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 4 months
ST. PAUL — Tens of thousands of Minnesota state workers will get a raise after the House and Senate approved negotiated contracts. Senators voted 56-10 Monday, May 26, to bump up pay for more than 30,000 workers by 2 percent this year and 2.5 percent next year. The House followed a few hours later with a 93-33 vote. About half of workers are eligible for other increases, too, Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said. The raises will not increase taxes, Sen. Erik Simonson, D-Duluth, said because the added pay would come out of existing budgets.
ST. PAUL — Many Minnesota government pension plans are paying out more than they are taking in. State Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, says that is troubling. Her colleagues agreed Monday, March 26, when they unanimously approved her bill that increases funding going into the pension plans and slightly cuts some benefits. While senators were together on the issue, the pension bill has not received a House committee hearing. Gov. Mark Dayton wants to spend $27 million to help shore up public pensions.
ST. PAUL — State and local governmental decisions often are felt more than things happening in Washington, but not in recent days. Minnesotans, especially rural ones, are focused on Congress, the White House and other locales in the country's capital. The farm bill, foreign trade, taxes and countless other issues have people worried, or at least curious, about what may happen out East.
ST. PAUL — Money appears headed to state agencies trying to fix a computer software problem that has frustrated Minnesotans making motor vehicle license and registration transactions. The Senate and House on Thursday, March 22, approved a $10 million immediate influx for state agencies working on the software, but another $33 million is being requested for use beginning July 1. Gov. Mark Dayton said he can sign the bill.
ST. PAUL — Many students say gun restrictions can help keep them safer in schools, but the Minnesota legislative conversation on safe schools has broadened to other issues, some of which bring tears when people talk about them. "We are facing a public health crisis," Carol Quinn told the state House Education Finance Committee Wednesday, March 21, with tear-filled eyes.
ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton seldom says he would veto a bill, but if it reaches his desk he promises to veto House-passed legislation to get the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System running smoothly. The measure representatives passed late Monday afternoon would take money from other agencies to fix the Public Safety Department program. Dayton said on Tuesday, March 20, that he refuses to let lawmakers "cannibalize" other departments' budgets to fix MNLARS.
ST. PAUL—A controversial permit system that limits when Minnesota landowners can mow roadside ditches allows noxious weeds to grow, a Minnesota state representative says. So Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, is behind a bill to force governments at all levels to exterminate weeds on their property. "Many road ditches are teeming" with weeds, Drazkowski told the House Agriculture Policy Committee Tuesday, March 20.
ST. PAUL—A fix for the troubled Minnesota License and Registration System that has frustrated thousands of vehicle owners may be close. The state Senate and House Monday, March 19, passed differing versions of legislation to pump $10 million into efforts to improve the MNLARS computer software system. A House-Senate conference committee is expected to work out the differences between the two bills, perhaps this week.
ST. PAUL—Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty took a major step forward to run for his old job on Monday, March 19, in announcing he filed campaign committee paperwork. That makes it all but certain the Republican is seeking the governor's office again. A written announcement he distributed, while refusing media interviews, follows a series of speeches in Minnesota that made it sound like he was running.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton suggests some tax cuts and some increases, lots more spending for some programs, a little more for others, no more for much of state government. Republicans disagree with much of what he proposes. However, they agreed with one thing the Democratic governor said: "I will warn you in advance, this is complicated." Dayton unveiled his proposed changes to the state's current two-year, $46 billion budget on Friday, March 16. His plan now goes to the Republican-controlled Legislature, where much of it will face opposition.