districts. There is no proof the $49 million spent on the program this year is helping increase student achievement, Judy Randall of the legislative auditor's office told two legislative committees. "We're not quite there yet," she said, adding it has not been in effect long enough to know the results.
ST. PAUL -- Food inspectors are fanning out across Minnesota this week to make sure potentially tainted peanut butter products no longer are for sale. The list of products that could be infected with possibly deadly salmonella bacteria tops 800, leading to what some say is the biggest recall in the country's history. "They are looking for any of those 800 products ... making sure all of those identified products are removed from sale," Ben Miller of the Minnesota Agriculture Department said Monday about the inspectors. They will visit places such as grocery and convenience stores.
ST. PAUL -- Sen. Joe Gimse announced a plan to take $95 million from Twin Cities transit funds, and another $5 million from rural funds, to increase spending on school bus programs statewide. It is a plan that Democrats in control of the Minnesota Legislature say they will not consider. "It would ensure students get to school and back safely," Gimse, a Willmar Republican, said Monday about his plan. But taking money from the Metropolitan Council, which runs Twin Cities buses, is not sitting well with Democrats.