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
- 5 years 5 months
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.
ST. PAUL - Forget calling it the bonding bill or public works funding bill; Democrats now like to call a measure they passed Thursday a jobs bill. Some say the bill could create 10,000 jobs across Minnesota. But what it would do - if it survives in somewhat the same form as the House and Senate passed this week - would be to repair and renovate college buildings, construct local arenas and convention centers, fund additions to trails and approve many other public works projects. The House passed the bill 99-34 Thursday afternoon, following four hours of debate.
ST. PAUL - The march toward confrontation continued Tuesday when senators overwhelmingly passed a public works funding bill $140 million richer than Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants. Sen.
ST. PAUL - Minnesotans can expect state government budget cuts like they have not seen for five years, thanks to a tanking national economy. Classrooms apparently will be exempt from the reductions, but it will be weeks before legislators decide how to plug a $935 million budget gap. The deficit Finance Department officials announced Thursday is "series, but solvable," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. Some money to fill the budget gap will come from reserves set aside at the end of last year's legislative session, Pawlenty and legislative leaders said.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty have a nearly $1 billion hole to fill in the state budget. That is the figure the state Finance Department announced this morning after a consultant updated the state's economic picture, which shows fewer tax dollars going into the treasury. Individual and corporate income taxes have fallen in recent months, which made the deficit bigger than when the November report showed a $373 million gap. The deficit is for a two-year, $34 billion budget.
ST. PAUL - Rural Minnesota provides the state with its only good news in an otherwise dismal economy. High grain prices, especially, provide farmers more money to spend than they have seen in years.