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 - The Minnesota Senate and House needed little time to approve a $4.3 billion transportation funding compromise. The Monday votes keep transportation just below current spending, and do not cut State Patrol operations. The House approved the measure 103-30; senators followed with a 63-4 tally House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, said he expects Gov. Tim Pawlenty to sign the measure. "This transportation bill squarely addresses the difficult economic times we are facing in Minnesota," said Rep. Bernie Lieder, DFL-Crookston, House transportation finance chairman.
ST. PAUL - An attempt to lift a nuclear power plant construction moratorium fizzled Thursday in the Minnesota House. On a 72-60 vote, representatives voted to keep the 15-year-old moratorium in place. Earlier this year, senators opted to end the moratorium, so the subject remains alive at the Capitol. "Our future lies with renewable resources," Rep. Bill Hilty, DFL-Finlayson, said. "Renewable energy is a resource that we have in this state." But Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota would allow mini-trucks to travel on some county roads, but prohibit drinking in state rest areas under a catch-all transportation bill representatives passed 115-17 Tuesday. Transportation issues not requiring money were folded into the measure, including a proposal by Rep. Brita Sailer, DFL-Park Rapids, to allow farmers and others to drive small trucks on roads in counties that approve. Only county roads could be used. "I'm a little disappointed we are not going far enough with this," Rep.
ST. PAUL - If Tuesday paints a picture of how the 2009 legislative session will end, it won't be pretty. An exchange between legislative leaders and a key Pawlenty administration official Tuesday morning was as tense of an exchange as seen in the Capitol this year.
ST. PAUL - Negotiators assigned the task of funding public works projects across Minnesota have a common problem - money. The House and Senate don't agree on how much to spend, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty says both want to spend too much.
ST. PAUL - Transit programs would receive less money under a House-passed bill, part of an effort to balance the state budget. Still, the House transportation finance chairman said, "it is going to keep rural and metro transit operating." The House passed the bill by Rep. Bernie Lieder, DFL-Crookston, 86-45 after about two hours of Saturday debate. The measure chops $8.4 million from transit funding, both for the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota, for the next two years.
ST. PAUL - What to do about taxes is the most controversial of many controversial money issues in the Minnesota Legislature and now the House and Senate have passed different plans. The House barely passed its measure Saturday night, a day after senators adopted their version on another close vote. Negotiations begin soon on a compromise bill, but the governor says he doesn't like many of the provisions in either plan. Among the hottest issues is how tax proposals affect businesses.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House would give veterans programs more money, but delay or eliminate some agriculture spending. But for some representatives, neither got enough money in a Wednesday 83-49 mostly party-line vote, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. "We are willing to fund dog parks and trails and hockey arenas," Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, said. "Where is our priority?" Rep.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota representatives told state-run colleges and universities to hold tuition increases to a minimum the next two years. A bill House members passed 86-46 Wednesday keeps Minnesota State Colleges and University system tuition increases to no more than 2 percent a year for the next two years. University of Minnesota tuition is capped at 3 percent annually.
ST. PAUL - Brandon Swanson disappeared May 14, but his presence was felt Monday in the Minnesota Capitol. The House voted 134-0 for a bill named after Swanson. It was written to speed up searches for missing young adults. "It will mean big changes for anguished family members," said Rep.