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
- 2 years 9 months
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty today ordered state agencies to not fill most job vacancies. In a letter to state commissioners, the governor said the action came in light of a budget deficit that appears likely to get worse. "Considering the current economic slowdown, it is important that state government take steps to reign in costs, utilize technology and improve productivity just as private businesses, non-profits and families are doing," Pawlenty wrote. In late November, a state report predicted a $373 million deficit during the current two-year budget.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators have taken their first look at what would be the Great Lakes toughest law in regulating when and how ships could dump ballast water into Lake Superior. Members of the House Game, Fish and Forestry Division, as well as Minnesota Pollution Control Agency officials, found plenty of places they would like to tweak the proposal, but there appeared to be agreement that the concept to prevent invasive species and diseases was acceptable. No vote was taken Monday night. The bill by Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota policymakers say they are united in a fight to keep jobs if Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines merge, and they also promise to keep air service around the state a priority. Most talk centers on saving the 1,000-employee Northwest headquarters in suburban Eagan and preserving the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport as a major hub, but Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota lawmakers found a few things they could agree on Tuesday as they began the 2008 legislative session by opening the last chapter of a decade-long outdoors program funding saga and honoring a Minnesota Nobel Prize winner. A House-Senate conference committee unanimously passed a proposed constitutional amendment to slightly raise the sales tax to fund outdoors, clean water and arts programs.
ST. PAUL -- Not much has changed in the nearly nine months since Minnesota lawmakers wrapped up their 2007 legislative session. One of the issues at the forefront of the 2008 session, which begins at noon today, is a prime example. Democrats plan to unveil a transportation funding plan that includes a higher gasoline tax and a Twin Cities-area sales tax increase. Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty twice vetoed transportation funding bills similar to the one Democrats plan to introduce today.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota Democrats say an $8.4 billion road and bridge funding package they wrote would provide jobs in addition to improving the state's transportation system. Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, and Rep. Bernie Lieder, DFL-Crookston, announced the package this morning, hours before the 2008 legislative session was scheduled to begin at noon. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party legislative leaders say they plan to pass the bill by month's end. The 10-year package would borrow $2.2 billion for state highways.
ST. PAUL - Barack Obama and Mitt Romney rode a desire for change in Washington as Minnesotans packed Tuesday precinct caucuses. Obama, an Illinois U.S. senator, maintained a nearly 2-to11 margin over New York U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton for most of the night. The two will split Minnesota's votes at the Democratic National Convention late this summer. Obama led Clinton 67 percent to 32 percent with 58 percent of the precincts reporting. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, won a closer Republican contest.
ST. PAUL -- Ironically, Minnesota Republicans and Democrats moved their caucuses up to Tuesday in hopes of having more say in who wins the nomination. Minnesota's original March 4 caucuses date may end up being close to the time candidates receive enough delegates to win their parties' nominations. Minnesota is one of 22 states to hold primaries and caucuses Tuesday, a day variously known as Super Tuesday, Super Duper Tuesday and Tsunami Tuesday because it is expected to have a major impact on Republican and Democratic presidential races.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators will be trapped indoors for most of the next few months, but for many their minds will be outdoors. They will debate establishing a new state park, cleaning the state's water, limiting how many walleyes may be caught, whether to raise the sales tax to support outdoors programs and how to preserve forests. Like with most other issues, outdoors advocates realize there is not much money available this year - due to shrinking state revenues blamed on a sputtering economy. "This year we may be more focused on the regulation and the mandates," said Rep.