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 -- State subsidies paid to Minnesota's home-based child care providers could not be used to pay union dues under a bill the Republican-controlled Legislature Monday sent to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. Senators passed the bill 37-25, following a similar House action a few weeks ago. "Our bill simply protects money that was meant for our kids," Sen. Ted Lillie, R-Lake Elmo, said. The bill is in reaction to a Dayton executive order that would have allowed unions to organize owners of in-home day care centers that receive state subsidies.
ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota House committee voted 9-6 Monday night against a bill to build a Minnesota Vikings stadium. While a bill always can be resurrected, the vote makes it very difficult to approve a new stadium in the final days of the 2012 legislative session. Legislative leaders want the session to end by April 30, and now the bill has lost in a House panel and is stalled in a Senate committee. Moments before the vote, Bill author Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Time is running out to kick the Minnesota fishing opener up a week. Opinions about the issue are changing quickly, Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said today after his environment and natural resources committee heard testimony that produced no strong support for the earlier openers. "I was very open to this thing three weeks ago," he said about when Sen.
ST. PAUL -- The end of the 2012 Minnesota Legislature approaches amid strong partisan disagreements. House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, called a recent letter from Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Most issues in the Minnesota Legislature remain unresolved, with lawmakers facing the end of the 2012 session. So far, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has signed 41 bills, mostly making minor changes to state law, sent to him by the Republican-controlled Legislature. He vetoed 11 this year thus far, compared to 23 all of last year. By comparison, GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty's top veto year was 2008, when he rejected 32 of the Democratic Legislature's bills. There have been 2,998 bills introduced in the House during 2011 and this year with 1,237 new bills this year alone.
ST. PAUL -- Prosecutors are happy to now have the same rights of other Minnesotans to carry guns. "Whether they need it or not, it is their right," said Rice County Attorney Paul Baumaster, president of the Minnesota County Attorneys' Association. However, before Gov. Mark Dayton signed a new law earlier this week, state law banned county attorneys and other public workers from carrying guns. The new law, crafted by Rep. Tony Cornish of Good Thunder and Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans expect temperatures in the 70s, maybe reaching the 80s in places, when April debuts Sunday, but the continued warm weather worries anglers. The record-breaking 2012 warmth is hurting their sport and businesses that support it after a series of warmer-than-normal winters.
ST. PAUL -- Senators voted 41-24 to keep hunting and fishing license sales going if state government shuts down like last summer. "I saw firsthand how people were hurt by not allowing them to buy a fishing license," Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Brainerd, said Tuesday about why he brought the bill. The state lost $3 million in revenue during the 2011 shutdown, Gazelka said, but "the tourism industry lost far, far, far more than that." Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said some people plan hunting and fishing trips more than a half-year in advance.
ST. PAUL -- Conservative and liberal Minnesota legislators are combining efforts to stop a business practice they say invades job applicants' privacy. National reports in recent days have told of employers, both private and public, demanding passwords for social Internet sites potential employees use. The employers then have access to personal information of the job applicant. "We want to protect the privacy of those job seekers," Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, said about her bill. "It's a huge invasion of privacy," added Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators on Monday joined representatives in voting to take money from state budget reserves to catch up on back pay owed school districts. In a bill they passed 35-29, senators also opted to reduce most state programs' funding 1 percent to help pay schools. The state owes schools more than $2 billion after lawmakers and governors the past few years decided to slow payments to school districts as a way to help the state's budget situation. Democratic Gov.