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 - Those behind a nationally recognized program helping smooth soldiers' return from combat on Wednesday earned honors from the state. "None of it happens without a team of hundreds or even thousands," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said before pinning awards on 22 civilians and military personnel. Minnesota's "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" campaign has become "the national standard for troops returning from war," Gen. Joe Kelly said during a Wednesday ceremony. Major John Morris of Afton, the Minnesota National Guard's No.
ST. PAUL - A Minneapolis-based law firm will lead what is described as a Watergate-like investigation into the Minnesota Department of Transportation. "We need people who are highly skilled in the art of extracting information," Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, told the Senate Rules Committee Wednesday before it voted along party lines to approve the request. The committee gave $250,000 to the probe, which will be added to a like amount from the House. The $500,000 will go to Gray Plant Mooty law firm, which once employed Democratic Sen.
A Minnesota Senate committee will have the specific task of looking into immigration issues. Sen. Ann Rest's State and Local Government Operations and Oversight Committee will take on those responsibilities, which previously did not fall under any committee chairman's jurisdiction. "Policies that concern the daily lives of immigrants to Minnesota seem to be an appropriate addition to the committee's jurisdiction," said Rest, a New Hope Democrat. "Overall reform of U. S.
ST. PAUL - The Pawlenty administration is looking to involve Minnesotans in a decision about how a proposed, and increasingly controversial, new state park would look. The Department of Natural Resources and an advisory committee are seeking public input into a new park along Lake Vermilion in northeastern Minnesota. They say they want to hear what kinds of amenities people would like to see in the park. Information about the proposal and a link to send comments are at www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/lake_vermilion . Gov.
ST. PAUL - Politics and government may not be as foreign to Minnesota high school students as some adults think. That is especially true for students such as those from Cannon Falls High School who competed in a statewide contest testing their knowledge about the U.S. Constitution and the law. For instance, seven Cannon Falls students - competing in the state Capitol as part of a larger school team - answered questions about how to use modern technology in a democracy.
ST. PAUL -- Five rural communities - Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Thief River Falls, New Ulm and Winona - will help kick off Minnesota's 150th birthday party next May. The Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission named each a "capital for a day" during Wednesday Capitol ceremonies. The communities represent different geographic regions of the state and were selected by a statewide Internet vote of 10,000 Minnesotans. Gov.
ST. PAUL - Economists predict the worst of Minnesota's economy is yet to come, but Democrats and Republicans have different ideas about how to deal with what is expected to be a rough six to nine months. Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty would deal with a projected $373 million state budget deficit caused by the economic slowdown by trimming taxes, making more money available for Minnesotans to spend. Democratic leaders would gather in a special legislative session and approve millions of dollars in public works projects to create jobs.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's top senator wants to tie Gov. Tim Pawlenty to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, a pair of politicians not exactly at the height of popularity. Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, last week criticized Republican Pawlenty for his refusal to call a special legislative session to create jobs. "He is a creature of Bush and Cheney thinking," Pogemiller said. "They must have seen a kindred spirit." Pogemiller referred to the episode before Pawlenty ran for governor, when he planned to run for U.S. Senate.
ST. PAUL - Mayors, unemployed union members, transportation advocates and Democratic leaders all want a special legislative session to infuse money into a slumping Minnesota economy, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty says "no." Supporters of a special session say vetoed bills, especially one designed to reform property taxes, would provide money for thousands of construction jobs and increase state aid to local governments. The latest push for the session came Wednesday, a day after the state announced a 6,600 job loss last month, the latest of a series of bad economic reports.