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
- 3 years 5 months
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Legislature is racing toward a self-imposed Friday budget deadline amid protesters fearing Wisconsin-type anti-union laws, Republicans bucking their party chairman by proposing racinos and key lawmakers saying their budget plans will not be finished by Friday. "Welcome to Phase One of a yet-to-be-determined number of phases, I fear," Chairman Jim Abeler of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee said Monday as he introduced his budget plan. The Anoka Republican said that his proposal will change before reaching Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton's desk.
ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota House committee that usually approves spending money to build government facilities voted Tuesday to call back $59 million already approved from as far back as 1994. The bill would stop some long-planned rail and trail projects in their tracks, as well as others that have not started as quickly as some lawmakers want. The bill also cancels spending that no longer is needed. Saving money is the reason behind the effort, House Capital Investment Chairman Larry Howes, R-Walker, said.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota income taxes would fall $300 million in the next two years under a House Republican plan, while state payments to local governments drop significantly. The proposal, to receive a House Tax Committee vote late this week, eliminates Local Government Aid for Duluth, Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as Twin Cities suburbs, by 2015.
ST. PAUL -- Larry Shellito became the first Gov. Mark Dayton commissioner to be confirmed as the Senate Thursday voted for him to continue as leader of the state Veterans' Affairs Department. "I can think of no better leader to serve Minnesota veterans than the one who led them in many of the challenges of the last several years," Sen. Ted Daley, R-Eagan, said before the unanimous Senate voice vote. Shellito, 65, was state adjutant general seven years, in charge of the National Guard, before retiring last year.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's political old guard says current politicians should not draw new legislative and congressional districts. Those in politics have so much self-interest that they should not do the basic redistricting work required once a decade, five long-time Minnesota political leaders said on Tuesday. This year, with a big divide between Democrat Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's environmental permitting process soon will speed up, with a goal of producing more jobs. Gov. Mark Dayton signed a permit speed-up bill Thursday, following up on an earlier executive order he wrote to do many of the same things. "We're sending a signal that we want your projects done quicker," Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau, said about the new law's message to business. "And we want to save you money in the process, because time is money." He credited lawmakers from both parties and Gov. Dayton for working together to settle differences.
ST. PAUL -- The Republican-controlled Senate voted 63-1 Thursday against Gov. Mark Dayton's proposal to raise taxes on Minnesota's richest residents, but Dayton and other Democrats called the debate meaningless theater. "I'm glad people are having fun," Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said sarcastically. "I hope some of your relatives are watching." Only Sen.