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 -- An 18-month campaign about gay marriage began moments after the Minnesota House approved a constitutional amendment on the issue late Saturday. And if the five-hour House debate is any indication, Minnesotans are in for 18 months of emotional and hard-fought campaigning. The campaign is expected to bring in millions of dollars for both sides. An hour after the House voted 70-62 to ask voters to decide whether marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman, those opposed to the amendment launched their campaign, Minnesotans United for All Families.
ST. PAUL -- Torrey Westrom hopes his historic moment helps other Americans. The Minnesota state representative stood in as House speaker Tuesday afternoon, apparently the first time a blind person ran a state House debate anywhere in the country. "If nothing else, hopefully, it will motivate people who have a challenge in their life," the Elbow Lake Republican said after his experience. On the raised podium above the House chamber, under a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, a House staff member stood nearby to tell Westrom when a lawmaker stood to speak.
ST. PAUL -- Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton today vetoed Republican-written plan to redraw state legislative and federal congressional districts. Earlier, he said that he would not sign any redistricting plan -- or other election-related bills -- without broad bipartisan support. The redistricting plans left the House and Senate on mostly party-line votes. In a letter to lawmakers, Dayton said that he had warned them that he would not approve a redistricting plan drawn "for the purpose of protecting or defeating incumbents." Dayton said the U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Two colorful quotes demonstrate the tough state of the Minnesota Legislature. "Anyway, back to King Tut," Sen. Sandra Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, told fellow senators as she returned to a lengthy discussion of all things Tut and dinosaur, saying the Science Museum of Minnesota would be hurt by a bill cutting state programs. House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, showed the mood of chief policymakers when he described Gov.
ST. PAUL -- The two sides in Minnesota's budget conflict agree on one thing: They are in no mood to negotiate away issues they hold dear in the remaining seven days of the 2011 legislative session. Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will host an early Tuesday meeting with the National Football League commissioner and sponsors of legislation to build a new Vikings stadium. Commissioner Roger Goodell is in Minnesota to discuss the $1 billion stadium project, which the Vikings want to build in the northwestern Ramsey County community of Arden Hills. Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said he and Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, are among those on the pre-breakfast guest list at Dayton's official state residence.
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.