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 -- 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.
ST. PAUL -- No one can say that Michele Bachmann is shy. The Minnesota Republican congresswoman often dives into controversy, but her State of the Union response drew the most attention yet. In the first two days, nearly 200,000 people watched her speech on one of several YouTube videos about her.
ST. PAUL - It is sold as incense, but synthetic marijuana could be more dangerous than plant marijuana, a Minnesota House committee learned Thursday before voting unanimously to make possessing or selling it illegal. "I spent a few days researching it and quickly came to the conclusion that it is very dangerous," Executive Director Cody Wiberg of the state Pharmacy Board told the House Public Safety Committee. Wiberg, who lives in Red Wing, said he first learned of synthetic marijuana when he received a call from a Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reporter in June.
The mood inside the U.S. House chamber during Tuesday night's State of the Union speech was more subdued than in recent years, but after the president delivered his speech U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann took him head-on. "For two years, President Obama made promises just like the ones we heard him make tonight," the Minnesota congresswoman said. "Yet still we have high unemployment, devalued housing prices and the cost of gasoline is skyrocketing." Even with a new atmosphere that followed the Jan. 8 shooting of U.S. Rep.