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 -- Flood fighters from around Minnesota say they are ready to launch new measures to prevent future floods as soon as waters recede this spring. That is, they are ready if the state lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton approve a $55 million public works bill two legislative committees considered Wednesday. No action was taken, but no representative or senator expressed opposition. "I always tried to have enough state money that nothing is held up," Sen.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Legislature is racing toward a self-imposed Friday budget deadline amid protesters fearing Wisconsin-type anti-union laws, Republicans bucking their party chairman by proposing racinos and key lawmakers saying their budget plans will not be finished by Friday. "Welcome to Phase One of a yet-to-be-determined number of phases, I fear," Chairman Jim Abeler of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee said Monday as he introduced his budget plan. The Anoka Republican said that his proposal will change before reaching Democrat Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota policymakers want to quickly launch a long discussed war on plants and animals invading the state. Asian carp, including ones that jump out of the water and hit boaters, are the most publicized invasive species. While those carp have not arrived in Minnesota, much smaller zebra mussels, spiny waterfleas and the Eurasian watermilfoil plant already are common in areas. "Once they take over, it is too late," Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday as he joined lawmakers to support a $4 million a year plan to fight the invasion.
ST. PAUL -- An 8-year effort to keep sex offenders in jail longer began a new trek Tuesday through the Minnesota Legislature. The House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee unanimously approved a proposal that would force many of the worst offenders to spend 60 years in prison, followed by a decade of supervised release. Those "worst of the worst" sex offenders would serve twice the current sentences under the bill by Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Whether Minnesota retailers should sell alcohol on Sundays will be debated by a Senate committee Wednesday, perhaps the first time that has happened. Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, promotes the idea after seeing Minnesotans drive over bridges to buy booze in Superior, Wis.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's speeches these days contain one sure-fire applause line: "We're not Wisconsin." That is true, and Minnesotans appreciate the fact that thousands of protesters have not descended on their Capitol. But by at least one measure, Minnesota is worse than its eastern neighbor.