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 - Ask Minnesota Education Commissioner Alice Seagren about how students will benefit from the new Minnesota Mathematics and Science Teacher Academy and she will give you a simple answer: "We are hoping that all kids will love math much more than they do now." Teachers from across Minnesota gathered Wednesday to organize the academy, an effort to make math and science teaching more relevant - and as Seagren says, more exciting - to students. Teacher training centers will be in Thief River Falls, Mountain Iron, Fergus Falls, Staples, Marshall, St.
ST. PAUL - State Sen. Tom Bakk has become the second Democrat to file paperwork establishing a governor campaign committee for the 2010 election. However, he said in a Wednesday interview, the committee is only to allow him to investigate a candidacy.
ST. PAUL - The corn industry is trying to counter those who blame ethanol for pumping up consumer prices. Corn growers say they are responsible for gasoline prices staying lower than they would have otherwise. "A dark oily cloud hangs over motorists' travel plans this Memorial Day weekend as the cost of oil and gasoline hit record highs," reads a Minnesota Corn Growers Association news release distributed Friday.
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has launched his "Vote in Honor of a Veteran" program. The initiative is meant to increase voter participation this fall and recognize military veterans. Participants can seek a button from Ritchie's office and write on the button the name of a veteran they want to honor. They are being encouraged to wear the buttons in advance of the fall election and when they go to vote Nov.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty use terms like "significant" when talking about property tax changes enacted in the recently adjourned legislative session. Sen. Tom Bakk of Cook, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Taxes Committee, said that of all legislation in 2008, he is most proud of the property tax changes. But the politicians usually don't finish the story. Rep.
ST. PAUL - It was a week before they must go home for a year, but with no deal to balance the budget Minnesota legislators Monday debated health-care reform, a constitutional amendment and whether to allow dogs on cafe patios. On-and-off high-level discussions behind the scenes continued Monday as the clock ticked toward the mandatory adjournment date. But an overall agreement on the major open issue - how to fill a $935 million budget deficit - eluded Gov.
ST. PAUL - Torrey Westrom lost his eyesight, but survived a traffic accident when he was 16 and not wearing a seat belt. Marty Seifert always buckles up, and credits that to saving his life when he was 19 and his car rammed another vehicle that ran a stop sign. Despite their differing experiences, the two conservative Republican state representatives drew the same conclusion on a provision to allow law enforcement officers to stop vehicles with occupants not wearing belts.
ST. PAUL - In a sign that state budget negotiations are not going well, Gov. Tim Pawlenty is looking at ways to fix a budget deficit if he and legislative leaders cannot reach an agreement by the Legislature's May 19 adjournment date. On Thursday, for the first time in public, the Republican governor said he is considering options in case negotiations fail. H e told reporters that he is looking at how he could cut state programs if no deal is reached.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota Rep. Bud Heidgerken thinks legislative education negotiators had an ulterior motive to make hockey the state sport. "This looks like a political puck to get the governor's support," the Freeport Republican said of Gov.
ST. PAUL - Pawlenty administration officials and legislators paved over a pothole that prevented agreement on highway safety issues Wednesday, but a transportation bill containing those issues faces a likely rough road today when representatives debate a strict seatbelt provision. A House-Senate conference committee retrieved a bill it earlier had approved so it could remove a provision that troubled Gov. Tim Pawlenty - a requirement that all children motor vehicle passengers up to age 8 use child restraint systems.