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
- 5 years 6 months
ST. PAUL - Minnesota senators are considering increasing court fees nearly $36 million to prevent deep budget cuts for the courts system, but a leading judge and the senator in charge of judicial spending say the budget still would be too small. "They are moving in the right direction," Hennepin County District Judge Charles Porter said.
ST. PAUL -- Sally and Dale Zamlen say state law slowed a search for their son, missing from St. Paul since April 5. "Their hands are tied," Dale Zamlen told a Minnesota House Committee Wednesday about police. "They did all the right things. They followed the letter of the law." The law did not require police to launch a search immediately because at 18 Dan Zamlen, a St. Thomas University freshman from Eveleth, was considered an adult and many law enforcement agencies' policies allow officers to wait to begin an adult missing persons case.
ST. PAUL - Paula Leach received training so she could deal with challenges she faces as an early-childhood special education teacher. The Hastings teacher fears that if the state gives an easy route for those who did not get such extensive training to get teaching licenses that students will suffer. Leach told a House education finance committee about her concerns Tuesday, one of several teachers to complain about a provision contained in an overall education measure. The provision, like one proposed by Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Al Franken won the U.S. Senate race and should be sent to Washington, a three-judge panel unanimously ruled Monday evening, but Minnesota is at least a few weeks away from having two senators. Republican Norm Coleman plans to appeal the decision, which follows a seven-week trial on a lawsuit he brought when a statewide recount left him trailing Democrat Franken by 225 votes.
ST. PAUL -- Al Franken won the U.S. Senate race and should be sent to Washington, a Minnesota three-judge panel ruled Monday evening. However, even before the ruling, Norm Coleman pledged to appeal the expected loss to the state Supreme Court. And there is a good chance the loser at that level will appeal to the U.S. courts, meaning it still may be months before a new senator is seated. Today's ruling said the election did not violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, as Coleman had claimed.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota senators voted to chop public school budgets $273 per pupil Tuesday while opting to expand a program that pays teachers based on performance instead of seniority. Those on the winning side of the 37-29 vote were not happy to be cutting schools, but said a massive state budget deficit left them no choice. "This bill expects more from our educational system and gives them less resources to carry it out," said Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer, chairman of the Senate education finance committee. "There is no way to sugar coat this," Stumpf added.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota lawmakers begin a Passover-Easter break today with most of their major 2009 work left. When they return to St. Paul on April 14, senators and representatives will have less than five weeks to accomplish their biggest task - writing a $33 billion, two-year budget that plugs a $6.4 billion deficit. The state constitution requires lawmakers to adjourn by May 18, although there is talk in the Capitol that lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty may not be able to plug the record-high deficit by then. A failure would send the Legislature into a special session this summer. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Flood-weary Red River Valley residents should not be forced to worry about future flood-prevention funding, northwestern Minnesota representatives said Monday as they tried in vain to increase spending on permanent new dikes and other such measures. The Minnesota House approved a public works funding bill with $12.7 million for flood-prevention measures, less than half of that in a Senate-passed measure. Reps. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, and Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, led the unsuccessful fight to increase flood spending.
ST. PAUL - American Indian leaders fear their native languages are being lost, calling the situation a crisis. "When a person passes away, it is like a whole dictionary that is gone," Lillian Rice told a Minnesota House committee. A Native American's language, she added, "is the very sense of who we are. ... Without that, we are lost." Indian leaders are working to save languages, and now the Minnesota Legislature is considering helping the cause.
ST. PAUL - Republicans who support nuclear power are aglow after a Thursday Senate vote to lift a Minnesota nuclear power plant construction moratorium. "The new majority," Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, proclaimed after the 42-24 vote. House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, was not quite so optimistic. But he said he now is convinced that the full House eventually will take up a similar amendment, even though a committee last month narrowly defeated the moratorium elimination. Sen.