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 -- A moderate Minnesota Republican known for his work on health care legislation plans a U.S. Senate campaign. State Rep. Jim Abeler of Anoka Tuesday announced his intention to challenge Democratic Sen. Al Franken. "Minnesota needs a senator from Minnesota who has invested his life in the fabric of the people who make our state great," Abeler said. "That senator must strongly protect our personal privacy and liberty, unlock the stifling stranglehold the federal government holds on Minnesota and recapture the flexibility we need to run our own state.
ST. PAUL -- Eight is enough. That is the message Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann delivered early today when she announced she will leave the U.S. House after eight years. In a video message, she gave no hint about her future, but said she could have won re-election if she wanted to run. The 57-year-old congresswoman who serves the area north and northwest of the Twin Cities surprised the Minnesota political community by posting a video announcing her decision.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed two provisions of a bill funding outdoors and arts projects, saying a House committee ignored a citizen advisory panel. The vetoes eliminated $3 million to fight aquatic invasive species that was destined for tribal and local governments and $6.3 million to improve Twin Cities parks. "This decision is extremely difficult for me," Dayton wrote to legislative leaders, because he supports the causes but had said he would veto projects the advisory committee did not recommend. Dayton blamed a House panel led by Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota voters will decide in 2016 whether decisions about how much legislators are paid should be handed to an independent group. The House and Senate passed the proposed constitutional amendment in the closing days of the 2013 session. Gov. Mark Dayton has no say in the issue; it goes directly to voters. "There is a glaring conflict of interest," Sen. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley, said about the current system in which lawmakers set their own pay. Under the constitutional amendment he and Rep.
ST. PAUL -- The keystone of Minnesota Democrats' budget plans, $2 billion in tax increases, was headed for final legislative passage late Sunday while a public works bill remained in doubt as time runs out in the 2013 legislative session. The tax increases are for plugging a $627 million state budget deficit and giving more money to Democratic priorities such as education. Provisions include raising income taxes on Minnesota couples with $250,000 or more taxable income and individuals making at least $150,000.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House, Senate and governor's office agreed to a tax plan Thursday night, four months after the Legislature started and four days before lawmakers must wrap up work for the year. The tax plan is a merger of what the Democratic-controlled House and Senate and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton wanted.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota political leaders have spent months preparing state budget plans, and eight days before the Legislature must adjourn for the year they announced they have reached agreement on some tax and spend guidelines. Included in the budget framework is that the state would not raise sales taxes on consumer goods, such as clothing, but probably would add taxes businesses pay on sales to other businesses.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is a Senate vote and a governor's signature away from becoming the 12th state to allow gay marriage. Same-sex marriage supporters are optimistic because the House was regarded as the biggest hurdle. After the bill passed the House surprisingly easily 75-59, they were euphoric. The Senate is due to take up the bill Monday and Democratic Gov.