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 same-sex couples who can wed beginning in a little more than a month will receive the same benefits as other married couples after the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled unconstitutional a federal law that did not recognize gay marriage. Among the most important of those benefits is allowing same-sex couples file joint income tax returns to receive a lower tax rate and Social Security to be collected based on a spouse's income, Executive Director Chuck Samuelson of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota said.
U.S. House agriculture leaders will try, try again to pass a five-year farm bill. "It's been four years and we are not going to give up now," U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson said Thursday after the House defeated on a 234-195 vote a bill setting federal agriculture and nutrition policy for five years.
Republicans who want a smaller federal budget and Democrats who oppose proposed food stamp cuts joined Thursday to defeat a five-year farm bill. Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said...
ST. PAUL -- Paint will cost more and be recycled. Bees will be protected. Financially troubled farmers will be able to access state aid. And an island to provide more wildlife habitat could be built in the Mississippi River. Those are a few of the impacts from a diverse environment, natural resources and agriculture funding bill headed for Gov. Mark Dayton's expected approval. The overall bill spends $312 million on programs such as in the Agriculture Department, Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Democrats say new money they are putting into education will boost the economy by giving the state a better-educated workforce. "This is a very bold and ambitious plan..." House Education Finance Chairman Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, said.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is a Senate vote and a governor's signature away from becoming the 12th state to allow gay marriage. Same-sex marriage supporters are optimistic because the House was regarded as the biggest hurdle. After the bill passed the House surprisingly easily 75-59, they were euphoric. The Senate is due to take up the bill Monday and Democratic Gov.
Minnesota's Legislature is tough to comprehend. Just ask some freshmen Democratic senators who the other day became confused as green "yes" and red "no" vote lights began flashing on giant tally boards on either side of the Senate chamber when their tax bill vote was being counted. Some Republican senators played games with rookies by pushing their green buttons, looking like they were voting in favor of the bill.
ST. PAUL -- Gay marriage supporters feel victory in the air. Their confidence is high as Minnesota state representatives plan to vote on overturning an existing same-sex marriage ban on Thursday, with senators following in a few days. "We've felt pretty good in the Senate for a long time," bill sponsor Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said after the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday passed his measure on a split voice vote. Even gay marriage opponent Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said the bill likely will pass the Senate.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House likely will approve a minimum wage increase later this week, after a committee Monday expanded the bill's reach by doubling state-required parental leave for a new child. Under the amended measure by Rep Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, employers would be required to grant 12-week leaves after a birth or adoption. The House Ways and Means Committee tacked the provision onto Winkler's bill that aims to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour in 2015 from today's $6.15.