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 2 months
ST. PAUL -- At least one key legislator feels better about backing a new Minnesota Vikings stadium after meeting with the team owner. "It's brought some comfort to my decision to co-author the bill," Sen. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton, said. Owner Zygi Wilf met with Magnus and other legislators Thursday as time runs out for legislators to approve a stadium.
ST. PAUL -- Agriculture led the way in Minnesota's budget debate. Gov. Mark Dayton today signed a bill spending $77 million on agriculture programs for the next two years making some cuts while increasing funding for programs such as food inspections. Democrat Dayton and Republican legislative leaders cited the ag bill as what can be done if they work together. The bill spends a tiny fraction of the $34 billion-plus state budget in the next two years and traditionally is a bipartisan effort.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Legislature's nine budget bills fall more than $1 billion short, Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton puts the need for Minnesota to fund public works projects up there with flood fighting. The reason public works projects, funded by the state selling bonds, are so important is because they could put thousands of people to work, the Democratic governor said. "They are in emergency conditions," he said of the jobless. In recent days, Dayton has renewed his push to invest $1 billion in public works projects ranging from new trails to fixing university roofs.
ST. PAUL -- Republicans say their proposals to change Minnesota's environmental policies are needed reform, while many environmentalists say they would harm the state's natural resources. The Republican-led House and Senate passed their outdoors bills on a mostly party-line basis, and the bills now await negotiations to work out differences between the two bills, and probable involvement by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.
ST. PAUL -- A proposal to build a new Vikings stadium is not ready for prime time, the Minnesota House speaker says. In a Friday meeting with reporters, House and Senate leaders repeatedly refused to back a proposal, or reject it, to build a professional football stadium funded in part by new sports-related taxes. Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said he told bill sponsor Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, that the effort needs a local government partner and a stadium location before it is ready for serious consideration. Lanning and Sen.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Senate wants to divert some education funding to help children read by third grade, but critics do not like how the plan takes money from other needs. Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan, said that the education budget bill's aim is to "put a laser focus on reading." Overall, the bill would spend about $14 billion in the next two years, the largest chunk of the $34 billion state budget. The state's general education payments would rise $50 per student each of the next two years under the Republican bill, adding $133 million to school districts.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota lawmakers voted to cut $300 million from college and university spending as they craft a state budget while plugging a $5 billion deficit. Opponents of the Republican-written bill said some campuses are threatened and up to 1,500 higher education workers could lose their jobs if the bill becomes law. Bills passing the House and Senate Tuesday set a $2.5 billion two-year budget for state-run colleges and universities. That is down from $2.8 billion in the current budget. Senators passed their bill 37-27; representatives passed it 69-60.
ST. PAUL -- Democratic lawmakers fear a bill the House passed Monday night is the beginning of the end of state aid sent to local governments. With Republicans providing most of the votes, representatives approved the bill 73-59 lowering state aid and also cutting income taxes. Republicans rejected attempts to restore local government aid payments. "I believe this bill will end Local Government Aid as we know it," said Rep.