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 -- A thousand Minnesota union workers, some still wearing their hard hats, rallied in the state Capitol after work Tuesday to show support for their Wisconsin brethren who are fighting a Republican governor and legislators working to remove most public employee bargaining rights. "We are all in this fight together," Stillwater teacher Josiah Hill said. "Today, we are all Badgers." The Minnesota rally, one of the largest ever held inside the Capitol, was one of many staged around the country as leaders in other states wait to see if the Wisconsin strife spills over. Minnesota Gov.
The "cheeseburger bill" overcame opposition from trial lawyers and Democrats Monday to notch its first victory in its seventh run through the Minnesota Legislature. Representative Dean Urdahl's much-traveled bill to prohibit lawsuits against food makers and sellers by people who gain weight passed on a voice vote, with Democrats opposed, in the House Civil Law Committee. With a large McDonald's drink cup in hand, Urdahl said his "Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act" likely will pass this year.
ST. PAUL -- Two former Republican lawmakers survived partisan controversy Monday night to become University of Minnesota regents. Ex-House Speaker Steve Sviggum of Kenyon will represent the 2nd Congressional District, mostly south of the Twin Cities, and former Rep. Laura Brod of New Prague will be an at-large member of the university's governing board. They join former Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans often compare their state budget and population with Wisconsin, so when 35,000 protesters packed the Wisconsin Capitol this week, it was only natural to wonder if the same could happen under the St. Paul dome. Democratic-Farmer-Laborites say a smaller version of the protest is possible.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota representatives Thursday rejected an attempt to require a local vote before a nuclear power plant is built as they decided to lift a ban on building those plants. On an 81-50 vote, the House joined the Senate in dropping a 16-year-old moratorium on building new nuclear power plants. However, Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton took on former Gov. Tim Pawlenty in his State of the State address. It sounded a bit like last fall's campaign when Democrats running for many offices appeared to be running against Pawlenty, who already was working toward becoming a presidential candidate and not seeking re-election. The new Democrat governor brought an edge to the speech that has not been seen since he took office on Jan. 3.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill cutting the state budget more than $900 million Thursday night, his first major action since taking office. Democrat Dayton, sworn in on Jan. 3, rejected the Republican-written bill that would have cut $824 million from the next two-year state budget and $100 million from the budget that ends June 30. Republicans said it was the first step in fixing a $6.2 billion deficit. The governor's action came hours after senators approved the measure 37-28.
ST. PAUL -- Republicans who control the Minnesota Legislature took on the state teachers' union Thursday, passing bills to freeze school pay for two years and providing professional workers an easier path to becoming teachers. The Senate passed the pay freeze 36-29 and the House backed the teacher licensing procedure 72-59. Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, said his bill to freeze school pay is needed because schools need help controlling their expanses. Thompson blamed "a very powerful and strong statewide teacher union," Education Minnesota, for many of the expense problems.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton soon will have a bill on his desk that could set up the first major dispute between him and the Legislature. Senators passed on a 37-28 Thursday vote a bill cutting $824 million from the nest two-year state budget and $100 million from the budget that ends June 30.