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 10 months
ST. PAUL -- A newly revised public works funding bill that would spend $986 million on projects across Minnesota is firm, set in stone, ready to pass both the House and Senate in the next few days. Maybe. Chief legislative negotiators on the issue said late Thursday that they had done their best to build a public works bill, funded by the state selling bonds, and a deal they just made would be their final work on the issue. While their proposal would spend far more than the $685 million Gov.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House and Senate appear ready to give Gov. Tim Pawlenty more and less of what he wants for public works funding. A bill negotiators approved at a hastily called Thursday meeting includes much more spending than the governor wants. It also includes Pawlenty major priorities, but a sex offender treatment center expansion is funded at a far lower amount than he wants. "We have been listening to the governor's requests and I hope he has been listening to ours," Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, said. The bill an unofficial committee led by Langseth and Rep.
ST. PAUL -- It is time for Minnesota House and Senate leaders to get on the same page, the Senate's chief public works negotiator says. Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, went into a Wednesday meeting exp-ecting negotiators to agree on a framework of a new public works funding plan, but his House counterpart said after the meeting that negotiators have yet to agree on what should be in the bill. That was news to Langseth, who said the two sides were within $5 million out of a $1 billion measure. He said he sees the next step as getting leaders involved. Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's current budget picture is a bit brighter than three months ago, but the next budget could be the state's biggest-ever financial challenge. The current budget is $944 million short, state officials announced Tuesday, but depending on what legislators and the governor do in the next few months the budget that begins in mid-2011 could end up with an $8 billion hole. The best scenario for the 2011-12 budget is a $2.8 billion deficit. In early December, those same state officials predicted a $1.2 billion budget in the current $31 billion, two-year budget.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House upheld Gov.
ST. PAUL -- The Senate unanimously approved moving the Minnesota primary election to August, a month earlier than under current law, to comply with federal requirements to give soldiers and other overseas Americans more time to vote. The Monday vote followed an overwhelming recent House vote, sending the bill to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's desk.
ST. PAUL -- In some people's minds, there is a disconnect between legislators negotiating with the governor while at the same time on the same bill overriding his veto. And a maneuver never used before, holding back an already passed bill so the governor does not veto it, could be seen as confrontational. That is the way the 2010 Minnesota legislative session has gone; it's been a wild ride. The session begins its second month on Thursday, two days after lawmakers and Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Further state budget cuts will mean longer waits for cases to go through Minnesota's court system, judicial leaders say, and small counties will be hardest hit. For years, courts in the least populated counties have received more state funding per capita than larger counties. But on Thursday State Court Administrator Sue Dosal told the Senate Judiciary Budget Division that is ending. She said the courts no longer can afford to give extra money to small counties. That could mean some counties' court offices would be open only when a judge is there.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators voted 45-21 Thursday to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto of a health care program for the poor, even though legislative health leaders are trying to negotiate an agreement with the governor. "I wish the governor had not been so indecisive engaging in this discussion," said Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis. The vote sends the bill back to the House, where Republicans vow to uphold the veto. That vote may come Monday. In the meantime, negotiations on General Assistance Medical Care continue with the governor's office.