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
- 4 years 11 months
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators defeated by a single vote the spotlight bill of today's special legislative session, raising the possibility of a second special session. On a 33-32 vote, the agriculture-environment funding legislation lost as other budget bills were being passed in an effort to finish the state's $42 billion, two-year budget. The bill needed 34 to pass.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Legislature went into a historic special session this morning, the first time the House and Senate have met outside of the Capitol building in more than a century. After weeks of preparations, two House committee rooms in the State Office Building became makeshift legislative chambers as the Capitol building is closed to everyone but construction workers as part of a multi-year $300 million renovation.
ST. PAUL -- Legislation funding agriculture and environmental programs may be in danger during a Friday special legislative session being called to finish writing the Minnesota state budget. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, late Thursday said he did not know if there will be enough votes to pass the measure funding a wide variety of programs ranging from state parks to helping farmers whose flocks were infected with avian flu.
ST. PAUL -- Here is a look at what Minnesota legislators are expected to consider during a special session to finish passing a two-year, $42 billion state budget: Education About $17 billion will be spent for early childhood-through-high school education. While Gov. Mark Dayton did not get his universal 4-year-old education plan enacted, the Legislature plans to provide more money for early childhood education.
ST. PAUL -- The owner of Minnesota's nuclear power plants has no plans to build a new one, but wants flexibility to do it if needed. A state law bans nuclear plant construction. It is time to give Minnesota utilities the ability to consider a new nuclear plant, said Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, sponsor of a bill to overturn Minnesota's nuclear power plant moratorium. "We appreciate the solid base of energy it provides," she said about nuclear power. Nuclear plants near Red Wing and Monticello provide a significant amount of Minnesota's electrical power.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton wants Minnesota to collect and spend more than $40 billion from state taxpayers in the next two years, without a general tax increase. As always for Dayton, key in his budget proposal he was releasing today is increasing education funding, this year with a focus on expanding early-childhood programs.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton wants Minnesota to spend about $11 billion more in the next decade to improve the state's roads and bridges and boost transit.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans need to act as one, not allowing long-standing divisions come in the way of progress, Gov. Mark Dayton said this afternoon in his second and final inaugural address. "Someone always believes that someone else is getting a better deal," Dayton told about 400 in St. Paul's Landmark Center. "Those rivalries are not going to disappear. However, they cannot be permitted to blind us to the larger truth that we are all one Minnesota."
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota officials today announced two companies that will grow marijuana and process it into medicine. Production facilities will be in Cottage Grove and Otsego, the state Health Department said, with distribution facilities elsewhere in Minnesota. A law passed earlier this year allows patients to begin receiving medical cannabis, the official name of medical marijuana, for specific conditions in liquid, pill or vapor. Using the plant itself, including smoking, remains illegal.
ST. PAUL -- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had not yet announced his resignation today before U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar's name came up as a possible replacement. The Minnesota Democrat was expected to face questions about the prospect this afternoon at an unrelated news conference. President Barack Obama was expected at 3:30 p.m. Central time to announce that Holder is leaving.