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 -- The White Earth Nation says it will front the state's Vikings stadium construction costs, if it receives approval to build a Twin Cities casino. Chairwoman Erma Vizenor of the northwestern Minnesota American Indian tribe Thursday announced White Earth is tweaking an earlier proposal so the state would get $400 million up front, and then receive half of all casino profits. She said that could amount to $1 billion in the first five years of casino operation. "We have moved the ball to the goal line..." Vizenor said.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a Republican plan to take money out of the state reserve fund to repay money owed Minnesota school districts. The Democratic governor on Thursday called the plan an irresponsible "raid" on state reserves. He also criticized a GOP Senate plan to take $100 million more from the reserves to deliver a business property tax reduction. Republicans shot back harsh criticism for the veto. "If a family pays all of their bills and finds they still have money leftover, shouldn't they use some of that money to pay down any outstanding debts?" asked Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Jacob Gould used to dream of being a professional wrestler, but now the 12-year-old with a new law named after him wants to devote his life to helping others wrestle with problems like almost cost him his life. "If I can help just one kid, it would be 100 percent worth it," the Clara City sixth-grader said. Gould said it was "awesome" to watch Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday sign into law a bill that requires both parents to be notified if a child is victim of neglect, physical abuse or sexual abuse outside of the home.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota House members approved wolf hunting and trapping seasons on Tuesday despite warnings that the American Indian community may challenge it in court. "When we make laws, we make laws for all the people of Minnesota," Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, said before representatives approved a bill 82-49 that included the wolf seasons. Bill sponsor Rep.
By Don Davis and Danielle Nordine State Capitol Bureau ST. PAUL -- A Vikings stadium construction proposal took its biggest step forward ever Monday night when a House committee approved the nearly $1 billion plan. After a decade of discussion about whether to build a new stadium, the House commerce committee decided on a split voice vote to advance the plan.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's Republican-controlled Senate approved business tax cuts Friday that Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton all but promises to veto. The highlight of the GOP tax proposal senators passed 34-26 along party lines Friday night after two and a half hours of debate is a reduction in a statewide business property tax and its eventual elimination. The bill by Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, would reduce the taxes $102 million next year. To fund the tax cut, the bill reduces state budget reserves. "We should not have a honey pot," Ortman said.
ST. PAUL -- Many people under the Capitol dome say it feels like the Legislature is in its final days, but more and more it looks like lawmakers will take a break and return April 16 to wrap up work. Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said lawmakers are working quickly, but it looks difficult to quit on Thursday, the last day before a long-planned Easter-Passover break begins.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota representatives heard about problems from Duluth to Moorhead before overwhelmingly voting to crack down on synthetic drugs. On a 120-11 Wednesday vote, the House decided to make 250 more chemicals illegal, slap more severe penalties on those who sell the drugs and make it possible for the state Pharmacy Board to quickly act to add new drugs to the illegal list. "While they may seem something like marijuana, they are nothing like marijuana," Rep.
ST. PAUL -- One of the 2012 Minnesota Legislature's prime tasks is to approve public facility repair and construction funds, but the three proposals vary widely as lawmakers look to wrap up their work for the year. The final of the three public works funding plans, from Senate Republicans, overwhelmingly earned its initial committee passage Wednesday. It would spend $496 million, between House Republicans' $280 million and Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Conservative and liberal Minnesota legislators are combining efforts to stop a business practice they say invades job applicants' privacy. National reports in recent days have told of employers, both private and public, demanding passwords for social Internet sites potential employees use. The employers then have access to personal information of the job applicant. "We want to protect the privacy of those job seekers," Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, said about her bill. "It's a huge invasion of privacy," added Rep.