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 3 weeks
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's cities, counties and poor people needing health care would be most affected by Gov. Tim Pawlenty's plan to balance the state budget. Pawlenty Monday announced that he recommends cutting: - $347 million from health-care programs, affecting 40,000 people. Half would lose MinnesotaCare insurance coverage, half would lose or experience cuts in other programs. - $387 million from other health-care funding.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty delivered equal amounts of patriotism and conservatism Thursday in his final State of the State speech. The Republican governor and potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate began his 33-minute speech praising the Minnesota National Guard, and spent much of his time in the packed House chamber promoting tax cuts and other proposals that he said would help business hire more workers. Reception to his speech was divided along partisan lines more than his previous seven.
ST. PAUL -- City leaders are working on a proposal to fund continued local government aid. Since 2003, cities have complained that Gov. Tim Pawlenty and legislators cut state payments to them when the state budget needed to be balanced. Next week, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities will draw up a way to raise revenue to keep money flowing to cities. Cloquet Mayor Bruce Ahlgren said among the ideas being floated is extending the sales tax to services such as hair cuts and tattoos.
ST. PAUL -- Bills to restrict a governor's ability to unilaterally cut budgets are being introduced in the Minnesota Legislature, and the state Supreme Court says it will accept cities' input when it considers the issue this spring. To balance the budget, Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants to double some sex offender sentences, the latest in a series of related moves over the years. Under the plan the Republican governor announced Tuesday, a first-degree sex offender would receive a sentence of at least 25 years, compared to 12 years now. Pawlenty's plan received mixed reaction from key Democratic lawmakers. Sen. Mary Olson of Bemidji, vice chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said she likes extending prison sentences.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans have a new chance to tell legislators how they would like to see government operate. "How can we provide better services and better results at a better price?" Rep. Paul Marquart said is the question being asked of the public. Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, announced Monday the formation of a state government redesign caucus, with both Democrats and Republicans involved. "This is a start," Marquart said. He had no blueprint of how a newly designed government would look or how much money it could save.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's primary election likely will be a month earlier than normal so military personnel and other Americans overseas have plenty of time to cast their ballots. A bill cleared its first legislative hurdle Friday moving the primary to Aug. 10. Without a law change, the primary vote would be Sept. 14. "There has been an argument over how early it should be," Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, said, but a group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers hammered out a compromise in recent months.
ST. PAUL -- Little has been discussed about using gambling to help balance the state budget, but that could change in coming weeks as lawmakers look to ways to plug a $1.2 billion immediate deficit and a much longer long-term problem. Even if this is not the year, some Capitol insiders say the concept will live next year when the budget looks even worse. On the 2010 Minnesota legislative session's first day Thursday, Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Some legislators are considering gambling revenue to balance the Minnesota budget, one of the few surprises Thursday as the 2010 legislation session began. Legislators' major job is to plug a $1.2 billion hole in the state budget, a budget with nearly a year and a half left.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators return to the state Capitol today for a session that promises to be little fun. Like the kid who gets clothes for Christmas, lawmakers will deal with the necessities, not the luxuries. And, frankly, there is but one overriding necessity on their minds: balance the state budget. People around the Capitol understand that.