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 -- Minnesota Republicans gather in St. Cloud Friday morning, with the official main event picking a candidate to face Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. But the main undercurrent may be how Ron Paul supporters do at the Friday and Saturday state convention. How strong presidential candidate Paul is among delegates likely will affect the Senate race. Estimates of the number of Minnesota Paul delegates range from a third to nearly a half of the 2,000-some Republicans at the River's Edge Convention Center. "Ron Paul is a big factor in this race," Minnesota U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Rep. Morrie Lanning summed up a stadium bill signing in three words: "We did it." That pretty much was the attitude of a couple hundred cheering Minnesotans, many wearing Vikings' purple, in the Capitol rotunda today as Gov.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Vikings are close to a new stadium after the House early today approved a construction plan 71-60. Representatives debated the stadium bill an hour and 50 minutes after day-long negotiations produced a compromise bill after the House and Senate passed differing versions. Soon after passing the stadium bill, the House adjourned for the year before 4 a.m. today. Senators expect to take up the bill later today before adjourning until 2013. If they pass it, Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign the bill.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House this afternoon passed a public works finance bill 99-32 that would spend nearly a half billion dollars on a wide range of projects, ranging from beginning a several-year Capitol building renovation project to fixing college buildings. Senators could take up the measure later today. In general, Democrats wanted to spend more money while Republicans preferred less. Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Purple electricity began filling the Minnesota Capitol this morning, hours before the state House is to begin debate on building a new Vikings stadium. "Build it now" chants filled the rotunda as Gov. Mark Dayton rallied Vikings fans and union workers this morning, and moments later representatives heard the chants as they gathered for the historic session. Debate on a $975 million stadium was not expected to begin until mid-afternoon or later, but Minnesotans clad in purple Vikings garb or hard hats began building a crowd when the Capitol doors opened for the day.
ST. PAUL -- Legislators are looking at ways to change the Vikings stadium proposal, including discussions about an open-air stadium and the possibility of repaying construction loans with general tax money. The plan that awaits House and Senate votes calls for a roofed stadium that would not be funded with general tax money. Many legislators have pledged not to vote for a stadium that uses general fund dollars. Chief stadium bill author Rep.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Legislature was supposed to adjourn today, but an hour-and-a-half high-level meeting broke up at mid-afternoon with only an agreement to talk again. The same three major issues remain unresolved that have had that status for days: tax relief, public works projects and a Vikings stadium. The lack of progress indicated the Legislature will go beyond today's self-imposed adjournment deadline. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton came out of his office after meeting with legislative leaders to say they discussed a tax-relief bill and he expected further talks later today.
ST. PAUL -- The Vikings stadium saga illustrates tricks legislators use to turn their dreams into state law. The stadium construction plan needed to go through many committees, each examining part of the plan. Tax committees, for instance, were charged with looking at how the proposal dealt with a plan to change how charitable gambling is taxed. Local government committees needed to look at how the plan affected local governments. Each committee posed a challenge, and one House committee actually defeated the plan.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's hunting and fishing license fees would increase and wolves could be hunted and trapped under a compromise that state House and Senate negotiators have worked out. However, the much-discussed provision to start the fishing season a week early this year did not make the cut. The House and Senate are to take up the compromise legislation before the Legislature's self-imposed Monday adjournment deadline. The provisions are in two bills negotiators worked out late Thursday. While Sen.