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 -- The names Tom Horner, Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer are becoming well known across Minnesota, but four other names are on the state's governor ballot, too, and they are almost unknown. Ken Pentel of the Ecology Democracy Party, Farheen Hakeem of the Green Party, Linda Eno of the Resource Party and Chris Wright of the Grassroots Party also will be on the Nov.
ST. PAUL -- Questions about political poll accuracy are increasing this campaign season, but a couple of recent polls were good news for Minnesota Democratic governor candidate Mark Dayton. Still, Dayton said: "We always thought it would be close." The University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute-Minnesota Public Radio poll released at mid week showed Dayton leading Republican Tom Emmer 38 percent to 27 percent, with Tom Horner of the Independence Party trailing with 16 percent.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota governor candidates focused on predicable differences during a Thursday night education debate, but some agreements also surfaced. The Independence Party's Tom Horner, Republican Tom Emmer and Democrat Mark Dayton all said they would push for better early-childhood education and the trio voiced strong support for reducing the learning gap between white and minority students.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's economy appears to be mirroring the national one, with unemployment expected to reach near 10 percent. "We think it is going to be a slow recovery," Minnesota State Economist Tom Stinson said Tuesday, with the state not fully recovered until 2012. Stinson said the recession will cost 120,000 Minnesota jobs through next year. As part of a twice yearly report released Tuesday, Stinson said only one segment of the Minnesota economy is doing well - health care.
ST. PAUL - Bills making it legal for severely ill Minnesotans to use marijuana to ease their pain continues moving through the House and Senate. Both bills await further committee hearings after passing earlier tests. The Senate version passed the Judiciary Committee 4-3 Tuesday night. "I am increasingly confident that this will be the year that Minnesota joins the 13 other states that have acted to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest," said bill sponsor Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing. "This is an issue where science, compassion and simple common sense come together." Rep.
ST. PAUL - Tattoo artists and those who conduct body piercings would be regulated under a bill pushed foward Monday by a state Senate committee. "Tattooing is one of the fastest growing businesses in the United States today," Sen.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota budget writers are thanking Washington today as finance officials announce the state deficit actually dropped from what was expected - thanks to an economic stimulus package. The deficit now is expected to be $4.57 billion in the two years beginning July 1 - out of a $33 billion budget - instead of the previously predicted $4.85 billion. Without the federally approved economic recovery money, however, the deficit would be $6.4 billion, according to budget documents leaked to reporters before this morning's official announcement. Gov.
ST. PAUL - Federal funds meant to spur the economy will help make this one of Minnesota's busiest road construction years. Federal economic stimulus money will provide $180 million for 60 Minnesota transportation projects outside the Twin Cities, including one in Alexandria, Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced Wednesday. By the time all money is received, Minnesota officials expect to receive $596 million for state and local highway and transit projects in the coming two years. But that is just a start.
ST. PAUL -- The Pawlenty administration plans to spend all federal economic stimulus money that it can get its hands on - estimated at $4 billion. That announcement on Monday came weeks after Gov.