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
- 2 years 3 weeks
ST. PAUL -- The transportation committees, in some ways, may be the envy of the Minnesota Legislature. While other committees struggle to plug a $6.2 billion budget gap, most of the $5.8 billion transportation budget is from funds dedicated to roads, transit and other transportation needs. State gasoline tax proceeds and other such revenue used to fund transportation may be declining a bit, but they remain stronger than the overall state budget and cannot be used to fix the budget problem. "Transportation is going to continue to chug on," said Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Gov.-elect Mark Dayton wants the state to borrow $1 billion for public works construction projects around the state. He should not get his heart set on it. "We are so diametrically opposed," said Rep. Larry Howes, House chairman of the committee that would send projects to Democrat Dayton. "Someone has to give." And the Walker Republican, not always in lockstep with his party leaders, indicated that he is not ready to give. "We will say, obviously, we are not going to have a bonding bill," Howes said of a public works bill financed by the state selling bonds.
ST. PAUL -- Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota grew by 384,446 people in the past decade, but 15,000 is a more important number. Minnesota beat North Carolina by 15,000 people to keep its eight U.S. House seats. Had 15,000 fewer Minnesotans filled out their census forms last spring, the state would be faced with figuring out how to draw congressional district lines for just seven House seats. District lines still will be redrawn in the next year to fulfill the one person, one vote federal requirement.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants federal aid for farmers in four Minnesota counties after a rough weather year. In a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Pawlenty Monday sought a disaster declaration for Chippewa, Renville, Wright and Freeborn counties. "A secretarial declaration will allow affected farmers access to the U.S.
ST. PAUL -- There is no doubt the election is over: Democrat Mark Dayton, Minnesota's governor elect, and Republican Tim Pawlenty, who holds the office until Jan. 3, sounded like old pals Thursday after they met privately and before Pawlenty and his wife showed Dayton and his sons around the governor's residence. "Peaceful transition of democracy is a wonderful thing," Pawlenty said, pledging to give Dayton and his staff all the help needed to assume office. The most substantial agreement was about Dayton's pick for transportation commissioner, incumbent Tom Sorel.
ST. PAUL -- Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer ended their quest for the Minnesota governor's office as differently as they were on the campaign trail. Dayton, the liberal winner, was somber. Emmer, the conservative loser, was loser light hearted.
ST. PAUL -- Officials from the southeastern Twin Cities and beyond say their communities should be next in line for a passenger rail line, and a $500,000 park-and-ride lot in Hastings is the first step. "This is about investing in jobs," Rep. Karla Bigham, DFL-Cottage Grove, said, hitching Red Rock to the legislative session's main theme. Officials gathered for a Monday Capitol complex news conference could produce no estimates of how many jobs Red Rock could establish, but St.
MINNEAPOLIS -- More Minnesota governor candidates showed up for a massive Wednesday night debate than the average precinct caucus will host next week. And still, just two-thirds of the candidates planning to run this year were at the gathering, the biggest such forum political observers remember. In front of hundreds of newspaper workers, candidates found some ways to separate themselves from each other. However, for the most part, Republicans and Democrats gave predictable answers, such as Republicans favoring spending cuts to balance the budget and Democrats supporting some tax increases.