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 high schools would need to perform better under a set of reforms Gov. Tim Pawlenty unveiled Wednesday during his fifth State of the State address. "We're not just going to pay for good intentions any more," Pawlenty told a packed House chamber.
ST. PAUL - High schools would be encouraged to step up their performance under a plan Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced today in his fifth State of the State address. Schools that agree to accept state standards for "rigor, relevance and results" would get extra money.
ST. PAUL -- Along with Sen. Jim Vickerman's more powerful committee chairmanship in the Minnesota Senate came a set of instructions: "Have your bags packed." Vickerman, DFL-Tracy, is chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Veterans Affairs Budget and Policy Committee, which first meets this week. He used to be in charge of only the policy discussion, but money is where the power is, so his influence dramatically increased in Minnesota's farm country this year when the panel took over budget duties, too. And that influence may extend beyond the Minnesota state line.
ST. PAUL -- Insuring all children is Minnesota House Democrats' top priority this year, followed by making all-day, every-day kindergarten available statewide. No.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans won't know for a while how much their property tax bills could be cut, but some legislators declared on the second day of their 2007 session that relief will come. Senate and House tax leaders are working on bills to increase state payments to schools, cities and counties with the theory that it would cut property taxes they collect from Minnesotans. "I think it is safe to say that property tax relief is on the way," said Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators considered 8,045 bills in their last two-year session. Keeping up is a daunting task for a lawmaker, with staff to help out, but it is even more difficult for the average citizen. But with a little patience -- and the Internet -- it is possible. "If people take the time, it is all out there," said Scott Magnuson, who heads the Minnesota Senate information office. Lawmakers report that in rural Minnesota, especially, constituents follow legislative activity.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he will take the oath of office for his second term as Minnesota governor Tuesday -- re-energized and recommitted. "The overwhelming feeling I have is one of gratitude," he said in an interview. The Republican governor said his inaugural speech will be a general overview of his second two-year term, one of several major speeches in four weeks.
ST. PAUL -- Stand next to an electric power transmission line and you hear a buzz. That's a lot like the buzz being heard in the ramp-up to the 2007 Minnesota legislative session. Instead of the static that often accompanies big issues, there seems to be a synergy about energy. "He has given us a lot of good starting points," Democratic House Energy Committee Chairman Bill Hilty said about Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
ST. PAUL -- If taxes need to rise to provide more nursing home funding, so be it, a northwestern Minnesota lawmaker says. "We may need to call for a revenue increase," Rep. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley, said.