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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Minnesota state legislators are taking a break from legislating for an Easter-Passover recess. The 201 lawmakers have finished a dozen weeks of their year's work, with six remaining when they return to St. Paul on April 7. With the break, it seems like a good opportunity to answer some questions about the time legislators have remaining to complete their work for the year. With just six weeks left in the legislative session, is there much left to be done? Oh, yes. Lots.
The Minnesota House soon may be homeless. The Senate likewise. The state Capitol's multi-year renovation project is putting the crimp on many state officials and others who surround them. Two-thirds of the Capitol is closed, with all but tunnels through the basement due to close soon after the Legislature adjourns for the year on May 18. In early June, if all goes well, Democratic senators and their staff members who have Capitol offices will be relocated down the street to a downtown St. Paul building, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, said.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton proposed hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending for education and families last week, leaving some senior citizens' advocates disappointed with what they said is a too-small increase. The governor's $866 million proposed budget increase would freeze tuition at state colleges and universities, start a new universal state-funded prekindergarten program and give more than $160 million to lower-income families.
ST. PAUL -- The 2,790 Wadena County residents who live near railroad tracks carrying North Dakota crude oil should be prepared for a train accident, a state emergency management official says. "If you live by the train, people need to take some personal awareness of what's around them," Kevin Reed of the Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management department said.
KLN Family Brands in Perham has more than 100 job openings, but the western Minnesota community has no homes for people the company hires. Similar stories came from far-flung parts of Minnesota, such as Willmar, Roseau, Cook County and Red Wing, before a state Senate committee on Monday approved a series of bills designed to help pave the way for homes to be built, as well as for would-be workers to receive adequate training. "In rural Minnesota, we have an absolute crisis in terms of our workforce," said Steve Renquist of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commis
ST. PAUL -- One of the largest budget surpluses in Minnesota history quickly turned into a big-time, and familiar, dispute about what to do with it: spend it or turn a large part of it into tax cuts. Gov. Mark Dayton and fellow Democratic legislators want to use the $1.9 billion projected surplus announced Friday to bolster education and transportation programs. The governor said he also would like to add money to nursing homes. Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt, meanwhile, emphasized enacting tax breaks, which could top $900 million.
ST. PAUL -- The state House passed the first step of a child abuse prevention effort that began when a west-central Minnesota boy died after 15 reports that he was being mistreated. On a 130-0 Monday vote, the House approved legislation that would put into law the provision that a child's health and safety are paramount concerns when making child protection decisions.
ST. PAUL -- Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken is no laughing matter to Minnesota Republicans as major news networks projected him to win his re-election contest Tuesday night less than...
ST. PAUL -- Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton hoped for one final victory Tuesday to cap his nearly 40-year career as a public servant, and some media projected that would happen...
ST. PAUL -- Minneapolis is in the final eight and hopes to snare the Final Four with the help of two national champions. It's no slam dunk, but state leaders...