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 future of Minnesota's largest-ever industrial development is in the hands of three state Appeals Court judges. Environmental groups want the judges to order state Department of Natural Resources officials to take a closer look at how Essar Steel Minnesota's planned $1.65 billion taconite mine and steel plant would affect global warming. The project near Nashwauk, on northeast Minnesota's Iron Range, is due to begin producing steel slabs by 2014. It will employ 500 people and state officials have compared its economic impact to Bloomington's Mall of America.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota election experts say the state's election law is among the best in the county, but the protracted U.S. Senate race proves it can be improved. The state needs to instill more confidence and stability into the absentee ballot process, Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, told a University of Minnesota forum Friday. "It is highly irregular and inappropriate" to allow candidates' campaigns to reject specific absentee ballots, as current state law allows, Rest said.
ST. PAUL - Numerous reports out of Washington indicate that U.S. Rep.
ST. PAUL - A new study shows what rural Minnesotans already knew: Gasoline takes a bigger bite out of their budgets than their city cousins. Research by the Center for Rural Policy and Development shows that if gasoline costs $3 a gallon, 7 percent of an average rural resident's income would go for gasoline. At the same price, 3.9 percent of an urbanite's pay would go to fuel. The biggest reason for the difference is in their income.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Senate's top Democrat wants a chance to respond to what Gov.
FRIDLEY, Minn. - Marty Seifert may have held the first, but many other Republican governor rallies will follow through election day, Nov.
Al Franken became Minnesota's second U.S. senator today, his hand holding the Bible that Paul Wellstone used when he was twice sworn into the Senate. Vice President Joe Biden swore in Franken 246 days after the Nov. 4 election and 183 days since the 2009 Senate convened. The scene was the front of the U.S. Senate chamber. Accompanied by Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former senator and vice president Walter Mondale, Franken looked up at Biden and with the words "yes, I do" accepted the oath and became senator.
ST. PAUL - "Unallotment" is a strange word to most Minnesotans, although those who get state money know it well. In the coming months, Democrats are likely to drill home that word so all Minnesotans hear that Gov. Tim Pawlenty unilaterally cut the state budget (known as unallotment), and Democrats will point out that occurred with support of other Republicans. It is the beginning of the 2010 election season. Legislative hearings already are under way to investigate the impact of Pawlenty's Wednesday budget cuts.
ST. PAUL - Nearly 80,000 people along the Minnesota and Wisconsin border face a more complex and costly income tax filing routine if the two states can't work out a dispute. And $106 million to plug a Minnesota budget deficit is at stake. While both states deal with massive budget deficits, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty demands that Wisconsin speed up payments to his state under a 41-year-old reciprocity agreement in which residents who live in one state and work in the other can pay income taxes only in their home state.
ST. PAUL - In politics, it is all about winning. Take, for instance, Al Franken's razor-thin victory over Norm Coleman in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race. The day after the state Supreme Court ruled in Franken's favor, making him Minnesota's newest senator, Brian Melendez, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party chairman proclaimed: "Our election system in Minnesota works." His comments, delivered to a Franken rally, brought loud and long cheers.