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 -- 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.
ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota Senate committee Wednesday night refused to pursue ethics charges against a senator whose aide rejected a meeting with nurses because their association supported his election opponent. After five hours, the Senate ethics committee unanimously agreed there was not enough evidence to further investigate Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, for violating legislative rules. Newman said the charges, which surfaced late last month, hindered him in doing his job. "What I'd like to do is get back to work. ... It has preoccupied me." Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton pleaded with Republicans who control the Legislature for cooperation today as the state faces a $6.2 billion budget deficit. In his first State of the State speech, Democrat Dayton said that a government shutdown should never happen because the two sides do not work together to solve budget problems. "Compromise doesn't mean we have to agree, thank goodness, because we won't," Dayton said in a tough speech in which he gave no ground on his major priorities. "It doesn't mean we can't debate, because we will.
ST. PAUL -- Governor Mark Dayton laid out what he called his vision for education reform Friday, but a key Republican lawmaker said she saw nothing new in the seven-point plan. Dayton suggested increasing education funding, concentrating on early-childhood education (including improving reading by 3rd grade), allowing professionals from other fields to teach and providing more state support to teachers. However, Dayton said that he would not discuss how he would increase funding until he releases his budget proposal on February 15.