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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A 39-year-old North Dakota native takes over as Minnesota House Republican leader. Fellow House Republicans gave Rep. Kurt Zellers of Maple Grove about 70 percent of the vote Tuesday night in picking him to replace Rep. Marty Seifert of Marshall as minority leader. Seifert plans to announce in less than two weeks that he is running for governor. Rep. Randy Demmer of Hayfield was the other major candidate. Several ballots were needed before Zellers emerged the winner. Zellers takes over a caucus of 47 members out of the 134-person House.
ST. PAUL -- Katie Sieben sat behind the wheel of a shiny new car, looking ahead to a traffic light. "So I'm going to accelerate going up to the light?" she asked Todd Cook, teaching the Minnesota state senator about environmentally friendly driving. "Shoot," Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, said before Cook could respond. The light was yellow well before she hit the intersection, but she made it through before seeing red.
ST. PAUL -- A rural southern Minnesotan and a Twin Cities suburban lawmaker who grew up in rural North Dakota are the main contenders to become Minnesota House Republican leader. Republicans meet tonight in St. Paul to elect a leader, with just 47 of the House's 134 members in their party. Tonight's vote is important because it sets the tone for the 2010 election, when Republicans hope to gain seats on Democratic-Farmer-Laborites. Reps.
ST. PAUL -- Democrats claim Gov. Tim Pawlenty's plan to cut $2.7 billion from the state budget is illegal. Democratic legislative leaders Thursday told the Republican governor's commissioners that Pawlenty is overstepping his legal authority in balancing the budget himself. "There is some shaky legal ground to do some of the changes you are doing," House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, said to Pawlenty's representatives. He called it abuse of state law. "This whole process just doesn't pass the smell test," Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, said.
ST. PAUL -- Gov.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty today announced plans to cut nearly $2.7 billion from the state budget. The biggest portion of the budget-balancing action was nearly $1.8 billion in delaying state payments to school districts and other school adjustments.
ST. PAUL -- Gov.
ST. PAUL - Tuesday is the day Minnesotans find out where Gov. Tim Pawlenty will cut the state budget. Pawlenty and Commissioner Tom Hanson of Minnesota Management and Budget scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference to announce cuts to the state's two-year budget that begins July 1. The Republican governor already has said he plans to cut state aid paid to local governments, will reduce some higher education money and will cut back on health and human services programs.
Updated 11:30 a.m.
ST. PAUL - Rep. Marty Seifert steps to the microphone late this morning in what many expect to be the first of many announcements related to Republican governor campaigns. Seifert plans to step down as House Republican leader. It is likely that the Marshall lawmaker will tell reporters that he is exploring a gubernatorial bid, although he could formally announce his candidacy. More announcements are expected as nearly 20 Republicans are thinking about jumping into the race now that Gov. Tim Pawlenty decided to skip running for a third term.