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 legislators hit the three-month mark in their 2009 session on Monday, and the Senate Democrats' budget plan just now is taking shape. Weeks ago, Senate leaders said they would cut 7 percent across the board from state spending. Now, it is obvious that will not be the case, thanks to federal economic stimulus money. Higher education spending, for instance, would drop just 2.3 percent under the Senate plan.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota senators today voted to end a long-time moratorium on nuclear-power plant construction. The long-divisive issue passed 42-24 as an amendment to an overall energy bill that later received tentative Senate approval. "Please vote yes for less CO2, please vote yes for less climate change," Sen. Steve Dille, R-Dassel, urged before the vote. Dille said he was surprised that his amendment passed. Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, earlier withdrew a bill to end the moratorium, citing lack of support.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans are fighting flood waters along the Red River and elsewhere while their lawmakers are fighting about the cost of preventing prevent future floods. The fight spilled over into other areas, too, as House leaders Monday introduced a much smaller public works bill than senators passed earlier this month. Rep. Alice Hausman, chairwoman of the House public works funding committee, said the proposal "is a taking-care-of-basics bill." The St.
ST. PAUL - The year's first budget meeting among legislative leaders and Gov. Tim Pawlenty did not produce good news. "I am pretty stunned," Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller said as he emerged from the Thursday afternoon meeting. Pogemiller and House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, both DFL-Minneapolis, complained that Republican Pawlenty refused to consider a tax increase or provide a balanced budget for the next four years. Pawlenty, on the other hand, said he tried to find some agreement between himself and Democrat-Farmer-Laborite leaders.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota leaders applauded President Barack Obama's decision to grant the state's request for federal disaster aid as Red River Valley communities fight rising floodwaters. The federal declaration, sought by Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota counties should be able to raise the sales tax instead of property taxes to make up for state aid cuts, the two state House tax chairmen say. "It provides options, flexibility to counties," said Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Local Minnesota governments may not be happy with the way things are going this year at the Capitol -- with big state aid cuts coming -- but counties are thrilled with Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposal to remove one burden from them. In the revised budget plan the governor released Tuesday, he proposed that the state take back responsibility for housing short-term offenders.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators are nearly 11 weeks into their 2009 session, but only now are getting a look at outlines of their main task this year - writing a two-year budget. Lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty have eight weeks left before the mandatory May 18 adjournment deadline to turn those outlines into a fully crafted two-year budget that paves over a $4.6 billion deficit. House and Senate Democratic-Farmer-Laborite leaders, who control the Legislature, have announced separate budget plans.
ST. PAUL -- Federal officials have until year's end to decide whether gasoline may contain more than the common 10 percent ethanol. If that happens, ethanol supporters promise thousands of new jobs for the Minnesota economy and another step toward national energy independence. "We are not going to kneel at the altar of big oil in this country forever," said Doug Peterson, a former state lawmaker and current Minnesota Farmers union president. A coalition of ethanol producers, Growth Energy, earlier this month submitted to the U.S.