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 senators narrowly voted Tuesday to allow some patients in extreme pain to smoke marijuana, and the House author of the measure predicted a narrow victor. But Gov. Tim Pawlenty promises to veto any such bill. The 33-31 Senate vote followed a debate that featured supporters who said they want to ease people's pain fighting those who worried that allowing medical marijuana would lead to more widespread use of it. "There is not a person on the Senate floor or a person in the state of Minnesota who hasn't witnessed ...
ST. PAUL -- It appears Minnesota legislators must start over on a public works projects funding package after Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed their first attempt Tuesday, saying lawmakers simply wanted to spend too much. The future of $334 million worth of projects ranging from flood aid to college roof repairs is in doubt and lawmakers have not discussed their next move. "We will see what, if anything, will happen by the end of the session," Sen.
Off-highway vehicles would be able to drive on state forest roads during seasons set by the state natural resources commissioner under a bill senators passed Monday. During the season, off-road vehicles only would be allowed in areas mapped for off-road use. The bill also would outlaw possession of firewood unless it is obtained from an authorized dealer. The provision is designed to keep wood infected by the emerald wood borer out of Minnesota.
ST. PAUL -- Nuclear power plants either are the answer to the country's power and environmental problems or they create worse problems. That is the range of opinions Minnesota legislators face as they consider whether to alter state laws dealing with nuclear plants. While a Senate committee held meetings on the matter this week and the House energy chairman promises hearings before lawmakers adjourn on May 21, it is not clear whether anything actually will happen this year. Murphy's bills Sen.
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.