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 10 months
ST. PAUL -- County officials say state government too often ties their hands, which costs taxpayers. "Allow those who are working in the trenches to share ideas," Beltrami County Administrator Tony Murphy requested in a recent Senate committee meeting. Those ideas may not always match state bureaucrats' ideas of how things should be done, but they may be better, he said. Granting permission to use innovative ways to do county business is why Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota veterans know about fighting, but on Friday witnessed something new to many of them: a fierce political battle over funding programs that serve them. Dozens of veterans, many wearing American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars hats, packed a legislative committee room after Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Shellito sent Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Republicans who took control of the Minnesota Legislature in last year's election constantly have said they are moving quicker than previous lawmakers. And while they did pass initial budget bills earlier than normal, the question now is when there will be a deal with Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- A Senate committee took no stand Thursday to restrict wind power farms. A bill by Sen. John Howe, R-Red Wing, said there is only a remote chance that his bill requiring that wind turbines be a half mile from property lines will pass this year, but a task force likely will discuss the issue before next year's legislative session. A pair of Goodhue County residents who want stiffer rules on where wind turbines may be built and farmers from other parts of the state who say that is too restrictive took part in an hour-long debate in front of the Senate energy committee.
ST. PAUL -- Some present the controversial plan to add casinos to the state's two horse-racing tracks as a rural vs. urban issue. Others say they like the idea of giving the state more money, but do not want to expand gambling. It is an issue that has been around the Minnesota Legislature about 15 years and at this point appears to again lack enough votes to pass. However, that could change in coming weeks as the Republican-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- A new legislative plan to fund anti-flood efforts would spend less than one discussed earlier this year and gives no guarantees about what projects would be funded. A bill debated in a Wednesday House Capital Investment Committee hearing would send $28 million to flood-fighting projects statewide.
ST. PAUL -- One of the most significant, and least noticed, jobs of the Minnesota Legislature is drawing up new legislative district lines, and it drew sparks Tuesday night. After about 30 Minnesotans told the House Redistricting Committee their thoughts of a House Republican proposal, Democrats complained that the 24 hours since the plan was released was too little time to consider it. And they said Republicans ignored the testimony. "You had no intent of producing a bipartisan plan," Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, told committee Chairwoman Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth.
ST. PAUL -- Legislative Republicans continue to add to a list of ways they want to amend the state Constitution. On Tuesday, Sen. Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen and others introduced a proposal to limit state spending to 98 percent of available revenues. Lawmakers also are considering a plan by Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Republicans hope to cut 15 percent of state government jobs, nearly 5,000 positions, by 2015 in an effort to save $369 million in the next two-year budget and $696 million in the next budget. In a Monday meeting, Democrats said that state workers should not be punished. However, Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said he sees things differently. "The workers of this state are not the problem," Lanning told the House Ways and Means Committee Monday. "The problem is the deficit." A bill by Rep. Keith Downey, R-Edina, was the basis for the Monday's debate.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota leaders, from right to left, praised the killing of Osama bin Laden, recalling the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks he organized. The small group of Navy Seals who conducted the operation in Pakistan drew much praise, and President Barack Obama received thanks from both major political parties. "I won't listen to people criticizing President Obama today," Rep. John Kriesel said in a Tweet. The Cottage Grove Republican who lost both legs in the Iraqi war added: "He showed solid leadership in authorizing this mission. Well done Mr. President." U.S. Rep.