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 8 months
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Legislature's first week brought a much-acclaimed funding measure for arts and outdoors programs. On Week 2, a transportation funding bill passed. The session's upcoming third week, however, no doubt will be a downer as some predict that a state budget deficit could top $1 billion. A November outlook put the deficit at $373 million, but legislative leaders now expect something more than twice that. House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, said on Friday that her intelligence is that Gov.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota and North Dakota senators promise they will fight to hold airline executives to a promise that small communities' air service will fare well if a merger produces the world's largest airline. "Show us that this will happen," U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said she will demand from chief executive officers of Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines after they said service away from Northwest's Minneapolis-St. Paul hub would benefit from any merger. Klobuchar and Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., talked about a possible merger Wednesday after a joint St.
ST. PAUL - The road to more transportation funding may be southwest Minnesota's Highway 60. A small provision tucked into a big highway and transit funding package would benefit that rural stretch of highway - and it could sway at least one vote when the Minnesota House and Senate take up the $7.7 billion package today. "It is part of discussion I have been having with the (transportation committee) chair and the speaker and others in order to get the No. 1 priority in our district," Rep.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty implemented a hiring freeze Tuesday amid expectations that the state budget deficit will grow. "Considering the current economic slowdown, it is important that state government take steps to reign in costs, utilize technology and improve productivity just as private businesses, non-profits and families are doing," Pawlenty wrote to his commissioners and state board executive directors. In late November, a state report predicted a $373 million deficit during the current two-year budget.
ST. PAUL - Kristen Farrell is an educated, young Minnesotan who estimates she spent 15 hours fighting with Sprint mobile telephone representatives. At one point, she said, she was transferred from one customer service representative to another until she had gone through what she estimated to be 15 of them.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota legislators have taken their first look at what would be the Great Lakes toughest law in regulating when and how ships could dump ballast water into Lake Superior. Members of the House Game, Fish and Forestry Division, as well as Minnesota Pollution Control Agency officials, found plenty of places they would like to tweak the proposal, but there appeared to be agreement the concept to prevent invasive species and diseases was acceptable. No vote was taken Monday night. The bill by Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota policymakers say they are united in a fight to keep jobs if Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines merge, and they also promise to keep air service around the state a priority. Most talk centers on saving the 1,000-employee Northwest headquarters in suburban Eagan and preserve the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport as a major hub, but Gov.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is a keynote speaker for an upcoming national energy conference. The Power Gen conference is Tuesday through Saturday in Las Vegas, bringing together people involved in the renewable energy industry. Pawlenty shares top building with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Conference sponsors note that Pawlenty worked to double the state's ethanol usage and to improve use of other renewable fuels.
MINNEAPOLIS - Federal checks meant to stimulate the economy will help, but Minnesota's state economist said Wednesday a fiscal slowdown will continue. The checks may help the state move out of a half-year recession, Tom Stinson said, but once Minnesotans spend them the economy likely will slip again. "We think the economy will bottom out in the fall of this year, then start a gradual growth," Stinson predicted. Stinson appeared before the Twin Cities Agricultural Issues Round Table, saying Minnesotans are feeling the recession most in loss of jobs.
ST. PAUL - Not much has changed in the nearly nine months since Minnesota lawmakers wrapped up their 2007 legislative session. One of the issues at the forefront of the 2008 session, which begins at noon today, is a prime example. Democrats plan to unveil a transportation funding plan that includes a higher gasoline tax and a Twin Cities-area sales tax increase. Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty twice vetoed transportation funding bills similar to the one Democrats plan to introduce today.