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
- 3 years 6 months
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's environmental permitting process soon will speed up, with a goal of producing more jobs. Gov. Mark Dayton signed a permit speed-up bill Thursday, following up on an earlier executive order he wrote to do many of the same things. "We're sending a signal that we want your projects done quicker," Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau, said about the new law's message to business. "And we want to save you money in the process, because time is money." He credited lawmakers from both parties and Gov. Dayton for working together to settle differences.
ST. PAUL -- Republicans are using legislative votes against Gov. Mark Dayton's tax proposal as evidence it has little support. However, Dayton and other Democrats called the Thursday votes a charade. Republicans put the tax plan in front of the House and Senate, but opposed it in an effort to get Democrats to vote against the measure. "Recess is over," Dayton said to lawmakers, recalling his time as a teacher.
Seven-term veteran state Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, will go to work for U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. Juhnke, defeated by Republican Bruce Vogel last November, will handle Franken's agriculture, energy and environmental outreach duties. He will be stationed in Willmar, but travel the state for Franken. "Al Juhnke understands how important agriculture, energy, and the environment are to creating jobs and spurring economic development in Minnesota," Franken said.
ST. PAUL -- Good news to the tune of $1.2 billion changed little about Minnesota's budget debate. There was little evidence after Monday's news that a projected budget deficit has dropped from $6.2 billion to $5 billion smoothed differences between Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton and Republicans who control the Legislature. "It is still a matter of serious concern," Dayton said. Democrats and Rep-ublicans could not even agree on who was responsible for the better budget news. House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, thanked employers and employees for paying more taxes to the state.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's new budget deficit reportedly will be about $5 billion, down from $6.2 billion. Still, the state faces a massive deficit that legislators and the governor will debate through the spring. The $5 billion figure for the next two-year budget was reported before the official announcement later today. The official announcement will include details about why the deficit dropped and what could happen if the economy takes another turn. To put it in perspective, at $5 billion it still tops the Wisconsin deficit by more than $1 billion.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton's Cabinet may be the most diverse in Minnesota history, but it still is dominated by white males. It also may be one of the least partisan, but Senate Republicans who must confirm commissioners cast a wary eye on some appointments. And Twin Cities residents are a majority on the 25-member Cabinet, but at least 10 bring strong greater Minnesota connections. "It is very important," political science professor Kathryn Pearson of the University of Minnesota said of Cabinet picks.
ST. PAUL -- The country's political attention lately has focused on Wisconsin and a battle over public unions. Coming in a distance second is the potential that the federal government could shut down Friday. But U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., said the attention will switch to Washington in the next few days as the Republican-controlled House tries to work with the Democratic Senate and White House to pass another stop-gap budget measure to keep the federal government functioning a few more weeks. A new budget was supposed to be in place by last Oct.
ST. PAUL -- Eight city officials praising Gov. Mark Dayton for efforts to preserve state aid to cities said they would not raise property taxes if the aid continues. The officials told Capitol reporters Wednesday that the Democratic governor's budget proposal would save residents money.
ST. PAUL -- A thousand Minnesota union workers, some still wearing their hard hats, rallied in the state Capitol after work Tuesday to show support for their Wisconsin brethren who are fighting a Republican governor and legislators working to remove most public employee bargaining rights. "We are all in this fight together," Stillwater teacher Josiah Hill said.