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 10 months
ST. PAUL - Streams are rising across Minnesota, so Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Iron Range lawmakers waged an emotional fight, but failed to prevent the Minnesota House from taking $60 million out of an economic development fund for their area. The House approved a bill 70-60 Tuesday funding various job-related programs while reducing spending $27 million to help balance the state budget. Rangers lit up the House chamber with an emotional hour-and-a-half debate about the proposal taking nearly half of the Douglas Johnson economic development fund.
ST. PAUL -- Senate Democrats tried to turn a tax bill debate into a rich-vs.-poor debate, saying a Republican-written bill was crafted to help businesses and the rich. Senate Republicans defeated all major changes to their tax bill Tuesday, passing the bill 37-26 after eight hours of debate over two days. The bill would phase out a statewide business property tax, encourage local governments to work together, maintain local aid at 2010 levels and keep state income and sales taxes static.
Senators on Monday passed a transportation funding bill that is 22.8 percent lower than projected. After a mostly party-line 38-25 vote, the Republican-written bill now advances to negotiators who will work out differences with a similar House-passed proposal. "In times of financial difficulty, it's important that we use our economic means to fund our priorities, and today we passed a bill that does that," said Senate Transportation Chairman Joe Gimse, R-Willmar. The cut is from general state tax spending; most transportation funding comes from dedicated sources only for highway, transit an
ST. PAUL -- A proposal to build a new Vikings stadium is not ready for prime time, the House speaker says. In a Friday meeting with reporters, House and Senate leaders repeatedly refused to back a proposal to build a professional football stadium funded in part by new sports-related taxes. Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said he told bill sponsor Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, that the effort needs a local government partner and a stadium location before it is ready for serious consideration. Lanning and Sen.
ST. PAUL -- The state Senate wants to divert some education funding to help children read by third grade, but critics do not like how the plan takes money from other needs. Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan, said that the education budget bill's aim is to "put a laser focus on reading." Overall, the bill would spend about $14 billion in the next two years, the largest chunk of the $34 billion state budget. The state's general education payments would rise $50 per student each of the next two years under the Republican bill, adding $133 million to school districts.
ST. PAUL -- Tens of thousands of poor, disabled and elderly Minnesotans could lose state-funded health care under a Republican bill senators approved as part of their efforts to balance the state budget. The bill, which passed 37-26 Wednesday, cuts $1.8 billion from what had been expected to be spent on health and welfare programs. The House has yet to vote on a similar bill, but Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota lawmakers voted to cut $300 million from college and university spending as they craft a state budget while plugging a $5 billion deficit. Opponents of the Republican-written bill said that some campuses are threatened and up to 1,500 higher education workers could lose their jobs if the bill becomes law. Bills passing the House and Senate on Tuesday set a $2.5 billion two-year budget for state-run colleges and universities. That is down from $2.8 billion in the current budget. Senators passed their bill 37-27; representatives passed it 69-60.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators will introduce a bill to build a new Vikings football stadium soon. Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said on Tuesday the bill will surface this week, perhaps as early as today. Lanning has worked on the bill with Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont. It was expected to be introduced early in the year, but the lawmakers needed more time to work out something that could pass. The Moorhead lawmaker would not hint about how the bill would finance a stadium. While Lanning and Rosen were finishing their bill, Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Senators approved a spending bill Tuesday that keeps money flowing to the courts while making cuts that could slow some crime investigations. The Republican-written measure would spend $1.8 billion in the next two years, $60 million less than the current budget and $29 million below a plan from Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. The bill passed 36-28 with Democrats lining up against it. The courts maintain most funding under the bill offered by Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, who leads the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. But Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St.