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.
- Member for
- 4 years 3 months
ST. PAUL -- Finding justice will be tougher for Minnesotans if proposed budget cuts materialize, court officials from across the state tell legislators. "We are rapidly approaching a crisis in our court administration offices that will have a detrimental effect on the people who serve and those who rely upon our work," Chief Judge Gary Schurrer of the 10th Judicial District wrote to lawmakers. Minnesota court officials for years have said they need more money to keep up with a growing caseload -- 2 million cases are filed each year.
ST. PAUL -- Cutting public works spending to a level Gov. Tim Pawlenty can accept could doom all such spending, the issue's key senator said. "If the governor gets his way, I don't know if we have the votes" to pass the bill, Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, said Thursday. Langseth's comment followed a Senate Finance Committee vote that changed a funding bill the full Senate earlier approved by an overwhelming margin.
ST. PAUL -- Repercussions continue five years after Dru Sjodin was kidnapped and killed by a sex offender released from prison months earlier. The 2008 Minnesota Legislature still is tweaking sex offender laws. Bills advancing this year include those to reduce county costs, help track sex offenders after they get out of prison, and add to what constitutes a sex crime. The most controversial may be a proposal by Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Forget calling it the bonding bill or public works funding bill. Democrats now like to call a measure they passed last week a jobs bill. Some say the bill could create 10,000 jobs across Minnesota. But what it would do -- if it survives in somewhat the same form as the House and Senate passed -- would be to repair and renovate college buildings, construct local arenas and convention centers, fund additions to trails and approve many other public works projects. The House passed the bill 99-34 Thursday afternoon, following four hours of debate.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Chief Justice Russell Anderson today announced he will retire on June 1. Anderson gave his wife's health concerns and his age as reasons to leave the bench. He is a Bemidji native and served northwestern Minnesota from as a Crookston-based judge. "It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Minnesota over the last 25 years, first as a district court judge from 1982 to 1998, and as a member of the Supreme Court from 1998 until the present time," Anderson said in a statement.
ST. PAUL -- The march toward confrontation continued Tuesday when senators overwhelmingly passed a public works funding bill that is $140 million richer than Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans can expect state government budget cuts like they have not seen for five years, thanks to a tanking national economy. Classrooms apparently will be exempt from the reductions, but it will be weeks before legislators decide how to plug a $935 million budget gap. The deficit Finance Department officials announced Thursday is "series, but solvable," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. Some money to fill the budget gap will come from reserves set aside at the end of last year's legislative session, Pawlenty and legislative leaders said.
ST. PAUL -- The top Minnesota House Republican punished six colleagues for not voting the "right way" Monday on a transportation funding bill. "We want positive leadership from Republicans," House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, said of his rare move. "They are not doing the right thing on the floor." Leadership positions, such as being top Republican on a committee and the title of assistant whip, were ripped away from the six.
ST. PAUL -- Now that the big legislative issue is settled, attention turns to the really big issue. After lawmakers Monday overrode a transportation funding bill veto, state officials prepared for what will be even a more difficult task: how to fix a budget deficit that some say could top $1 billion. And if Gov.