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 -- A Minneapolis-based law firm will lead what is described as a Watergate-like investigation into the Minnesota Department of Transportation. "We need people who are highly skilled in the art of extracting information," Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, told the Senate Rules Committee Wednesday before it voted along party lines to approve the request. The committee gave $250,000 to the probe, which will be added to a like amount from the House. The $500,000 will go to Gray Plant Mooty law firm, which once employed Democratic Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Those behind a nationally recognized program helping to smooth soldiers' return from combat on Wednesday earned honors from the state. "None of it happens without a team of hundreds or even thousands," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said before pinning awards on 22 civilians and military personnel, including Lt. Col. Chris Fritz and his wife, Cherie, of Red Wing. Minnesota's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon campaign has become "the national standard for troops returning from war," Gen. Joe Kelly said during a Wednesday ceremony. Major John Morris of Afton, the Minnesota National Guard's No.
ST. PAUL - A key legislative committee today approved what was described as a Watergate-like investigation of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. On a split vote, the Senate Rules Committee approved giving $250,000 to the probe. The House is expected to follow suit with a like amount. The $500,000 will go to a committee established to investigate the Aug. 1 Interstate 35W Minneapolis bridge collapse, but Sen. Steve Murphy said the investigation will go well beyond the collapse.
ST. PAUL -- The Pawlenty administration is looking to involve Minnesotans in a decision about how a proposed, and increasingly controversial, new state park would look. The Department of Natural Resources and an advisory committee are seeking public input into a new park along Lake Vermilion in northeastern Minnesota. They say they want to hear what kinds of amenities people would like to see in the park. Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced a plan to buy about 3,000 acres for a major new state park.
ST. PAUL -- Fighting between Democrats and Republicans was so intense, the two parties refused to meet in the same room. Even after envoys from the two parties worked out an agreement, Republicans and Democrats would not sign the same document, so each side prepared its own. The dispute sounds like one of several in Minnesota headlines lately.
ST. PAUL -- Politics and government may not be as foreign to Minnesota high school students as some adults think. That is especially true for students such as those from Cannon Falls High School who competed on Monday in a statewide contest testing their knowledge about the U.S. Constitution and the law. For instance, seven Cannon Falls students -- competing in the state Capitol as part of a larger school team -- answered questions about how to use modern technology in a democracy.
ST. PAUL -- Mayors, unemployed union members, transportation advocates and Democratic leaders all want a special legislative session to infuse money into a slumping Minnesota economy, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty says "no." Supporters of a special session say vetoed bills, especially one designed to reform property taxes, would provide money for thousands of construction jobs and increase state aid to local governments.
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Legislature is not in session this time of year, but the House convened more than 60 committee meetings last month, compared to three in October two years ago. Republicans say that is a bloated and expensive schedule, threatening to end the tradition of citizen-legislators. Democrats say the heavy meeting load helps lawmakers hear concerns of Minnesotans, especially those in rural areas who seldom can drive to St.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota deer hunters could give more than a quarter million pounds of meat to the state's needy this fall. It is part of a new program to provide venison to people using food shelves around the state. "It is safe to say any time you can add a quarter a million pounds of meat ... you are giving the system a huge jolt of highly nutritious food," said Newell Searle, a Second Harvest Heartland vice president. "It is a huge donation." To put it in perspective, the St.
ST. PAUL - Deer hunters should learn that being first does not mean being successful, the head of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association says. Mark Johnson looked to Saturday's firearms deer hunting opener with the advice that it would be better to prowl the fields or sit in deer stands between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. rather than the traditional get-out-there-before-sunrise timing. "That is when there are an awful lot of the big bucks shot," he said. Each year, just 35 percent to 40 percent of hunters actually land a deer, Johnson said.