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 -- Five rural communities - Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Thief River Falls, New Ulm and Winona - will help kick off Minnesota's 150th birthday party next May. The Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission named each a "capital for a day" during Wednesday Capitol ceremonies. The communities represent different geographic regions of the state and were selected by a statewide Internet vote of 10,000 Minnesotans. Gov.
ST. PAUL - Economists predict the worst of Minnesota's economy is yet to come, but Democrats and Republicans have different ideas about how to deal with what is expected to be a rough six to nine months. Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty would deal with a projected $373 million state budget deficit caused by the economic slowdown by trimming taxes, making more money available for Minnesotans to spend. Democratic leaders would gather in a special legislative session and approve millions of dollars in public works projects to create jobs.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's top senator wants to tie Gov. Tim Pawlenty to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, a pair of politicians not exactly at the height of popularity. Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, last week criticized Republican Pawlenty for his refusal to call a special legislative session to create jobs. "He is a creature of Bush and Cheney thinking," Pogemiller said. "They must have seen a kindred spirit." Pogemiller referred to the episode before Pawlenty ran for governor, when he planned to run for U.S. Senate.
ST. PAUL - Mayors, unemployed union members, transportation advocates and Democratic leaders all want a special legislative session to infuse money into a slumping Minnesota economy, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty says "no." Supporters of a special session say vetoed bills, especially one designed to reform property taxes, would provide money for thousands of construction jobs and increase state aid to local governments. The latest push for the session came Wednesday, a day after the state announced a 6,600 job loss last month, the latest of a series of bad economic reports.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's largest-ever industrial development will proceed after its India-based owner promised to avoid any dealings with Iran that violate American law. "No investment or firm commitment will be made in Iran unless and until permitted to do so under the applicable U.S. or international laws," President Madhu S. Vuppuluri of Essar Global Ltd.'s Americas division wrote to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty Wednesday. The letter and a conversation Pawlenty had with Vuppuluri earlier in the day convinced the governor to throw his support behind the $1.6 billion project again.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is not happy that the Bush administration is withholding information about global warming. Press reports indicate that some of an administration official's testimony in front of a Senate committee was edited by the White House. An initial draft of the testimony presented more information, Klobuchar said. "But the final testimony she gave fell short ... because the White House eliminated discussion of the threats to public health posed by global warming," the Democratic senator said.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota may use one of the world's emerging and fastest-growing economies to help its own. India fits that description and Gov.
Democratic Minnesota senators say upcoming school votes seeking more money are examples of poor support the past five years. Many DFL senators' columns sent to local newspapers are much like one sent by Sen. Dan Skogen of Hewitt. "I'm proud of the work we did last session to support our public schools," Skogen said. "However, over the past five years, the state has not maintained adequate support for quality education programs.
ST. PAUL - Look out, St. Paul, there is a contest to replace you as Minnesota's capital city. But it is only for five days next year, the state's 150th anniversary. The state Sesquicentennial Commission will pick five capitals for a day, one from each of the state's natural geographic areas - coniferous forest zone, deciduous forest zone, prairie grasslands, tallgrass aspen parklands and driftless zone. Minnesotans can nominate potential capitals at www.mn150years.org until Nov.
ST. PAUL - Dru Sjodin's family received $300,000 from Minnesota taxpayers to compensate for the college student's death, but they say that even more important are stronger laws dealing with sex offenders like the one who killed her. In a legal settlement that came to light this week, the state agreed to pay Sjodin's relatives $300,000, but admitted no wrong-doing in releasing Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.