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
- 5 years 2 months
ST. PAUL - Provisions restricting young drivers moved closer to law Monday. Senators Monday gave preliminary approval to a bill - similar to one the House passed last week -- banning drivers in their first six months of holding a license from driving between midnight and 5 a.m., in most cases, and made it illegal to carry more than one other youth not related to the driver. "Between midnight and 5 a.m., folks, is when teenage drivers die on the roads," Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators gave final approval to studying a rare cancer found on the Iron Range when the House voted 121-1 in favor of a $4.9 million expenditure. Mesothelioma is believed to have resulted in 58 northeastern Minnesota deaths, but scientists are not sure about the cause. "This study is a commitment to those that work in the mines on the Iron Range and for all workers across the state -- if something where you work is making you sick, we are going to get to the bottom of it," said bill sponsor Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia.
Young Minnesota drivers should face limits on their driving, representatives decided Thursday. The overall transportation bill that contains the provision passed 82-44. For the first six months a youth has a driver's license, only one passenger 20 years old or younger, unrelated to the driver, can be in the vehicle. Also during that first sixth months, the young person only may drive between midnight and 5 a.m. to and from work and school. "No double dating for sophomores under this bill," Rep.
A second state veterans' cemetery could be built and a new veterans' home governing arrangement were approved Thursday by House members. Veterans' provisions were folded into an agriculture bill, but was barely discussed before the full bill passed. The new veterans' cemetery, proposed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, would be started by the federal government, but the state would fund its staff. Pawlenty removed veterans' home governance from a board earlier, handing it off to the state Veterans' Affairs Department, after problems surfaced at a Minneapolis facility.
Homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments could receive help from the Minnesota Finance Agency under a bill senators preliminarily passed Thursday. The bill could be on the governor's desk next week. "Minnesota, like the rest of the country, is facing a mortgage foreclosure crisis of proportions not seen since the Depression," Sen. Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis, said. "The problem is spreading throughout the state, from the Twin Cities, through the suburbs and into greater Minnesota," she added.
To help balance the state budget, Gov.
ST. PAUL - Some Minnesota homeowners will get a property tax break funded by other homeowners if state House Democrats get their way. And local governments would get a $53 million boost at the expense of multi-national corporations. "More will benefit than pay in," Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, said Monday as he announced the proposal. All homeowners who pay more than 2 percent of their income in property taxes would benefit, said Marquart, House property taxes chairman.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Monday budget-balancing offer did not go as far as Democrats who control the Legislature wanted. "We were hoping for a fast polka," House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, said. "But we are having a slow waltz." Pawlenty suggested cutting in half the amount of money he would take from the Health Care Access Fund to balance the budget -- $125 million.
ST. PAUL - A federal highway administrator honored for his work following the Minneapolis bridge collapse becomes Minnesota's new transportation commissioner next week. Tom Sorel brings "an established record of transportation leadership," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Monday in announcing Sorel's appointment. Sorel has spent three years as head of the Minnesota Federal Highway Administration office and won a federal honor for his division's response to the Aug.
ST. PAUL - Legislative leaders pledge to do what they can to protect rural Minnesota air service as Northwest Airlines becomes part of the world's largest air company. Gov. Tim Pawlenty, however, said there is little the state can do to mold the new Delta Air Lines, which will swallow Northwest if federal authorities approve.