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.
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ST. PAUL - A new report shows Minnesota produces the fourth most wind power. Three more wind farms came on line late last year, helping boost Minnesota three spots on the American Wind Energy Association ranking. The state's first wind farm was completed in Crookston in 1987. Since then, the state has been among the top ones producing electricity by wind. "Minnesota must maintain momentum in clean energy such as wind technology that will pay dividends in the future," said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. "Wind energy helps create jobs and economic development for the state."
ST. PAUL - Roll Call newspaper reports that U.S. Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen, both Minnesota Republicans, are seeking Capitol Hill support for former Gov. Tim Pawlenty as he prepares to run for president. Reporter David M. Drucker writes: "Likely Republican presidential candidates Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney are quietly but aggressively wooing members of Congress for endorsements and political support in campaigns that have yet to officially take flight." "I've been trying to make connections and offer opportunities to my friend, Tim," Paulsen said.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota state budget woes have forced finance officials to borrow from school districts. It does not happen often, but school districts say it hurts their ability to serve students. So Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, has introduced a bill to ban the practice.
ST. PAUL - State Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, was on the House floor promoting his bill to provide an easier way for professionals to become teachers when he thanked another lawmaker who offered similar bills in the past. "Pioneers take the first arrows," Garofalo said about his colleague. After the debate wrapped up, Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, rose to object to Garofalo's comment. Persell said American Indians that he represents would be offended by the Garofalo statement.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton took on former Gov. Tim Pawlenty in his State of the State address. It sounded a bit like last fall's campaign when Democrats running for many offices appeared to be running against Pawlenty, who already was working toward becoming a presidential candidate and not seeking re-election. The new Democrat governor brought an edge to the speech that has not been seen since he took office on Jan. 3.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Mark Dayton soon will have a bill on his desk that could set up the first major dispute between him and the Legislature. Senators passed on a 37-28 Thursday vote a bill cutting $824 million from the nest two-year state budget and $100 million from the budget that ends June 30.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton pleaded with Republicans who control the Legislature for cooperation today as the state faces a $6.2 billion budget deficit. In his first State of the State speech, Democrat Dayton said that a government shutdown should never happen because the two sides do not work together to solve budget problems. "Compromise doesn't mean we have to agree, thank goodness, because we won't," Dayton said in a tough speech in which he gave no ground on his major priorities. "It doesn't mean we can't debate, because we will.
ST. PAUL -- The first budget-cutting bill of 2011 could be on Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton laid out what he called his vision for education reform Friday, but a key Republican lawmaker said she saw nothing new in the seven-point plan. Dayton suggested increasing education funding, concentrating on early-childhood education (including improving reading by third grade), allowing professionals from other fields to teach and providing more state support to teachers. However, Dayton said that he would not discuss how he would increase funding until he releases his budget proposal on Feb. 15.
ST. PAUL -- Republican legislative leaders took little time to reject Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton's plan to fund public works projects. "We are saying 'no' to a bonding bill unless it is an emergency," said Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, who leads the House committee dealing with the issue. A GOP spokesman later Monday said the only public works bill acceptable would be to fund natural disasters such as floods that weather officials last week predicted statewide. In unveiling a $531 million proposal, Dayton said he cannot force Republicans to approve borrowing money.