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 -- 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 - 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.
ST. PAUL -- A Senate committee overturned three days worth of northern Minnesota senators' work Monday when it restored a statewide smoking ban proposal to near its original form. The panel removed provisions that would have allowed bars to allow smoking if they install ventilation equipment and to forbid local ordinances stronger than the state law.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota bars could have some breathing room before new statewide smoking restrictions begin after a key Senate committee Monday weakened the proposal. The bill as amended Monday would pre-empt local ordinances, permitting bars to allow smoking until installing air-handling equipment. That means bars in areas that now ban smoking could let customers light up once again -- if only temporarily. Goodhue County Public Health Services Director Karen Main expected the amendment, though she said it's "ridiculous." "I think it's a terrible thing," Main said Monday.
ST. PAUL -- A late 2005 report showed Minnesota state computers were vulnerable to hackers. The auditor suggested the state give those who manage the computers more money. Those words did not fall on deaf ears. When state officials began an every-other-year budget process last year, the topic returned. Gov.
ST. PAUL -- A law totally banning smoking from workplaces faces obstacles as opposition by northern Minnesota Democrats gels. Most opponents have given up hope of defeating the smoking ban, and their attention has turned to carving out exceptions for bars, private clubs and, perhaps, casinos. "There is a steamroller moving here," Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, said during a Monday Senate committee meeting. However, Sen.
ST. PAUL - Legislators are close to making Minnesota the first state to endorse a compact to restrict use of Great Lakes water. On a voice vote, senators gave preliminary approval to the issue Monday, with a final vote expected Thursday. The House already overwhelmingly approved the compact and Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty is expected to sign the measure.