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
- 4 years 5 months
ST. PAUL -- An 18-month campaign about gay marriage began moments after the Minnesota House approved a constitutional amendment on the issue late Saturday. And if the five-hour House debate is any indication, Minnesotans are in for 18 months of emotional and hard-fought campaigning. The campaign is expected to bring in millions of dollars for both sides. An hour after the House voted 70-62 to ask voters to decide whether marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman, those opposed to the amendment launched their campaign, Minnesotans United for All Families. Bill sponsor Rep.
ST. PAUL -- All but the most naive know this really is not the final day the Minnesota Legislature meets this year. The state Constitution says today is the end, but Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republicans who run the Legislature are no closer to agreement today than they were when the Legislature convened on Jan. 4. Already, the discussion has turned to a special legislative session and a possible government shutdown.
ST. PAUL -- Voices broke with emotion tonight as Minnesota representatives engaged a quiet and serious debate over gay marriage. "We are going to plunge Minnesota in a deeply divisive fight over who and how we love," Rep. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, said about the proposed constitutional amendment they considered well into the night. The somber, quiet debate contrasted sharply with chanting and sign waving that dominated the hallways outside the House chamber for than two days. Hundreds who gathered in the Capitol on both sides of the issue became silent as discussion began at 6:23 p.m.
ST. PAUL -- Two high-level meetings today showed no progress toward solving Minnesota's budget dispute. The stalemate, which produced familiar rhetoric from both sides, prompted one legislative staffer to joke: "This could have been November." But it was no joke. What Gov.
ST. PAUL -- One comment says it all: "Not much progress was made." With those words, House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, summarized this morning's budget talks between legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton. Facing a Monday night deadline to complete the budget in the 2011 legislative session, there appeared no way that can happen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota representatives rejected spending $46.7 million to prevent floods. The early vote today resulted in 76 representatives for the bill and 57 against; it needed 81 to pass. But the bill's sponsor said he expects an even larger public works bill, including more than just flood projects, to be considered in a likely special legislative session. Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislative leaders and governor continue meeting but not progressing on the state budget. The key disagreement is the same as it has been for months: Republicans who control the Legislature refuse to spend more than $34 billion in the next two years and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton insists on raising taxes to spend more. Dayton's latest proposal is $35.8 billion. Neither side shows signs of giving and there may not be time to technically rework nine tax and spend bills by the Legislature's midnight Monday deadline to adjourn. Dayton and leaders met twice Friday.
ST. PAUL -- Demonstrators lined the halls near the House chamber Thursday, making noise for both sides of the gay-marriage de-bate. The noise was so loud that it forced the Ho-use doorkeeper to keep massive doors closed so that representatives debating bills could hear what was going on.
ST. PAUL -- Two colorful quotes demonstrate the tough state of the Legislature. "Anyway, back to King Tut," Sen. Sandra Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, told fellow senators as she returned to a lengthy discussion of all things Tut and dinosaur, saying the Science Museum of Minnesota would be hurt by a bill cutting state programs. House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, showed the mood of chief policymakers when he described Gov.
ST. PAUL - Torrey Westrom hopes his historic moment helps other Americans. The Minnesota state representative stood in as House speaker Tuesday afternoon, apparently the first time a blind person ever to run state House debate anywhere in the country. "If nothing else, hopefully, it will motivate people who have a challenge in their life," the Elbow Lake Republican said after his experience. On the raised podium above the House chamber, under a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, a House staff member stood nearby to tell Westrom when a lawmaker stood to speak.