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's gay community never has known such joy. That joy showed Tuesday night as American and rainbow flags flew in front of the state Capitol when Minnesota became the 12th state to embrace same-sex marriage.
ST. PAUL -- Love and marriage soon will go together for Minnesota gays like they do for straight couples. "Vote yes for love," Minnesota Senator Scott Dibble told his colleagues Monday. Enough senators agreed and gave the Minneapolis Democrat his wish of a Minnesota that allows same-sex couples to marry, the 12th state to allow it. "Today we have the power, the awesome humbling power, to make dreams come true." Dibble said as a four-hour, three-minute debate wound down. Senators voted 37-30 to remove a state law that bans same-sex marriage.
ST. PAUL -- Gay marriage supporters feel victory in the air. Their confidence is high as Minnesota state representatives plan to vote on overturning an existing same-sex marriage ban on Thursday, with senators following in a few days. "We've felt pretty good in the Senate for a long time," bill sponsor Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said after the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday passed his measure on a split voice vote. Even gay marriage opponent Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said the bill likely will pass the Senate.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota state representatives voted Friday to protect children from some toxic chemicals. They approved on a 113-13 vote a measure to ban companies from intentionally putting formaldehyde in child care products. They backed a second bill 115-11 to keep bisphenol A out of baby and toddler food containers in the state. Representative John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, offered the formaldehyde bill because the substance is toxic and can cause cancer. "A 1-ounce dose will kill a human being," Persell said. The bill deals with items such as skin care products. Rep.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House likely will approve a minimum wage increase later this week, after a committee Monday expanded the bill's reach by doubling state-required parental leave for a new child. Under the amended measure by Rep Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, employers would be required to grant 12-week leaves after a birth or adoption. The House Ways and Means Committee tacked the provision onto Winkler's bill that aims to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour in 2015 from today's $6.15.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota state representatives voted Friday to protect children from some toxic chemicals. They approved on a 113-13 vote a measure to ban companies from intentionally putting formaldehyde in child care products. They backed a second bill 115-11 to keep bisphenol A out of baby and toddler food containers in the state. Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, offered the formaldehyde bill because the substance is toxic and can cause cancer. "A 1-ounce dose will kill a human being," Persell said. The bill deals with items such as skin care products. Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota state representatives approved 70-64 a health-care spending bill late Monday without knowing how it would affect hospitals around the state. Most Democrats favored the bill while most Republicans opposed it. Highlighting debate was an amendment by Representative Will Morgan, DFL-Burnsville, that the Democrat-controlled House put on the overall bill to change how funding would be distributed to hospitals. Time after time when Republican lawmakers asked Morgan how his amendment would affect hospitals.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators opted to spend $383 million on economic development opportunities, with an emphasis on creating jobs. Money would be spent on programs ranging from those designed to create jobs to attracting movie producers to improving worker training. On Friday, senators voted 38-25 to boost spending to provide "the tools to actually create jobs," Senator David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, said, predicting thousands would find employment and would get better employment.