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
- 5 years 6 months
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota political leaders have spent months preparing state budget plans, and eight days before the Legislature must adjourn for the year they announced they have reached agreement on some tax and spend guidelines. Included in the budget framework is that the state would not raise sales taxes on consumer goods, such as clothing, but probably would add taxes businesses pay on sales to other businesses.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is a Senate vote and a governor's signature away from becoming the 12th state to allow gay marriage. Same-sex marriage supporters are optimistic because the House was regarded as the biggest hurdle. After the bill passed the House surprisingly easily 75-59, they were euphoric. The Senate is due to take up the bill Monday and Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Most debate about today's historic Minnesota House vote to allow same-sex marriage centers on religious and moral issues, but money also slips into the discussion. A UCLA Williams Institute analysis claims that allowing gay couples to marry would provide a $42 million economic boost in the first three years, with $27 million in the first year alone. The report indicates that nearly half of the 10,000 Minnesota gay couples would marry in the first three years after allowed. Minnesota would be the 12th state to allow gay marriage, after Delaware approved it this week.
ST. PAUL -- Gay marriage supporters feel victory in the air. Their confidence is high as Minnesota state representatives plan to vote on overturning an existing same-sex marriage ban on Thursday, with senators following in a few days. "We've felt pretty good in the Senate for a long time," bill sponsor Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said after the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday passed his measure on a split voice vote. Even gay marriage opponent Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said the bill likely will pass the Senate.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Legislature votes on a proposal to legalize gay marriage are drawing near after a Monday night committee action handed the bill to the full House. The House Ways and Means Committee decided on a divided voice vote to move the bill along to what could be a historic vote this week. There was no debate during a 10-minute meeting. A Senate committee is expected to vote on a similar measure this morning, opening the way to a full Senate vote. Gov. Mark Dayton says he will sign the bill. Legislative leaders have not announced when they would hold votes.
HAMEL -- Jeff Johnson tried to make peace as last year's Minnesota Republican convention split into two factions, and now looks to bridge that gap and more as he launches a run for governor. The Detroit Lakes native announced Sunday he is running for governor in next year's election. In making his announcement in Hamel, he became the second major GOP candidate to say he will challenge Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's minimum wage likely will rise after the House voted 68-62 Friday to increase it to $9.50 an hour, but the question is how high it will go. The House voted to raise the minimum wage paid by large employers, gradually increasing it to $9.50 an hour in two years, and allow it to rise up to 2.5 percent a year after that. "Historically, Minnesota has been a state of high productivity ..." said bill sponsor Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley.
ST. PAUL -- Phil Norgaard uttered words seldom heard in the meeting-filled Minnesota Capitol: "I can't wait to get to some meetings." The Fond du Lac American Indian Reservation human services director Tuesday had just been named to the MNSure board, which will govern a new health insurance marketplace, and he wanted to get to work. Dr. Kathryn Duevel of Willmar also was eager to get started, taking on "a big responsibility" of making sure people with a "diversity of needs" all have access to good health care coverage. Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators passed a tax plan 35-31 Monday -- eventually. It took two tries, but they moved the bill forward, nearly two hours after it initially failed 34-32 with seven Democrats voting no.The second vote set the stage for legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton to hammer out a final budget plan. The Senate tax bill, sponsored by Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, would raise income taxes on the top bracket. It also would lower the sales tax rate to 6 percent while expanding what is taxed to more items such as clothing, auto repairs and digital downloads.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House likely will approve a minimum wage increase later this week, after a committee Monday expanded the bill's reach by doubling state-required parental leave for a new child. Under the amended measure by Rep Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, employers would be required to grant 12-week leaves after a birth or adoption. The House Ways and Means Committee tacked the provision onto Winkler's bill that aims to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour in 2015 from today's $6.15.