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 - Minnesota and North Dakota officials closed a northwestern Minnesota bridge three months after an inspection showed no serious problems, but Minnesota inspectors today said the bridge near Drayton, N.D., was not about to collapse. The Tuesday night closure was to allow crews to repair a crack found in a steel support, Minnesota Bridge Engineer Dan Dorgan said. A May inspection showed a minor crack in a weld, but a special inspection Tuesday - part of a program of special inspections Gov. Tim Pawlenty ordered after a Minneapolis bridge collapsed Aug.
ST. PAUL -- The Interstate 35W bridge collapse may have shattered a logjam that long has prevented increased transportation funding. But those logs remain floating and still could sink what on the surface appears to be clear sailing for a transportation funding infusion. Questions about how to raise transportation money and how much to raise remain unanswered, and in a large part undiscussed since the Aug.
Next week, the Republican Eagle will explore the structural state of bridges in Goodhue County. ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty may lift his long-held opposition to raising Minnesota's gasoline tax if he calls a special legislative session, as expected, following the deadly Minneapolis bridge collapse. Pawlenty on Friday said a special session to increase transportation funding is likely.
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.