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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MINNEAPOLIS -- Republican Party activists left Minneapolis fired up for the Nov. 7 election. "It is exciting to hear from who we have running for office," first-time convention delegate Kenneth Cobb of Bemidji said Saturday as time ran out on the three-day event. The 28-year-old echoed party leaders who spoke from the stage since Thursday: "We believe we have the right message." Gov. Tim Pawlenty reminded mostly conservative delegates Friday that Minnesota has a liberal tradition.
Both were born in southeastern Minnesota -- one in 1947 and one in 1951. Both are Lutherans. Both entered the Minnesota Legislature in 1979. But watching House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, and Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, this year showed why in marriages opposites attract. When spouses or legislative leaders are too similar, there may be more fights than progress. Rewind to May 10, a week and a half before the 2006 legislative session had to be wrapped up.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Gov.
EAGAN, Minn. -- Tim Pawlenty stood in front of a calm lake on a sunny, idyllic day promising four years of keeping taxes low, making government accountable, being fiscally responsible and continuing the record pace of locking up sex offenders and methamphetamine users. And he promised Wednesday to serve out his four-year term if re-elected Minnesota governor. The first-term Republican issued no new proposals during his half-hour lakeside re-election announcement near his Eagan home.
ST. PAUL -- The ethanol industry appears to be abiding by the law of supply and demand, not breaking state law when E85 prices rise, the Minnesota Attorney General says. An eight-month investigation produced no proof of illegal pricing of ethanol-based E85 fuel. "I don't believe there is price fixing," Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch said Wednesday. "What I see is the law of supply and demand." Producers, distributors and retailers can charge whatever they want for E85 or other products, as long as they don't conspire with others to set the price, Hatch said.
ST. PAUL -- Legislators have spent their time since adjourning for the year patting themselves on the back after a marathon Saturday-Sunday session. Was it a successful legislative session? "Extremely so," said Senate Majority leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar.
ST. PAUL -- It's better a little late than never for the Minnesota Legislature. After a 2005 session that stretched two months too long, and resulted in a partial government shutdown, lawmakers headed home for the year Sunday night when they finished an unexpected brief final meeting and heard speeches from retiring members. The concluding meeting was the first time the Senate has met on a Sunday and only the second time for the House. Leaders had planned to end work by 7 a.m. Sunday, which state law considers the end of the legislative Saturday.
ST. PAUL - Negotiators got down to business on priority legislation Thursday as Minnesota lawmakers look to go home for the year this weekend. The most progress came after Gov. Tim Pawlenty and legislative leaders spent much of Thursday afternoon and evening negotiating behind closed doors. They emerged after 11 p.m. having reached agreement on two key issues. The Republican governor and top lawmakers agreed to split $405 million in available funds between new spending and tax relief.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House for the second time voted Wednesday to ban devices that dispense alcoholic mists, an attempt to make sure the prohibition makes it into law as time runs out for the 2006 legislative session. The "alcohol without liquid" device ban was part of a broader public safety measure that also gave law enforcement officers more authority to notify the public when a sex offender moves in from out of state. The debate came as legislators face a practical 7 a.m. Sunday deadline to adjourn for the year.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators have done an about-face and now want to make sure highway construction projects receive a guaranteed portion of a new funding source. A proposed constitutional amendment to dedicate all of the state motor vehicle sales tax to transportation, passed last year by lawmakers, could have allowed all or most of the money to be used for transit.