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 -- The Republican-controlled Senate voted 63-1 today against Gov. Dayton's proposal to raise taxes on Minnesota's richest residents, but Dayton and other Democrats called the debate meaningless theater. "I'm glad people are having fun," Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said sarcastically. "I hope some of your relatives are watching." Only Sen.
ST. PAUL -- A bill written to speed up the issuance of environmental permits speeded through the Minnesota Senate Thursday on a 49-16 vote. Since it differs slightly from a similar bill the House already passed, it now heads to negotiators to work out differences. Democrats complained about a provision in Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen's bill because it allows a company that requests a permit to hire a private firm to write an environmental impact statement. "The fox in charge of the chicken coop" is how Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Good news to the tune of $1.2 billion changed little about Minnesota's budget debate. There was little evidence after Monday's news that a projected budget deficit has dropped from $6.2 billion to $5 billion smoothed differences between Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton and Republicans who control the Legislature. "It is still a matter of serious concern," Dayton said. Democrats and Republicans could not even agree on who was responsible for the better budget news. House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, thanked employers and employees for paying more taxes to the state.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton's Cabinet may be the most diverse in Minnesota history, but it still is dominated by white males. It also may be one of the least partisan, but Senate Republicans who must confirm commissioners cast a wary eye on some appointments. And Twin Cities residents are a majority on the 25-member Cabinet, but at least 10 bring strong greater Minnesota connections. "It is very important," political science professor Kathryn Pearson of the University of Minnesota said of Cabinet picks.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's new budget deficit reportedly will be about $5 billion, down from $6.2 billion. Still, the state faces a massive deficit that legislators and the governor will debate through the spring. The $5 billion figure for the next two-year budget was reported before the official announcement later today. The official announcement will include details about why the deficit dropped and what could happen if the economy takes another turn. To put it in perspective, at $5 billion it still tops the Wisconsin deficit by more than $1 billion.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House overwhelmingly voted Thursday to put a stop to "a new phenomenon" that law enforcement officials call dangerous. Synthetic marijuana is sold as incense, but acts much like plant marijuana when used, and Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Todd Everson was there on John Kriesel's worst day, so it was only appropriate that he sat behind the freshmen legislator on one of his best days. On Dec. 2, 2006, Everson was in the lead vehicle of a military convoy near Fallujah, Iraq, when a roadside bomb blew up Kriesel's Humvee 200 feet behind him.
ST. PAUL -- A bill written to speed up the issuance of environmental permits speeded through the Minnesota Senate Thursday on a 49-16 vote. Since it differs slightly from a similar bill the House already passed, it heads negotiators to work out differences. Democrats complained about a provision in Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen's bill because it allows a company that requests a permit to hire a private firm to write an environmental impact statement. "The fox in charge of the chicken coup" is how Sen.
ST. PAUL - Eight city officials praising Governor Mark Dayton for efforts to preserve state aid to cities said they would not raise property taxes if the aid continues. The officials told Capitol reporters Wednesday that the Democratic governor's budget proposal would save residents money.