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 - Many Minnesota legislators' dreams of significantly increasing education and health-care funding may have come to a screeching halt. Figures Senate leaders released Thursday show budget growth large enough to cover inflation and pretty much nothing more. That means no all-day, every-day kindergarten. That means covering all Minnesota children with health care insurance may have to wait. That means little more can be done for pre-schoolers.
ST. PAUL - Small, rural school districts are hurting for money and not very attractive to potential superintendents, a Minnesota Senate committee heard Thursday. Often the schools don't want to share a superintendent with a nearby district, fearing loss of autonomy. But Sen.
ST. PAUL - The baby boom "age wave" is about to sweep over Minnesota, but nursing home industry leaders say 130 of their facilities are near closing. Nursing homes in the southwestern and northeastern parts of the state are in the most danger of closing. The Long-Term Care Imperative reports 44 percent of those in the northeast and 42 percent in the southwest recorded operating budget losses at a level industry leaders call a crisis.
ST. PAUL - A compromise between environmentalists and off-road vehicle drivers may be in the works. "This is a forced marriage," Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said. The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday approved a bill by Sen.
ST. PAUL - The tears and hugs were bipartisan. Dallas Sams would have liked the way his former Minnesota Senate colleagues mourned his death -- in 16 years as senator he worked to be bipartisan. And that is how legislators remembered him. Sams, 54, died in a Twin Cities' hospital Monday after battling brain cancer more than two years. Sams wasn't the stereotypical partisan politician. He was known for working with lawmakers of both major political parties. He worked with urban, rural and suburban legislators.
Minnesota's 150th birthday party is taking shape. It was 150 years ago last week that Congress took the first step to admitting Minnesota into the union. The state became the 32nd state on May 11, 1858. The Sesquicentennial Commission is planning activities to last through May 11, 2008. Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced there will be grants to help build local sesquicentennial projects and events. He included $2 million for that in his budget proposal.
Last week was a time for Minnesota Democrats to downplay expectations. On Wednesday, state officials announced that there would be no big infusion of money for the two-year budget that begins July 1. That led to Democrats to say legislators cannot do everything some Minnesotans expected. On Friday, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St.
Rep. Morrie Lanning says he sympathizes with mobile home park residents. Lanning, R-Moorhead, said he understands what it's like to live in a home on land owned by someone else. When he first moved to Moorhead, he lived in what is now Greenwood Communities Mobile Home Park. "My interest in this comes out of my experience," he said. Lanning supports a bill making it easier for mobile home residents to pool resources and buy their park if it's for sale.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota legislators and Gov. Tim Pawlenty will have a $2.163 billion surplus to spend in the next two years, state officials announced this morning. In November, a similar budget forecast showed they would have nearly $2.2 billion. Now legislators and Pawlenty can get down to real work writing a budget. More than a month ago, Pawlenty suggested spending $34.4 billion in the next two years. Lawmakers wait until the Finance Department releases its February budget forecast before they start putting specific numbers to their budget priorities.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota Senate Democrats have talked a lot about early-childhood education, but now say their first job is to fill a nearly $500 million gap in special education funding. Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller. DFL-Minneapolis, said on Wednesday that special education funding is not in itself a priority, but the special ed gap drains money from other programs. Gov.