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
- 1 year 9 months
ST. PAUL -- A Senate committee overturned three days worth of northern Minnesota senators' work Monday when it restored a statewide smoking ban proposal to near its original form. The panel removed provisions that would have allowed bars to allow smoking if they install ventilation equipment and to forbid local ordinances stronger than the state law.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota bars could have some breathing room before new statewide smoking restrictions begin after a key Senate committee Monday weakened the proposal. The bill as amended Monday would pre-empt local ordinances, permitting bars to allow smoking until installing air-handling equipment. That means bars in areas that now ban smoking could let customers light up once again -- if only temporarily. Goodhue County Public Health Services Director Karen Main expected the amendment, though she said it's "ridiculous." "I think it's a terrible thing," Main said Monday.
ST. PAUL -- A late 2005 report showed Minnesota state computers were vulnerable to hackers. The auditor suggested the state give those who manage the computers more money. Those words did not fall on deaf ears. When state officials began an every-other-year budget process last year, the topic returned. Gov.
ST. PAUL -- A law totally banning smoking from workplaces faces obstacles as opposition by northern Minnesota Democrats gels. Most opponents have given up hope of defeating the smoking ban, and their attention has turned to carving out exceptions for bars, private clubs and, perhaps, casinos. "There is a steamroller moving here," Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, said during a Monday Senate committee meeting. However, Sen.
ST. PAUL - Legislators are close to making Minnesota the first state to endorse a compact to restrict use of Great Lakes water. On a voice vote, senators gave preliminary approval to the issue Monday, with a final vote expected Thursday. The House already overwhelmingly approved the compact and Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty is expected to sign the measure.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota forests could get a piece of the pie if legislators and voters approve raising sales taxes for fund outdoors and arts programs. A Senate committee on Wednesday decided to spend an estimated $25 million annually to buy or obtain easements on Northland forest land that private companies are ready to sell. It is the first time in the decade the tax proposal has been around the Capitol that forests were specifically included. However, the proposal has a long way to go.
ST. PAUL -- Monte Bute grew up in the southwestern Minnesota town of Jackson, and didn't exactly have the best success there. He landed in what now is known as the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Red Wing, where the state sent juvenile delinquents.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans who think they can cure the state's case of continually increasing property taxes have an outlet for those thoughts. "We want ideas and solutions," said Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota sportsmen, environmentalists and arts supporters say paying a penny, or a little more, on every $4 purchase is a good investment in their interests. Debate on a bill raising the sales tax to support those programs began Wednesday in a Minnesota Senate committee. In the Senate alone, five bills are being considered, although they could merge into one as early as next week.