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 -- Gov.-elect Mark Dayton and newly minted Republican Minnesota legislative leaders promise to work with each other when the 2011 legislative session begins at noon Tuesday. But neither Dayton nor Republicans who control the Legislature can lay out a map for how they will bridge their biggest gulf: a $6.2 billion budget deficit. Both sides agree that things have not run smoothly the past few years between Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Democrats controlling the state Legislature.
ST. PAUL -- Mark Dayton will take the oath of office at noon Monday, Jan. 3, in St. Paul's Landmark Center. He will be joined by other statewide elected officials in the same place that Tim Pawlenty became governor in 2003. Dayton picked the theme "Going to Work for Minnesota" as his theme, which sounds a lot like what he and other Minnesota political candidates said during the recently completed campaign. The Democrat plans to cap next week with a Saturday night, Jan. 8, "People's Inaugural Ball" inaugural dance at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Jesse Ventura's finance commissioner once famously announced that the state had "a boatload of money." The big debate then was who got the most new money. Since then, state finance officials have looked under every financial cushion for all the spare change they could find, changing the debate to who would lose money. In city leaders' opinions, those funds -- and they say it has not been pocket change -- too often came from their coffers. During Republican Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Nuclear power. Mining. Regulations. Duck season. Those and more issues will be debated in Minnesota legislative environmental committees run by Republicans during the session that begins January 4. The House and Senate committees likely will feature less tree hugging and more business hugging than those run by Democratic-Farmer-Laborites in the past. "We are going to discuss some things that they didn't discuss," said Rep.
ST. PAUL -- "Neighbors peered out of frosted windows, watching the (snow storm) victims across the street futilely slip and slide, wheels grinding up and down the icy incline of their driveways. "Out of the windows of the high-rise office buildings facing the southeastern corner of Minneapolis, wide-eyed dwellers witnessed an even more harrowing sight. ... The stadium's dome was undeniably, uncontrollably, unmercifully, sinking." Sounds familiar. But it was not a report from this month's Metrodome collapse, but about a similar 1981 incident before it even was open.
ST. PAUL - Governor-elect Mark Dayton appears ready to support a new Vikings stadium, under certain circumstances and if someone else draws up the plan, but House Republicans are not enthusiastic about it. Dayton met with House speaker-designate Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, Tuesday and they emerged from the meeting downplaying any stadium talk. "We were focused a lot more on jobs and the economy," Zellers said.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota grew by 384,446 people in the past decade, but 15,000 is a more important number. Minnesota beat North Carolina by 15,000 people to keep its eight U.S. House seats. Had 15,000 fewer Minnesotans filled out their census forms last spring, the state would be faced with figuring out how to draw congressional district lines for just seven House seats. District lines still will be redrawn in the next year to fulfill the one person, one vote federal requirement.
ST. PAUL - The most significant federal tax bill in years passed Congress, and produced strange political bedfellows. Who would have imagined that conservative Tea Party star U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann would side with liberals Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum against a tax measure? It may have been just a little less of a surprise that conservative John Kline and liberal Jim Oberstar sided. Minnesota's senators, both Democrats, voted for the bill keeping the Bush-era tax cuts in place, although they held their noses while doing so.