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 -- Minnesota senators approved 39-28 a health insurance marketplace along party lines Monday, leaving only Governor Mark Dayton's signature as the final step. Dayton is expected to sign the measure that would give Minnesotans a mostly web-based place to buy health insurance, as required by federal law.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton scaled back his tax requests today after hearing from the public, businesses and legislators that they were not keen on expanding the sales tax to most goods and services. "This does not allow us to do as many things as we could in a broader reform, but that is the way it is," he said in announcing changes from his initial Jan. 22 budget proposal. The governor still wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans more than $1 billion and increase public school and higher education spending almost that much.
ST. PAUL -- Republicans call gay marriage a distraction from important duties legislators face, such as passing a state budget. On Thursday, Republican legislators packed a stage during a rally supporting traditional marriage between a man and a woman. About 1,000 people jammed the Minnesota Capitol, holding signs with slogans such as "marriage should be reinforced, not redefined." President Brian Brown of the National Organization of Marriage energized the crowd in the rally's keynote address. "Children deserve the chance to have both a mother and a father," Brown said.
ST. PAUL -- Gay advocates have lobbied for allow same-sex marriages for years, but they made little progress. That appears ready to change Tuesday when House and Senate committees will hear bills overturning a state law outlawing gay marriage. With heavy liberal Democratic membership on the two committees, the concept has the best chance to pass ever. Those two committee hearings, which are to end with votes on the proposal, are the only two planned at the Legislature, Democratic-Farmer-Laborite leaders say.
ST. PAUL -- Janet Thompson was being treated for terminal lung cancer, but her thoughts were about others. She lobbied people she saw to check their homes for radon, a colorless and odorless radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. Now, her sister has taken up the cause. Lori Thompson-Garry told a House committee Wednesday that she backs a bill that would require a radon test when a house goes on the market. "Lung cancer is very silent," said Thompson-Garry of Eagan. "She had no symptoms." Thompson, who had lived in Glenwood, died last September at 49, two years after being diagnosed.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans either will get a better deal on health insurance or they will face problems if the Legislature and governor agree on a new way for 1.3 million Minnesotans to buy health insurance. That is how the debate boils down about a bill the Democrat-controlled House Monday night approved 72-58 over Republican protests.
Minnesotans must loudly demand that lawmakers approve Sunday alcohol sales if the proposal has a chance to pass, its Senate sponsor says. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans may not know what the word means, but starting last Friday, they began to feel the impact of automatic and deep federal budget cuts known as "sequestration." No one knows for sure how Minnesotans will be affected, but there is widespread agreement it will be felt. U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Legislative leaders say the governor has a good chance of getting $30 million he wants included in the next two-year budget to help businesses move to Minnesota or expand. The Minnesota Investment Fund provided more than 600 loans, some of which do not need to be repaid, since 1985. Rural businesses received $85 million while those in the Twin Cities were given $24 million. "It's a major priority," said Sen.