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.
- Member for
- 4 years 5 months
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota state boards, commissions and even entire agencies could begin disappearing if legislators agree to bills making their way through the Legislature. The House State Government Finance Committee approved one bill Tuesday and considered a second to create a "sunset commission" charged with the job of determining whether parts of state government deserve to continue. "It is a commission to do away with other commissions, agencies and boards," Rep.
ST. PAUL -- The first budget-cutting bill of 2011 could be on Gov.
ST. PAUL -- It is a month into Minnesota's new political world and the kind words keep flowing. Republican legislative leaders continually refuse to bad-mouth Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and vice versa. But the coming days will show whether the love fest is all talk or genuine. The GOP plans to convene a House-Senate conference committee Monday to work out differences between versions of budget-cutting bills the two chambers passed.
Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, brought back a bill often debated in the Legislature - to make English Minnesota's official language. "Learning the English language is essential," the Alexandria Republican said. "The use of a common language removes barriers of misunderstanding and provides unity." Opponents say requiring English discriminates against those who speak other languages. The Ingebrigtsen bill would require that government documents, meetings and other services and publications be in English.
ST. PAUL -- Republican legislative leaders took little time to reject Democrat Governor Mark Dayton's plan to fund public works projects. "We are saying 'no' to a bonding bill unless it is an emergency," said Representative Larry Howes, R-Walker, who leads the House committee dealing with the issue. A GOP spokesman later Monday said that the only public works bill acceptable would be to fund natural disasters such as floods that weather officials last week predicted statewide. In unveiling a $531 million proposal, Dayton said that he cannot force Republicans to approve borrowing money.
ST. PAUL -- A controversial first step to solve Minnesota's $6.2 billion budget problem is in negotiators' hands. Minnesota senators voted to trim $830 million out of the next state budget and $125 million from the current one Thursday, a bill similar to what House members already passed. In the next step of the budget process, Republican leaders say they will invite Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's administration to negotiations with lawmakers.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators voted to trim $830 million out of the next state budget and $125 million from the current one today in a first step to plugging a budget gap. The 37-27 vote came as Republicans stood together to back their plan. "We know we are going to have to make hard choices like this," Senate Finance Chairwoman Claire Robling, R-Jordan, said, "so we might as well get started today." Democrats, meanwhile, criticized the GOP piecemeal approach to the budget, with the big decisions left to be made in the coming months.
ST. PAUL -- No new Minnesota nuclear power plants are planned, but state senators overwhelmingly voted Wednesday to lift a 16-year-old moratorium on building one. "It is not a decision to construct a new nuclear power plant in the state of Minnesota..." Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, said about the vote. "It is not a preference for nuclear power." Long-time nuclear opponent Sen. Ellen Anderson, DFL-St.
ST. PAUL -- Farmers are chopping down trees and eliminating other conservation measures because property taxes on that land is too high, some Minnesota lawmakers say. Ag land is taxed at two rates today, lower for that used for crops and higher for other land. Lawmakers who support a change say that is forcing farmers to plant crops on more land to take advantage of lower taxes. Several bills have been introduced, and more are expected, to overturn 2008 changes in the so-called "green acres" law that was designed to preserve farmland. "We want to treat a farm as a farm," Rep.