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 — President Barack Obama will tell select Minnesotans today about his plan to reduce gun violence by increasing gun-buyer background checks, outlawing assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips and strengthening programs to prevent the mentally ill from becoming mass shooters. But he is not coming to a state that will offer its full support to such actions.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota officials started planning a state Capitol renovation project in 1984, and chances are improving that serious work could begin in 2013. But work would begin only if politicians can agree on a plan and spending level. “This has been a decades-long effort with very little to show for it,” state Administration Commissioner Spencer Cronk told representatives Thursday.
ST. PAUL — Genny Hinnenkamp travels the Duluth area, picking up proceeds from pull-tab games, with profits destined for the charity she represents and the new Minnesota Vikings stadium. At the same time she dreams about getting more money as electronic pull-tab games spread and statewide electronic bingo is added. But she is realistic about how fast the money will come. “Everybody’s got to be patient,” Hinnenkamp said, counseling customers and legislators alike.
ST. PAUL — A 1-ton, 6-foot-wide ball of light is back home inside the Minnesota Capitol dome. Hundreds of spectators attended a Thursday ceremony to watch the chandelier rise. The event included early 1900s music that visitors would have heard when the chandelier was first lit. The chandelier has 48,000 crystal beads and hangs from a massive chain. A motor hauled it 142 feet up to his home, and when it arrived and its 92 electric bulbs turned on.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov.
ST. PAUL — Organizations that took the lead in an election fight to ban gay marriage will keep working as Minnesota lawmakers debate the issue, and even debate whether to debate the issue. Minnesotans United for All Families will continue its work to legalize gay marriage while the leader of anti-gay marriage Minnesota for Marriage says that group needs to keep up the fight, too. On Nov. 6, voters defeated an attempt to outlaw gay marriage in the state Constitution. But the ban remains in state law.
ST. PAUL — Democrats in control of Minnesota government’s legislative and executive branches must walk a tightrope when they return to the Capitol Jan. 8. On one hand, they need to pay attention to groups that support them — and generally support higher government spending. On the other hand, they face a state budget deficit that may prevent higher spending, and many in their ranks fear they will appear greedy if they try to catch up on 22 years worth of wants too quickly.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota officials say they have tried to prepare for school shootings like one Friday in Connecticut, but there always is more they can do. “We need to collaboratively do a better job of securing those kids,” said state Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, a law enforcement officer for 34 years, 16 of them as Douglas County sheriff. Training how to react to a shooting is one thing, but “it is very difficult” to prevent shootings, said Superintendent Wade Setter of the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.