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
- 5 years 5 months
A second state veterans' cemetery could be built and a new veterans' home governing arrangement were approved Thursday by House members. Veterans' provisions were folded into an agriculture bill, but was barely discussed before the full bill passed. The new veterans' cemetery, proposed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, would be started by the federal government, but the state would fund its staff. Pawlenty removed veterans' home governance from a board earlier, handing it off to the state Veterans' Affairs Department, after problems surfaced at a Minneapolis facility.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators gave final approval to studying a rare cancer found on the Iron Range when the House voted 121-1 in favor of a $4.9 million expenditure. Mesothelioma is believed to have resulted in 58 northeastern Minnesota deaths, but scientists are not sure about the cause. "This study is a commitment to those that work in the mines on the Iron Range and for all workers across the state -- if something where you work is making you sick, we are going to get to the bottom of it," said bill sponsor Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia.
Homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments could receive help from the Minnesota Finance Agency under a bill senators preliminarily passed Thursday. The bill could be on the governor's desk next week. "Minnesota, like the rest of the country, is facing a mortgage foreclosure crisis of proportions not seen since the Depression," Sen. Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis, said. "The problem is spreading throughout the state, from the Twin Cities, through the suburbs and into greater Minnesota," she added.
ST. PAUL - A federal highway administrator honored for his work following the Minneapolis bridge collapse becomes Minnesota's new transportation commissioner next week. Tom Sorel brings "an established record of transportation leadership," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Monday in announcing Sorel's appointment. Sorel has spent three years as head of the Minnesota Federal Highway Administration office and won a federal honor for his division's response to the Aug.
ST. PAUL - Some Minnesota homeowners will get a property tax break funded by other homeowners if state House Democrats get their way. And local governments would get a $53 million boost at the expense of multi-national corporations. "More will benefit than pay in," Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, said Monday as he announced the proposal. All homeowners who pay more than 2 percent of their income in property taxes would benefit, said Marquart, House property taxes chairman.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Monday budget-balancing offer did not go as far as Democrats who control the Legislature wanted. "We were hoping for a fast polka," House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, said. "But we are having a slow waltz." Pawlenty suggested cutting in half the amount of money he would take from the Health Care Access Fund to balance the budget -- $125 million.
ST. PAUL - Legislative leaders pledge to do what they can to protect rural Minnesota air service as Northwest Airlines becomes part of the world's largest air company. Gov. Tim Pawlenty, however, said there is little the state can do to mold the new Delta Air Lines, which will swallow Northwest if federal authorities approve.
Under the watchful eye of Minnesota Twins baseball great and Cuba native Tony Oliva, the Minnesota House approved a resolution asking the federal government to end a trade ban with Cuba. However, despite the overwhelming 86-9 favorable vote, many Republicans refused to vote as a protest of Cuba's human rights history. Rep. Bud Heidgerken, R-Freeport, said others have worse human rights violations.
The House unanimously approved a bill aiding cattle farmers in an area of northwestern Minnesota where cattle are infected with bovine tuberculosis. The bill establishes a zone in the area where 11 cattle herds have been affected by TB. It also authorizes a $500-per-animal state payment for cattle within that zone.
ST PAUL - Iron Range lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty have reached a compromise to fund a miners' cancer deaths study. Pawlenty could sign a bill next week appropriating $4.9 million so the University of Minnesota can study why 58 people connected to Iron Range mines have died of mesothelioma. The compromise allows the state to use a different fund than originally proposed, a fund acceptable to Pawlenty. "Gov.