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 - Gov. Tim Pawlenty plans to look over the expanding Ham Lake fire today, and offers to provide more state help if needed. The governor criticized "the knucklehead who started this" rapidly growing forest fire by leaving an unauthorized campfire. "It is increasing by the hour," Pawlenty said. He plans to fly by airplane to Grand Marais today, where he will transfer to a helicopter to look at the fire from the air. His 10:15 a.m. helicopter flight will be followed by an 11 a.m. meeting at Gunflint Fire Department Station 2.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty did as he promised - vetoed two more of the state's major funding bills and pared down another. And the Republican governor said he is ready to wield his veto pen some more. However, he also signed a couple of bills. One funds public safety programs to the tune of $2 million.
Drivers will need to use approved child restraints for children younger than 8, new drivers would face new restrictions and more vehicles could be stopped if occupants don't wear seat belts under a bill senators preliminarily passed on a voice vote Monday. Conservative Republicans and some Iron Rangers tried and failed to strip the bill of some new requirements. Child restraints now are required for children 4 and younger. The bill written by Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, requires children younger than 8 to be restrained. "It's excessive." Sen.
A bill to allow some patients to use marijuana to ease pain is headed to the full House. A version already has passed the Senate, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he will veto the measure. Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, said he would expect about the same number of Minnesotans to make use of the law as in Colorado, where 200 to 400 patients use marijuana. Rep. Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, is a strong supporter of the measure, but questioned the Health Department estimating that 10 state employees would be needed to enforce the law.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota trial lawyers won a battle with insurance companies Thursday, but it lasted just a few hours. The House passed and sent to the Senate a compromise bill early Thursday afternoon that, among other things, would allow Minnesotans to sue their insurance companies if they fail to work in "good faith" for their customers. By 6 p.m., after senators began debating the bill, House and Senate leaders decided to remove the provision to avoid a Gov.
Clean water supporters hailed legislation passed this week requiring electronics manufacturers to collect and recycle televisions and computer monitors. "This is a big victory for the residents of Minnesota and for the environment," said Sara Rummel, political coordinator for Clean Water Action Alliance of Minnesota. "We will now be able to easily recycle our old electronics." Manufacturers must collect 60 percent of the weight they produce under the bill, which Gov. Tim Pawlenty is expected to sign into law.
ST. PAUL - Funding for the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center disappeared a year ago as Minnesota lawmakers got ready to go home for the year. On Tuesday, it happened three weeks earlier, possibly in time for the money to appear again before legislators are expected to go home for the year. Gov. Tim Pawlenty Tuesday vetoed a $334 million public works funding bill that included the DECC, saying the bill spends too much money.
ST. PAUL - It appears Minnesota legislators must start over on a public works projects funding package after Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed their first attempt Tuesday, saying lawmakers wanted to spend too much. The future of $334 million worth of projects ranging from flood aid to college roof repairs is in doubt and lawmakers have not discussed their next move. "We will see what, if anything, will happen by the end of the session," Sen.
ST. PAUL - Renewable energy, farmers and veterans would benefit from the first major budget bill to pass the 2007 Minnesota Legislature. "This bill will strengthen the state's rural economy and position Minnesota as a leader in the production and use of renewable energy for years to come," Rep. Al Juhnke said.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota senators narrowly voted Tuesday to allow some patients in extreme pain to smoke marijuana, and the House author of the measure predicted a narrow victory, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty promises to veto any such bill. The 33-31 Senate vote followed a debate that featured supporters who said they want to ease people's pain fighting those who worried that allowing medical marijuana would lead to more widespread use of it. "There is not a person on the Senate floor or a person in the state of Minnesota who hasn't witnessed ...