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 legislators gave final approval to studying a rare cancer found on the Iron Range when the House voted 121-1 in favor of a $4.9 million expenditure. Mesothelioma is believed to have resulted in 58 northeastern Minnesota deaths, but scientists are not sure about the cause. "This study is a commitment to those that work in the mines on the Iron Range and for all workers across the state: If something where you work is making you sick, we are going to get to the bottom of it," said bill sponsor Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia.
The toughest part of deciding to support Sen. Barak Obama for president was one telephone call, Nancy Larson of Dassel said. The day after the Minnesota Democrat super delegate decided on Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton, Larson received a call from former first daughter Chelsea Clinton.
Minnesota Independence Party Chairman Craig Swaggert was surprised to learn from a reporter his party had a candidate for the 7th Congressional District race this year - at least according to party's Web site. Swaggert could not figure out how Alan Roebke of Chaska -- who earlier this year told some reporters he was running as a Republican in the 7th and said his 2003 federal fraud conviction helped to shape his views on agriculture issues -- showed up on the party's Web site listing candidates. Swaggert later said a party staffer posted Roebke's information on the site by mistake and that t
Northwest Airlines appears more accustomed to corporate meetings than news conferences. A recent news conference with Chief Executive Officer Doug Steenland seemed to reveal the company's inexperience when it comes to hosting journalists at its sprawling Eagan, Minn., headquarters. Northwest media representatives laid out a lavish display of beverages -- dozens and dozens of water bottles and a few big brown coffee containers and other treats -- for the few dozen reporters who attended one of the best-attended recent news conferences in Minnesota.
House Democrats quietly are surveying fellow DFLers about a possible second public works funding bill, asking under what conditions they would vote for another package of construction projects funded by the state selling bonds. This comes after Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a $717 million bonding bill into law after removing $208 million, angering many Democratic lawmakers who said he targeted their projects.
POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Pawlenty almost apologizes Don Davis firstname.lastname@example.org ST. PAUL - It wasn't an apology, but it is about as close as you get in politics. Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Friday he regretted having a staff member tell a legislative leader that "cheap shots are cheap, but they are not free." Pawlenty last month told his chief of staff to pass on those remarks in a telephone call to House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, in response to comments Sertich made about Pawlenty's lack of involvement in the legislative process.
Airline incentive move blocked ST. PAUL -- House Republicans tried unsuccessfully Wednesday to offer Delta Air Lines tax breaks to locate headquarters for a merged airline in the Twin Cities, not Atlanta as planned. They tried to attach the provision to a bill dealing with the Metropolitan Council, but it was rejected. House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, said the most effective way to address the Northwest Airlines merger with Delta would be through Gov.
ST. PAUL -- A mega airline could be a mega problem or a mega opportunity for the Upper Midwest. It all depends on who analyzes a planned merger that would create the world's largest airline. "Fewer flights, more expensive flights, more expensive airplanes and more stops in between." That is the summary of the planned Northwest Airlines-Delta Air Lines merger by Alfie Marcus, professor of strategic management and organization at the University of Minnesota.
ST. PAUL - Minnesotans facing home foreclosure may attend workshops with lenders to work out their financial problems. However, Gov. Tim Pawlenty won't go as far as others and mandate such meetings. Foreclosure counseling workshops already are available, but Pawlenty on Monday announced an expansion as the state works with the private Minnesota Home Ownership Center. Workshops are scheduled in the Twin Cities area, and Pawlenty announced they will be added in Duluth, St. Cloud and Rochester.
ST. PAUL -- House Majority Leader Tony Sertich says Gov. Tim Pawlenty erased $1.5 million in state construction projects from his district as revenge for comments he made about the Republican governor. The Chisholm Democrat told reporters Friday that on March 14 a Pawlenty staff member called with what he said was a message from the governor: "I have a hockey analogy for you. Cheap shots are cheap, but they are not free." Sertich said the staffer went on to say that Pawlenty threatened to veto projects in Sertich's northeastern Minnesota district.