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 4 months
ST. PAUL - A bill written by the House tax leader eliminating all state aid to business includes killing rural Minnesota's Job Opportunity Building Zones program. Although Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, said Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty's pet JOBZ project is a small part of a bill that would raise $280 million, the proposal drew the strongest response to her surprise Wednesday proposal. "The bottom line is that the program has helped rural Minnesota," Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth said.
ST. PAUL - Minnesotans could sue insurance companies that don't pay claims under a bill senators preliminarily approved Tuesday. The measure -- called the "good faith" bill by supporters because it requires insurance companies to act in good faith when dealing with claims - "makes that consumer whole, that they do get what they pay for," bill sponsor Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, said. Final Senate approval is expected today. The House is considering a similar bill. Sen.
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.