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 officials would study the environmental impact of silica sand mining and provide technical assistance to local governments dealing with sand mining issues under a bill to be introduced Monday in the state Senate. The bill by Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Adding money to early childhood education and all-day kindergarten programs, as Gov. Mark Dayton suggests, is important to Minnesota's future, the state House education finance leader says. "Those two programs really pay dividends into the future," Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, said Tuesday before he presented the Dayton budget proposal to his committee. Dayton's $15.5 billion two-year education budget proposal would be about $1 billion more than for the two years ending June 30.
ST. PAUL -- Federal tax law changes could lead to a deeper Minnesota budget deficit, the state Senate leader says, one of several uncertainties about the state budget. The possibility of a growing state deficit and ambiguity about what is happening in Washington raise questions about whether Gov. Mark Dayton's $38 billion two-year budget proposal will need major alterations.
ST. PAUL -- Call it Gun Week 2 in the Minnesota Legislature. The Senate Judiciary Committee plans Thursday and Friday meetings on bills written to curb gun violence. They likely will include proposals to ban so-called assault weapons and magazines with large numbers of bullets. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said he expects an even larger crowd for the hearings than the 500 who attended House meetings earlier this month. Bakk said security concerns have been raised about the hearings, but was not specific.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's senior congressional Republican shows little optimism that massive automatic federal spending cuts can be avoided. "My expectation is that we will see the cuts take effect," U.S. Rep. John Kline told reporters Monday after meeting with legislators in the Minnesota Capitol. Kline cited a report that shows if Washington politicians allow the cuts, more than 4,600 Minnesotans in defense-related jobs will be out of work. He did not have figures for how many others could be affected. The automatic cuts, known as sequestration, are scheduled to hit next month.
ST. PAUL -- Laura Duscher and Brittany Stanoch say they are Minnesota's future, so they suggest looking back to 1999. A contradiction? Not for state college and university students.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota members of Congress introduced legislation to battle Asian carp. U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Reps. Keith Ellison, Erik Paulsen, Tim Walz and Rick Nolan filed a bill to speed up federal officials' decision about whether to close the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock on the Mississippi River to help stop the spread of the invasive species.
ST. PAUL -- Three mothers of gay men joined hundreds of others in the Minnesota Capitol on Thursday with one goal. "It's important that they be treated equally," Mabel Galvin said. Government should treat all citizens the same, added Kay Allen. And Therese Presley said government discrimination against gays fosters "divisiveness within families." The three Duluth women stood among what organizers said was a crowd of up to 2,000 in the Capitol, all asking state leaders to legalize gay marriage.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is doing better than most neighboring states, Gov. Mark Dayton told legislators and Minnesotans Wednesday night in his third State of the State address. And it is doing better than two years ago, he added. "Minnesota's job growth in 2012 was the 12th best among all 50 states; and we outperformed three of our four neighbors," Dayton said during a 48-minute speech that was politely received by lawmakers. "Iowa ranked 30th best; South Dakota was 44th." He continued a rivalry with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, saying Wisconsin "helped bring up the rear at 42nd.