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
A plan to make ice hockey Minnesota's official state sport was tucked into an education budget bill that went before the Senate Finance Committee Friday. If put into law, ice hockey would join state symbols such as the blueberry muffin and Honeycrisp apple. Education budget Chairman LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer, said the issue ended up in Senate education committees because the idea came from students. It also was included in an education policy bill. "It's government by action of children in school," Stumpf joked.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's Vietnam War veterans returned to a cold shoulder, but state leaders say that now will change. "The fact that the country did not welcome them home is shameful," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Thursday afternoon before signing into law a bill setting aside March 29 as Vietnam Veterans' Day. Bill authors Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, and Sen.
ST. PAUL - A bill written by the House tax leader eliminating all state aid to business includes killing rural Minnesota's Job Opportunity Building Zones program. Although Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, said Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty's pet JOBZ project is a small part of a bill that would raise $280 million, the proposal drew the strongest response to her surprise Wednesday proposal. "The bottom line is that the program has helped rural Minnesota," Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth said.
ST. PAUL - Minnesotans could sue insurance companies that don't pay claims under a bill senators preliminarily approved Tuesday. The measure -- called the "good faith" bill by supporters because it requires insurance companies to act in good faith when dealing with claims - "makes that consumer whole, that they do get what they pay for," bill sponsor Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, said. Final Senate approval is expected today. The House is considering a similar bill. Sen.
ST. PAUL - Finding justice will be tougher for Minnesotans if proposed budget cuts materialize, court officials from across the state tell legislators. "We are rapidly approaching a crisis in our court administration offices that will have a detrimental effect on the people who serve and those who rely upon our work," Chief Judge Gary Schurrer of the 10th Judicial District wrote to lawmakers. Minnesota court officials for years have said they need more money to keep up with a growing caseload - 2 million cases are filed each year.
ST. PAUL - Cutting public works spending to a level Gov. Tim Pawlenty can accept could doom all such spending, the issue's key senator said. "If the governor gets his way, I don't know if we have the votes" to pass the bill, Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, said Thursday. Langseth's comment followed a Senate Finance Committee vote that changed a funding bill the full Senate earlier overwhelmingly approved.
ST. PAUL - Repercussions continue five years after Dru Sjodin was kidnapped and killed by a sex offender released from prison months earlier. The 2008 Minnesota Legislature still is tweaking sex offender-related laws, like it has since 2003. Bills advancing this year include those to reduce counties' costs, help track sex offenders after they get out of prison and add to what constitutes a sex crime. The most controversial may be a proposal by Rep.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's bonding bill has three personalities - the public discussion about what public works projects will be funded, the insider talk about how many jobs it may create and the ultra-insider debate over how much interest the state can afford to repay on money borrowed for the projects. It is the third one that will determine more than anything else how many projects the state can fund. Public works projects range from fixing college buildings to expanding trails to studying passenger rail lines.