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 6 months
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.
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.