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 -- 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.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators are considering reinstating a deal with Wisconsin so people who live in one state and work in the other do not need to file two income tax returns. A bill studying the situation is set to be included in an overall tax bill later this legislative session and Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, said he plans a bill to reinstate the tax reciprocity arrangement. Then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty killed the reciprocity arrangement after Wisconsin fell 17 months behind paying what it owes Minnesota. New Wisconsin Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's new budget deficit will be about $5 billion, down from $6.2 billion, but there are so many unanswered economic questions that the budget also could end up in worse shape. Even with the better number, the state faces a massive deficit that legislators and the governor will debate through the spring. Gov.
ST. PAUL -- A thousand Minnesota union workers, some still wearing their hard hats, rallied in the state Capitol after work Tuesday to show support for their Wisconsin brethren who are fighting a Republican governor and legislators working to remove most public employee bargaining rights. "We are all in this fight together," Stillwater teacher Josiah Hill said. "Today, we are all Badgers." The Minnesota rally, one of the largest ever held inside the Capitol, was one of many staged around the country as leaders in other states wait to see if the Wisconsin strife spills over. Minnesota Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton wants to preserve state aid to local communities while raising taxes on the richest Minnesotans and increasing education spending in a budget proposal he released this morning. The Democrat's total budget plan for the next two years would be $37 billion, up from just over $30 billion in the budget that ends June 30. At the same time, he makes cuts to help balance a $6.2 billion budget deficit. There were few surprises, since he talked extensively about the budget during a year he campaigned for governor.