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
- 2 years 2 months
ST. PAUL -- Paula Leach received training so she could deal with challenges she faces as an early-childhood special education teacher. The Hastings teacher fears that if the state gives an easy route for a teaching license to those who did not get such extensive training, students will suffer. Leach told a House education finance committee about her concerns Tuesday, one of several teachers to complain about a provision contained in an overall education measure. The provision, like one proposed by Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Al Franken won the U.S. Senate race and should be sent to Washington, a three-judge panel unanimously ruled Monday evening, but Minnesota is at least a few weeks away from having two senators. Republican Norm Coleman plans to appeal the decision, which follows a seven-week trial on a lawsuit he brought when a statewide recount left him trailing Democrat Franken by 225 votes. After the judges' ruling, Franken leads by 312 votes.
ST. PAUL - Al Franken won the U.S. Senate race and should be sent to Washington, a Minnesota three-judge panel ruled this evening. However, even before the ruling, Norm Coleman pledged to appeal the expected loss to the state Supreme Court. And there is a good chance the loser at that level will appeal to the U.S. courts, meaning it still may be months before a new senator is seated. Today's ruling said the election did not violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, as Coleman had claimed.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators voted to chop public school budgets $273 per pupil Tuesday while opting to expand a program that pays teachers based on performance instead of seniority. Those on the winning side of the 37-29 vote were not happy to be cutting schools, but said a massive state budget deficit left them no choice. "This bill expects more from our educational system and gives them less resources to carry it out," said Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer, chairman of the Senate education finance committee. "There is no way to sugar coat this," Stumpf added.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota senators want to lift some mandates the state places on local governments, all in the name of saving money. Senators Monday gave the measure tentative approval on a voice vote, including doing away with long-standing truth-in-taxation hearings local governments are required to hold as a way to give citizens a chance to comment on their budgets. Instead, the bill requires local governments to notify citizens that they can appear at a regularly scheduled meeting during which local officials will consider future budgets. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- American Indian leaders fear their native languages are being lost, calling the situation a crisis. "When a person passes away, it is like a whole dictionary that is gone," Lillian Rice told a Minnesota House committee. A Native American's language, she added, "is the very sense of who we are. ... Without that, we are lost." Indian leaders are working to save languages, and now the Minnesota Legislature is considering helping the cause.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators Thursday voted to end a long-time moratorium on nuclear-power plant construction. The long-divisive issue passed 42-24 as an amendment to an overall energy bill that later received tentative Senate approval. "Nuclear power is clean," Sen. Steve Dille, R-Dassel, said. "Nuclear power is good and we need to continue it." Dille said he was surprised that his amendment passed. But he was not confident the provision would remain after House-Senate negotiations on the overall energy bill.
ST. PAUL -- The governor would increase public school education funding 2.2 percent. Minnesota House leaders propose keeping education spending the next two years about the same as in the budget that ends on June 30. And on Wednesday Senate Democrats proposed cutting education funding 3.2 percent, setting up parameters for a school-funding debate that will share the spotlight with taxes and other issues as Minnesota legislators and Gov. Tim Pawlenty get down to serious budget-writing work in the coming weeks.
ST. PAUL - Cities can accept a large property tax reform bill, counties don't know what to think about it and non-profit organizations love it. And its chief author is optimistic that he can convince Gov. Tim Pawlenty to accept at least part of the measure. The bill written by Rep. Paul Marquart and others features a provision allowing Minnesota counties to institute a half-percent sales tax instead of raising property taxes.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans are fighting flood waters along the Red River and elsewhere while their lawmakers are fighting about the cost of preventing prevent future floods. The fight spilled over into other areas, too, as House leaders Monday introduced a much smaller public works bill than senators passed earlier this month. Rep. Alice Hausman, chairwoman of the House public works funding committee, said the proposal "is a taking-care-of-basics bill." The St.