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 - Two waitresses illustrate Minnesotans' differences over a statewide smoking ban plan advancing through the Minnesota Legislature. "I believe that all of us in the state of Minnesota - workers, businesses and public - ultimately are going to win on this issue," Duluth's Joan Linski said if the smoking ban passes, as it appears it will. That is not how Bierstube worker Mary Yoswa of Hastings sees the matter.
ST. PAUL -- Roger Urban thought he was stupid upon discovering he failed to file for a property tax refund. Then he found out there are 350,000 Minnesotans like him because they also did not know about the refund.
ST. PAUL - Senators gutted a meat packer employee bill of rights proposal in a Monday committee meeting faster than an experienced packer can gut a cow. But another Senate committee could put many of the details back in. Sen. James Metzen, DFL-South St.
ST. PAUL - State lawmakers should approve flood aid for western Minnesota's Browns Valley, Gov. Tim Pawlenty wrote to legislative leaders Monday. Pawlenty gave legislators a seven-point plan to help the community.
ST. PAUL - Two western Minnesota legislators may not be as close as they once were after an indirect heated exchange the past few days. It started when House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, wrote a column decrying a series of tax increases that would total $4 billion Democrats propose. It escalated when Rep.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota Democratic legislative leaders thought relations with Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty were going well. Then he told a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce audience: "You don't celebrate getting out of Weight Watchers by going over to the all-you-can-eat buffet. So our message to the Legislature is: 'Push away from the table. Put your fork down.'" Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, was not laughing.
ST. PAUL - The state representative for flood-damaged Browns Valley says Minnesota will need to help the 650-population community recover. While officials are examining the damage, some Democrats complained that Gov. Tim Pawlenty was campaigning for presidential candidate John McCain in Iowa instead of working on the Browns Valley problem. The governor plans to visit the community today. Browns Valley lawmakers were looking into what could be done for the town. "If there is a community that needs help from the state, it's Browns Valley," Rep.
ST. PAUL - The 16,000 people working at 320 Minnesota meat packing plants deserve a bill of rights, a rabbi and a union leader told a Senate committee. Not so, a state senator - who owns meat packing plants in three states - countered in a Wednesday exchange. Sen. Jim Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul, introduced the meat packing employee bill of rights because "we think that these are the right things to do for the tough packing industry." No vote was taken on the bill. However, Metzen, who worked in a South St.