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 -- About 22,000 Minnesota Republicans helped Rick Santorum slow down what many had seen as a Mitt Romney domination of the Republican presidential race. With nearly all of Minnesota's 4,137 precincts reporting, that is how many votes the former Pennsylvania U.S. senator received in Tuesday's caucuses. He also won caucuses in Colorado, upsetting favored Romney, and a Missouri primary election.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota lawmakers are moving forward early in their 2012 legislative session, hoping they do not need to revisit divisive budget decisions made last year while plugging a $5 billion deficit. Republicans say they hear few complaints about the two-year budget they passed in July, to end a 20-day government shutdown, while Democrats say the mostly Republican-written spending plan hurts Minnesotans. "We've been able to get control of some of the costs of government," Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, said.
ST. PAUL -- Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's stinging criticism of Senate Republicans last Monday, saying they are "not fit to govern," still hurt as the week ended. Senate Republicans' Monday firing of a Dayton appointee drew the governor's sharp remarks. They said former Sen. Ellen Anderson is too strongly opposed to energy sources such as coal and nuclear to serve as an energy regulator in the Public Utilities Commission chairwoman's job. On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, rebutted Dayton and released a list of 38 votes then-U.S. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Opponents of requiring photo identifications for voters talked against it for hours Wednesday, knowing their chances of stopping the proposal were slim. Just four of more than 30 witnesses at a five-hour Minnesota legislative committee meeting spoke in favor of the proposed constitutional amendment, which Republicans who control the Minnesota Legislature back in the name of preventing voter fraud. The Senate Local Government and Elections Committee took no vote Wednesday night because the meeting lasted so late that some members faced schedule conflicts.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Republican senators fired a Gov. Mark Dayton appointee Monday, and the governor fired right back by saying they "are unfit to govern." Republicans said former Sen. Ellen Anderson opposed energy sources such as coal and nuclear power. Dayton had appointed her Public Utilities Commission chairwoman. Anderson, a St.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton says if stadium supporters count on racino money, they should not bet on quick money. The governor said that racino likely would be tied up in court for years if that is how lawmakers opt to fund a new Vikings stadium. Minnesota's American Indian tribes probably would file a legal challenge over the proposal to allow the state's two horse-racing tracks to add slot machines. The tribes and state have a long-standing agreement, which the state cannot break, that gives tribal casinos a monopoly.
ST. PAUL -- The five men gathered like at a family reunion, showing broad smiles and greeting each other with firm handshakes. Those smiles among top Minnesota policymakers, however, faded and at times disappeared into frowns, foretelling what appears likely to be a sometimes-cooperative, sometimes-contentious legislative session that begins at noon Tuesday. The five are the four legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton all but ruled out the Minnesota Vikings' preferred site for a new stadium Wednesday, and said questions remain about two downtown Minneapolis sites. With the 2012 legislative session beginning Tuesday, those answers are needed soon or no new stadium will be approved this year, the governor said. The Vikings' Metrodome lease expires Feb.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton says he does not have enough information to get behind a Vikings stadium plan, but appears to be leaning toward a western downtown Minneapolis site. The governor released pages of information about the three major potential stadium locations Wednesday, but said enough questions remain for each that he cannot recommend one. Nine proposals were submitted last week, three of which he took seriously. Dayton said he is pressuring backers of each site to fill in the blanks, but did not give a deadline for when those answers are due.