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 - Minnesota senators narrowly voted Tuesday to allow some patients in extreme pain to smoke marijuana, and the House author of the measure predicted a narrow victory, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty promises to veto any such bill. The 33-31 Senate vote followed a debate that featured supporters who said they want to ease people's pain fighting those who worried that allowing medical marijuana would lead to more widespread use of it. "There is not a person on the Senate floor or a person in the state of Minnesota who hasn't witnessed ...
ST. PAUL - It appears Minnesota legislators must start over on a public works projects funding package after Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed their first attempt Tuesday, saying lawmakers wanted to spend too much. The future of $334 million worth of projects ranging from flood aid to college roof repairs is in doubt and lawmakers have not discussed their next move. "We will see what, if anything, will happen by the end of the session," Sen.
ST. PAUL - Funding for the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center disappeared a year ago as Minnesota lawmakers got ready to go home for the year. On Tuesday, it happened three weeks earlier, possibly in time for the money to appear again before legislators are expected to go home for the year. Gov. Tim Pawlenty Tuesday vetoed a $334 million public works funding bill that included the DECC, saying the bill spends too much money.
ST. PAUL - Renewable energy, farmers and veterans would benefit from the first major budget bill to pass the 2007 Minnesota Legislature. "This bill will strengthen the state's rural economy and position Minnesota as a leader in the production and use of renewable energy for years to come," Rep. Al Juhnke said.
Off-highway vehicles would be able to drive on state forest roads during seasons set by the state natural resources commissioner under a bill senators passed Monday. During the season, off-road vehicles only would be allowed in areas mapped for off-road use. The bill also would outlaw possession of firewood unless it is obtained from an authorized dealer. The provision is designed to keep wood infected by the emerald wood borer out of Minnesota.
Senators gave preliminary approval, on a 43-21 vote, Monday to a bill providing expanded rights for partners of gay Minnesotans. The measure, opposed mostly by Republicans, would give people the right to visit their domestic partners while in the hospital if the sick or injured person cannot communicate. If a person can communicate when admitted to a hospital, he can designate a domestic partner who will "have the status of the patient's next of kin."
State officials will develop new health regulations for three chemicals found in Twin Cities-area ground water under a bill the Minnesota House approved Monday. Health Department officials will determine risk levels for two chemicals once used in 3M manufacturing and recently detected in Washington and Dakota county wells. Another chemical will be studied. "Communities and cities need resolution on what is safe," bill sponsor Rep. Karla Bigham, DFL-Cottage Grove, said. "People want answers soon." The bill passed 121-12 with opponents arguing the legislation is unnecessary.
ST. PAUL - Three weeks remain in the 2007 Minnesota legislative session, and lawmakers involved in budget negotiations are beginning to find out how much they can spend. Legislative leaders said on Monday that means some of the smaller budget bills soon will head to Gov. Tim Pawlenty for his approval - which they predict - but bills big and small appear to face problems once they reach the governor's desk. The House and Senate have passed their major budget and tax bills, with conference committees now sitting down to work out differences between the two chambers.
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Legislature sent Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota voters send 201 lawmakers to St. Paul, expecting each to have a voice in how their tax money is spent, and whether to enact laws affecting them. But the spotlight now shines on about half of them, with a far brighter spotlight pointed at two lawmakers and the governor. Welcome to conference committee season in the Minnesota Legislature, a time when on the surface it appears a few lawmakers make decisions about how to spend what could be $35 billion over the next two years. It is a mysterious, controversial and often maligned process that few Minnesotans understand.