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 9 months
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota already is on track to establish a new way for its residents to buy health insurance, and now legislators are poised to change how the state takes care of its elderly, disabled and poor. Senators debated late Thursday their plan to spend $11.2 billion in the next two years for health care, which is second only to public school funding in the $38 billion state budget. The plan by Sen. Tony Lourey, DFL-Kerrick, builds on the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators joined the House on Thursday night in voting to eliminate a law requiring students to pass a test before graduating high school. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor education bill, spending nearly $15.7 billion in the next two years, passed 35-28 after Republicans refused to vote for 10 minutes when Senate President Sandra Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, did not call on two GOP members seeking to speak.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota state representatives were prepared to approve a health-care spending bill late Monday or early today without knowing how it would affect hospitals around the state. Highlighting debate was an amendment by Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators opted to spend $383 million on economic development opportunities, with an emphasis on creating jobs. Money would be spent on programs ranging from those designed to create jobs to attracting movie producers to improving worker training. On Friday, senators voted 38-25 to boost spending to provide "the tools to actually create jobs," Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, said, predicting thousands would find employment and would get better employment.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators voted themselves and other state officials pay raises Tuesday with no debate. The only mention of the raises, part of a larger bill funding several state agencies, in the Senate came when bill sponsor Sen. Tom Saxhaug, DFL-Grand Rapids, quickly described the bill. He did not provide specifics. When the vote came late in the afternoon, two big voting boards in the Senate chamber showed it failing by a single vote, then tied 33-33. After several minutes at 33-33, Sen. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley, changed from a "no" vote to "yes," and acting President Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Goals of 100 percent high school graduation, every third-grader being able to read, ending an achievement gap and all students being ready for careers or college after graduation are lofty, but House Democrats say their sights are set on those accomplishments by 2017. Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, said Tuesday that the $15.7 billion House Democrats want to spend on education in the next two years would "actually make a difference in the life of every single student of this state." The House education financing plan closely follows one released by Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota would borrow money for relatively small projects, such as $775,000 to improve Clara City streets, to a massive one that all Minnesotans would notice, a $109 million Capitol building renovation, under the governor's public works funding proposal. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday said he proposes borrowing and spending $750 million because he is trying to catch up after Republican Gov.
ST. PAUL -- New tests show Asian carp likely are not colonizing Minnesota waters, however, experts say that shoudn't slow efforts to stop the invasive fish. "The results certainly don't say we should be doing anything different than we are right now," said Steve Hirsch of the Department of Natural Resources. Hirsch and other Asian carp experts reacted to Thursday's release of a study that found no indication that many of the carp are in Minnesota's Mississippi and St.