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 state representatives could face a decision later this legislative session about whether to approve marijuana for medical use, even though a medical marijuana bill is stalled. Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, plans to offer an amendment that would allow medical marijuana. He wants it placed on an overall health bill.
ST. PAUL -- Legislative leaders agreed to raise the Minnesota minimum wage to $9.50 an hour in 2016, with lower wages for small businesses, those undergoing training, teens and some foreign workers.
ST. PAUL -- Much of the money in the Minnesota House's plan to tweak the state's two-year budget would go to greater Minnesota. "We focused on rural Minnesota and greater Minnesota," House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, D-St. Paul, said, because many rural parts of the state have not recovered from the recession as well as the Twin Cities. The House passed the bill 70-59 late Thursday to add $322 million to the $39 billion, two-year state budget enacted last year.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota officials say they are ready to accept tax returns again and software companies have updated their products to take into account newly approved state tax breaks. Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans and Gov. Mark Dayton this morning said work is completed after lawmakers late last month provided tax breaks that will give thousands of Minnesotans lower income tax bills.
ST. PAUL -- A nearly $1 billion proposal to fund state construction projects, ranging from trails to transit, launched Tuesday with its author calling it "inadequate" and a Republican who usually supports public works projects saying he could not vote for it.
ST. PAUL -- Fixing ice-cold roads and preventing red-hot railcars are Minnesota lawmakers' transportation priorities.
ST. PAUL -- Parents of suffering children used an emotional Wednesday news conference to blame Gov. Mark Dayton for killing a bill that they would allow them to use marijuana to ease children's seizures. A Woodbury parent said the governor should "put special needs ahead of special interests."
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota revenue officials will not be ready to pay Minnesotans for newly enacted tax breaks until April 3. Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans today advised Minnesotans who may qualify for one of 10 new individual income tax breaks not to file income tax returns until then. He said that is when tax preparers, software companies and his Revenue Department should be ready.
ST. PAUL -- Tax cuts may come to those who wait. Democrats who control the Minnesota Legislature were fired up and ready to cut taxes Thursday, but Senate Republicans refused to allow a $432 million tax-cut bill come up for a vote, saying they and the public had not had time to read it. "I think as a senator, I have the right to read the bill," said Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, saying he first saw the bill an hour earlier when the 62-page bill still was hot off the copy machine.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota students would be guaranteed school lunches if senators agree with a House vote. By 130-0, representatives Thursday approved pumping $3.5 million into the school lunch program. The action came after a February report showed some school districts refused to provide food for students who forgot their lunch money or could not afford to pay. Some reports indicated meals students already had picked up were thrown in the trash.