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
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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 - 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.
ST. PAUL - Talk about Gov. Tim Pawlenty being John McCain's running mate is escalating in light of Mitt Romney's campaign suspension.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's political pundits like to speculate on Gov. Tim Pawlenty becoming Sen. John McCain's vice presidential running mate. To Sen. Steve Murphy, Pawlenty going to Washington would be a disaster. It is not because he likes Pawlenty so much; it is because Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau would then be governor. Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, said that is a frightening possibility. He is very critical of what he calls Molnau's incompetence running the Department of Transportation.
ST. PAUL - A blossoming new mining industry in northern Minnesota faces a conflict that earlier versions of the industry still fight - preserving the environment vs.
The Minnesota state auditor, charged with overseeing local governments' finances, is making some changes. Auditor Rebecca Otto, a Democrat, unveiled a new Web site, www.auditor.state.mn.us to make it easier for Minnesotans to find reports about local governments. Also, Otto has launched a program to find the best methods local governments have found to save energy costs. "This topic is timely given rising energy costs and growing public awareness around energy conservation," Otto said.