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 4 months
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 -- 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.
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.
PAUL -- The road to more transportation funding may be southwest Minnesota's Highway 60. A small provision tucked into a big highway and transit funding package would benefit that rural stretch of highway -- and it could sway at least one vote when the Minnesota House and Senate take up the $7.7 billion package today. "It is part of discussion I have been having with the (transportation committee) chair and the speaker and others in order to get the No. 1 priority in our district," Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota and North Dakota senators promise they will fight to hold airline executives to a promise that small communities' air service will fare well if a merger produces the world's largest airline. "Show us that this will happen," U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said she will demand from chief executive officers of Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines after they said service away from Northwest's Minneapolis-St. Paul hub would benefit from any merger. Klobuchar and Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., talked about a possible merger Wednesday after a joint St.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty implemented a hiring freeze Tuesday amid expectations that the state budget deficit will grow. "Considering the current economic slowdown, it is important that state government take steps to rein in costs, utilize technology and improve productivity just as private businesses, non-profits and families are doing," Pawlenty wrote to his commissioners and state board executive directors. In late November, a state report predicted a $373 million deficit during the current two-year budget.