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
- 4 years 8 months
ST. PAUL -- Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton this morning told Republicans he would cut his tax increase plan in half, but said that is as far as he will go. Republican legislative leaders left the meeting saying they never will agree to a tax increase. In that case, Dayton told reporters, Republicans need to come up with other new revenue to balance the state budget. "I will go halfway," Dayton said. "I won't go further." A week remains before Minnesota legislators must adjourn. Dayton's announcement this morning was the biggest change since legislative arrived in St. Paul on Jan.
ST. PAUL -- Republicans supported expanding the right to use deadly force during rare Saturday night debate, but opponents claimed the bill could create Minnesota murderers who could not be prosecuted. The bill passed 79-50, with some rural Democrats joining Republicans voting "yes." "If you murder somebody, you have more protections under this than if you shoot a bear or shoot somebody's property," Rep. Joe Mullery, DFL-Minneapolis, said.
ST. PAUL -- A week remains before Minnesota legislators must go home, but there was no progress apparent in the first overall budget negotiating session this morning. Republican legislative leaders came out of a budget meeting with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton saying what they said when they arrived in St. Paul on Jan. 4: No tax increases.
ST. PAUL -- Rural and urban state representatives fought over parks and trails money during their first Saturday session of 2011. Rep. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, accused Twin Cities lawmakers of being "extra greedy." Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, fired back that the urban and suburban area provides the state's economic basis, but is "getting the shaft" when it comes to money returning to her area.
ST. PAUL -- Fifty-four Republicans serving their first year in the Minnesota Legislature face their first end-of-session circus, and no one knows just how they will react. Many of the new Republicans in the 201-person Legislature come from the Tea Party faction, a conservative and libertarian movement that wants smaller government and lower taxes. Because of their large numbers, they and some existing lawmakers who agree with that philosophy hold many of the cards as legislative leaders and Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- A Republican tax bill that cuts state payments to cities upset city leaders. The House-Senate tax conference committee agreed late Thursday to trim Local Government Aid as it wrapped up a tax bill, and phasing out aid to Duluth, St. Paul and Minneapolis. Comments rolled in all day Friday. "Last night, the tax conference committee decided to cut an additional 29 percent of Local Government Aid funding and cripple the state's largest cities by phasing out their funding," said Park Rapids Mayor Nancy Carroll, president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Republican senators do not want their state to become another Iowa. Two years ago, Supreme Court justices in the state to the south unanimously overturned a law defining marriage as between one man and one woman, much like a law on Minnesota books. Minnesota Republicans took a step to avoiding an Iowa situation Wednesday by approving 38-27 a proposed state constitutional amendment to not allow gays to marry. A similar bill awaits a House vote. "I have a growing discomfort with a small number of politicians in St. Paul deciding this," Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota House members did not get a chance to vote on whether they want alcohol to be sold on Sundays. An amendment to a bill was dropped Tuesday before a vote. However, there was a debate on the issue, with Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, saying Minnesotans are crossing over to other states to buy alcohol on Sundays. "We are exporting our business to those states," Drazkowski said. "We do have to find a way for our businesses to engage on commerce on Sunday." Rep.
ST. PAUL -- It appears none of Minnesota's U.S. House members would compete against each other in a Republican-controlled state House's attempt to redraw congressional lines, which creates a massive district across northern Minnesota. The new 8th Congressional District would stretch from Moorhead to Cloquet, with the line dipping south to cut Mille Lacs Lake in half. It would encompass 23 counties, including Becker, where U.S. Representative Collin Peterson lives. Douglas County would no longer be represented by Peterson.
Here is a financial breakdown of the Minnesota Vikings' stadium proposed for Arden Hills: Total cost: $1.057 billion Retractable-roof stadium: $884 million Infrastructure, parking, environmental needs: $173 million Off-site transportation needs: $7 million per year Vikings to pay: $407 million Ramsey County to pay: $350 million from 0.5 percent sales tax increase State to pay: $300 million from pro-sports memorabilia tax, sales tax on direct satellite services, dedicated sports-themed lottery