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 10 months
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.
ST. PAUL -- About 22,000 Minnesota Republicans helped Rick Santorum slow down what many had seen as a Mitt Romney domination of the Republican presidential race. With nearly all of Minnesota's 4,137 precincts reporting, that is how many votes the former Pennsylvania U.S. senator received in Tuesday's caucuses. He also won caucuses in Colorado, upsetting favored Romney, and a Missouri primary election.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota lawmakers are moving forward early in their 2012 legislative session, hoping they do not need to revisit divisive budget decisions made last year while plugging a $5 billion deficit. Republicans say they hear few complaints about the two-year budget they passed in July, to end a 20-day government shutdown, while Democrats say the mostly Republican-written spending plan hurts Minnesotans. "We've been able to get control of some of the costs of government," Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, said.
ST. PAUL -- Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's stinging criticism of Senate Republicans last Monday, saying they are "not fit to govern," still hurt as the week ended. Senate Republicans' Monday firing of a Dayton appointee drew the governor's sharp remarks. They said former Sen. Ellen Anderson is too strongly opposed to energy sources such as coal and nuclear to serve as an energy regulator in the Public Utilities Commission chairwoman's job. On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, rebutted Dayton and released a list of 38 votes then-U.S. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Opponents of requiring photo identifications for voters talked against it for hours Wednesday, knowing their chances of stopping the proposal were slim. Just four of more than 30 witnesses at a five-hour Minnesota legislative committee meeting spoke in favor of the proposed constitutional amendment, which Republicans who control the Minnesota Legislature back in the name of preventing voter fraud. The Senate Local Government and Elections Committee took no vote Wednesday night because the meeting lasted so late that some members faced schedule conflicts.