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
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VOLK FIELD, Wis. -- Spc. Dustin Isaak left no doubt what he thought about spending 22 months away from home: "It is too long to be away from your family." The Thief River Falls National Guard soldier's feeling is similar to many who have arrived lately from Iraq at this western Wisconsin airfield. "There were some days sitting there in the heat thinking, 'I should be home with my family,'" Isaak added. Capt.
ST. PAUL -- Sen. Amy Klobuchar met with people concerned about Big Ten Conference television sports coverage. U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman tried to tighten up regulations that now could give terrorists easy access to radioactive materials. U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson is booked morning to night in meetings about upcoming farm legislation. News coming out of Washington may make it appear U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Judges could be for sale to campaign contributors if Minnesota follows other states and judicial campaigns begin soliciting big donors, the state chief justice told fellow lawyers Friday. "Minnesotans do not want judges to be beholden to special interest groups," Russell Anderson said during his annual State of the Judiciary speech to the Minnesota State Bar Association. "Minnesota has a lot to lose. Let it not be said it was lost on our watch." Anderson has talked about the issue of money in judicial campaigns for the year and a half he has been Minnesota's top judge.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Parents complained about a tuition agreement with Wisconsin and hourly workers said they are underpaid, but for the most part a Wednesday University of Minnesota meeting featured the best reception any school budget has received in more than a decade. President Bob Bruininks credited the Legislature and governor for providing more money. "It is not everything we need," but is an improvement over years with spending increases as small as 0.3 percent, he said. The state Legislature approved a nearly $152 million spending increase for the two years beginning July 1, out of to
ST. PAUL -- On a sunny day last August, House Democrats told reporters gathered at the Minnesota State Fair their top three issues in the 2007 legislative session would be health care, education and property tax relief. Senate Democrats later embraced those three priorities, while adding more of their own. But if success is defined as getting priorities passed into law, they didn't fare well. The House and Senate each passed bills doing what Democrats wanted, but pending Republican Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators cobbled together the largest budget in history before leaving town this week, but two of the most noticed things may come out of their failures. For instance, potholes and highway congestion may grow after Gov. Tim Pawlenty and lawmakers could not agree on a transportation funding bill. Also, homeowners' property taxes may rise if Pawlenty vetoes a tax bill as expected; even if he signs it, many property tax bills will be higher because lawmakers scaled back a plan to actually cut property taxes. After working from noon Jan. 3 until 12:03 a.m.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota lawmakers appeared ready to complete the $35 billion state budget Monday night, while governor kept the door open to vetoing budget bills. More than $30 billion of spending was being rushed through the Senate and House by the midnight constitutional deadline. But Democratic legislative leaders never received assurances from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty that he would sign the bills. Senators went first in passing bills funding public education, health care, state agencies and higher education, with the House taking them up later.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House dissolved into a shouting match as midnight approached Monday, just completing passage of a $35 billion budget and the House sustaining a transportation funding veto. More than $30 billion of spending zipped through the Senate and House by the midnight constitutional deadline. But Democratic legislative leaders never received assurances from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty that he would sign the bills, leaving open the possibility of a special session if he vetoes a major funding bill. The most excitement came at 11:45 p.m.
ST. PAUL - Whether Minnesotans will have a chance to vote to raise sales tax for arts, clean-water and outdoors programs may be decided as the 2007 legislative session winds down. After a 4.5-hour debate, the House voted 86-46 early Sunday for a constitutional amendment that would raise the state sales tax 0.375 percent. That would bring in an estimated $280 million a year, bill sponsor Rep.