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 5 months
ST. PAUL -- Farmers in 16 Minnesota counties will be eligible for emergency loans and other help after dealing with multiple weather problems. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday announced the farmers, mostly in northern Minnesota, are due federal aid because their farms have sustained excessive rain, flooding, frost and cold. "Many farm operations are already struggling with low farm prices, and these weather disasters have made it even harder for them to operate," Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty is looking at ways to chop a public works funding bill down to size and how to expand a sex offender facility on the cheap. Pawlenty on Wednesday said he plans to sign a public works bill, which the House and Senate likely will pass today.
ST. PAUL -- The Senate leader's proposal to abolish two state departments and trim another, while also cutting the number of political appointees throughout state government, met opposition from within his own party. However, it gained support from unions that would not be affected. The bill by Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, also would turn over most reorganization duties to employees.
ST. PAUL -- Students who change colleges often discover not all of their credits transfer, so a bill backed Tuesday by a Senate committee takes steps to fix that. "The state should reduce the hurdles," Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, said. "The goal is to allow students to transfer credits seamlessly." A bill she authored, similar to one in the House, would require the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to do more to align courses at its 25 two-year colleges and seven state universities so credits transfer more easily.
ST. PAUL -- A state senator's bill designed to help fund a 4-H program in one county could end up hurting 4-H programs statewide, a fellow senator and a county fair representative warn. Sen. Kathy Saltzman's bill to provide new ways to fund 4-H programs passed out of its first committee Monday, but not before she heard warnings that it could do more harm than good.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans should find absentee voting easier this year than in the controversial 2008 U.S. Senate election, when counting stretched for months after the November vote. The House passed a bill 131-2 and the Senate gave it tentative approval by voice vote Monday, with final approval expected today. "It will enhance election integrity," Sen.
ST. PAUL - A proposal to lift Minnesota's moratorium on new nuclear power plants is in limbo after a Senate committee amended it with what its sponsor called a poison pill. The Senate Energy, Utilities, Technology and Communications Committee on a 9-6 vote Thursday tacked an amendment on the bill with a series of requirements the state and power companies must follow before a nuclear power plant could be built. The requirements, suggested by Sen. John Doll, DFL-Burnsville, included not allowing a new power plant until the federal government provides a place to store nuclear waste.
ST. PAUL -- A newly revised public works funding bill that would spend $986 million on projects across Minnesota is firm, set in stone, ready to pass both the House and Senate in the next few days. Maybe. Chief legislative negotiators on the issue said late Thursday afternoon that they had done their best to build a public works bill, funded by the state selling bonds, and a deal they just made would be their final work on the issue. While their proposal would spend far more than the $685 million Gov.
ST. PAUL -- It is time for Minnesota House and Senate leaders to get on the same page, the Senate's chief public works negotiator says. Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, went into a late-Wednesday afternoon meeting expecting negotiators to agree on a framework of a new public works funding plan, but his House counterpart said after the meeting that negotiators have yet to agree on what should be in the bill. That was news to Langseth, who said the two sides were within $5 million out of a nearly $1 billion measure. Langseth said he sees the next step as getting leaders involved. Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's current budget picture is a bit brighter than three months ago, but the next budget could be the state's biggest-ever financial challenge. The current budget is $944 million short, state officials announced Tuesday, but depending upon what legislators and the governor do in the next few months the budget that begins in mid-2011 could end up with an $8 billion hole. The best scenario for the 2011-12 budget is a $2.8 billion deficit. In early December, those same state officials predicted a $1.2 billion budget in the current $31 billion, two-year budget.