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
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ST. PAUL -- In the simplest terms, Minnesota's seven Supreme Court justices are deciding if the Legislature has full control of state spending, or if the governor has a role once a budget is approved. The decision could affect not only the current state budget, but also could impact the power future governors wield. Specifically, the high court's task is deciding if Gov. Tim Pawlenty acted legally last summer when he cut $5.3 million out of a state-funded dietary program.
ST. PAUL -- Fifty-two public works projects across Minnesota such as college building renovations and state trails fell victim to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto pen Monday, and legislative leaders say there is little chance lawmakers will send any more projects to him before he leaves office early next year. "He basically massacred the bill," Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Members of the Minnesota House agriculture finance committee looked through their budget for any place to cut. For instance, they decided to reduce what the state pays to the Minnesota Livestock Breeder Association by $1,000, practically nothing compared to the state's $31 billion, two-year budget. But as state lawmakers struggle to plug a nearly $1 billion gap, they are looking everywhere. The committee, which also deals with veterans' issues, has one of the smallest budgets of any area, $208 million. Gov.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota governor's race looks to be close, with a new poll giving Republicans reason to smile. The poll shows that Republican state Reps. Marty Seifert of Marshall and Tom Emmer of Delano hold their own against better-known Democrats, a sign of what some are saying will be a good GOP election year. For Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidates, the Rasmussen poll seems to indicate that three would play strong against Seifert and Emmer: former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, Minneapolis Mayor R.T.
ST. PAUL -- Republicans blasted a public works funding bill as being too expensive, but as the Minnesota House and Senate passed a revised measure Thursday a Democrat delivered the most stinging speech against the plan written by his own party members. Rep.
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.