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 -- Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem has filled out his leadership team with two committee chairs. The Rochester Republican on Tuesday appointed Sen. Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen as deputy leader and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen of Alexandria as the fifth assistant majority leader. Ingebrigtsen had considered running for majority leader last week to keep rural issues at the forefront. But he was not nominated. Senjem and Sen. David Hann of Eden Prairie were the two senators in the running to replace Sen.
ST. PAUL -- The past year was packed with disputes under the Minnesota Capitol dome, often involving Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled Legislature sparring over money issues. It was a year full of surprises. Jan. 3: Dayton was inaugurated as one of the state's most liberal governors, then immediately puts a tax-the-rich strategy at the top of his priority list. Jan.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation says that vandalizing roadway signs or other state property along highways can carry a fine of up to $3,000 and a year in jail. Shooting, vandalizing and stealing signs are illegal, as is attaching objects to signs and posts.
The Minnesota Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources wants to hear ideas about how lottery money should be spent. Seven percent of money spent on the Minnesota State Lottery goes into the Environment and Natural Resources Fund, which is used on projects across the state. Proposals are due by April 6, with more information at www.lccmr.leg.mn . About $31 million is expected to be available in the next year for projects such as those that protect the state's natural resources enhance public education about the outdoors and preserve fish and wildlife.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota says law enforcement departments need to adopt uniform policies for when Tasers may be used. After a statewide study, the ACLU claims that policies about Taser use vary widely across the state. While a state policy is needed about when the electronic weapons may be used, each department also should have its own policy that accounts for dangers such as the risk of falling after being shot, the group says. The ACLU wants each Taser use to be reported to the state. "The recommendations we make pose a minimal cost to law enforcement agencies, wou
ST. PAUL -- The new year could be one of government reform. Minnesota legislative Republicans and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton agree reforming is a top priority, but they may differ on just what that means and how to get there. A year ago, the two sides said the same thing, but a big money debate got in the way. By necessity, legislators and Dayton had to concentrate on plugging a $5 billion hole in the state budget. With a slight budget surplus heading into the 2012 legislative session, which begins Jan.
ST. PAUL -- It is back to the future for Minnesota Senate Republicans with Dave Senjem back in charge. "The direction is nothing but forward," Senjem said, adding that despite his history as GOP leader "it is a new day." A 69-year-old senator from Rochester, Senjem moves into the majority leader's position a year after he ended four years of service as minority leader. In his last year in that job, he and Sen.
ROSEVILLE -- Minnesota Senate Republicans promised a fresh start Tuesday night, putting a scandal behind them and spending 11 hours picking Sen. Dave Senjem as their new leader. The senators also elected a new slate of assistant leaders during their closed-door meeting. "No more looking backward," the Rochester Republican said when he was introduced as the majority leader. Senjem returns to the chief Republican post after a year as an assistant leader. Before that, as minority leader he helped orchestrate the first GOP Senate majority in 38 years. Tuesday's election was forced when Sen.
ROSEVILLE, Minn. -- Minnesota state Sen. Dave Senjem of Rochester makes a return as Senate Republican leader after an 11-hour meeting today. Senjem served as minority leader until last year, when Republicans won the Senate majority for the first time in 38 years. The Senate Republican caucus also elected Sens. Roger Chamberlain of Lino Lakes, Paul Gazelka of Brainerd, Ted Lillie of Lake Elmo and Claire Robling of Jordan as assistant Senate majority leaders. Senators were quiet about what went on behind closed doors. They started deliberating at 9 a.m.
Update 5 p.m.