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 -- Minnesota lawmakers gave the Mall of America a mixed reception Wednesday when its representatives sought state aid to expand. "I would say my district needs more help than you do," Rep. Sandy Wollschlager, DFL-Cannon Falls, told them. On the other hand, Rep. Dean Simpson, R-Perham, rebutted: "Any time you can bring that kind of money into the state, we should do it." A similar Senate bill has advanced with relatively little opposition, but the House plan faces problems, especially since the Taxes Committee chairwoman is against it.
ST. PAUL -- Two waitresses illustrate Minnesotans' differences over a statewide smoking ban plan advancing through the Minnesota Legislature. "I believe that all of us in the state of Minnesota - workers, businesses and public - ultimately are going to win on this issue," Duluth's Joan Linski said if the smoking ban passes, as it appears it will. That is not how Bierstubes worker Mary Yoswa of Hastings sees the matter.
ST. PAUL -- A state legislator and descendant of Betsy Ross threw his support behind a long-unsuccessful effort to require American flags sold in Minnesota be made in the United States Thursday, one of an overwhelming House majority to back the bill. After six years of trying, Rep. Tom Rukavina succeeded on an 83-46 vote to pass his bill. It brought both humor and emotion to the House floor. Rep. Larry Howes, a rare Republican to vote for the bill, said his family has a long military history, going back to the American Revolution when an ancestor was a seamstress. "Gen.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota House Democrats unveiled a budget today raising income taxes on couples earning more than $400,000, bringing in $433 million to cut property taxes. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party leaders propose spending $900,000 more than Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Many Minnesota legislators' dreams of significantly increasing education and health-care funding may have come to a screeching halt. Figures Senate leaders released Thursday show budget growth large enough to cover inflation and pretty much nothing more. That means no all-day, every-day kindergarten. That means covering all Minnesota children with health care insurance may have to wait. That means little more can be done for pre-schoolers.
ST. PAUL -- Small, rural school districts are hurting for money and not very attractive to potential superintendents, a Minnesota Senate committee heard Thursday. Often, the schools don't want to share a superintendent with a nearby district, fearing loss of autonomy. But Sen.
ST. PAUL - A compromise between environmentalists and off-road vehicle drivers may be in the works. "This is a forced marriage," Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said. The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday approved a bill by Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota must intervene to help the state maintain its ethanol leadership, supporters of the next generation of the plant-based fuel say. The intervention would include providing subsidies to farmers growing grass or other plants that are more efficient sources for ethanol than the traditional corn. It also would give loans to build new facilities to produce ethanol from nontraditional plants such as switch grass. Minnesota lawmakers are looking at more comprehensive ethanol changes than any other state, state Rep.