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 - Cities can accept a large property tax reform bill, counties don't know what to think about it and non-profit organizations love it. And its chief author is optimistic that he can convince Gov. Tim Pawlenty to accept at least part of the measure. The bill written by Rep. Paul Marquart and others features a provision allowing Minnesota counties to institute a half-percent sales tax instead of raising property taxes.
ST. PAUL - Minnesotans are fighting flood waters along the Red River and elsewhere while their lawmakers are fighting about the cost of preventing prevent future floods. The fight spilled over into other areas, too, as House leaders Monday introduced a much smaller public works bill than senators passed earlier this month. Rep. Alice Hausman, chairwoman of the House public works funding committee, said the proposal "is a taking-care-of-basics bill." The St.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota counties should be able to raise the sales tax instead of property taxes to make up for state aid cuts, the two state House tax chairmen say. "It provides options, flexibility to counties," said Rep.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota legislators are nearly 11 weeks into their 2009 session, but only now are getting a look at outlines of their main task this year - writing a two-year budget. Lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty have eight weeks left before the mandatory May 18 adjournment deadline to turn those outlines into a fully crafted two-year budget that paves over a $4.6 billion deficit. House and Senate Democratic-Farmer-Laborite leaders, who control the Legislature, have announced separate budget plans.
ST. PAUL - Local Minnesota governments may not be happy with the way things are going this year at the Capitol - with big state aid cuts coming - but counties are thrilled with Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposal to remove one burden from them. In the revised budget plan the governor released Tuesday, he proposed that the state take back responsibility for housing short-term offenders.
ST. PAUL - Federal officials have until year's end to decide whether gasoline may contain more than the common 10 percent ethanol. If that happens, ethanol supporters promise thousands of new jobs for the Minnesota economy and another step toward national energy independence. "We are not going to kneel at the altar of big oil in this country forever," said Doug Peterson, a former state lawmaker and current Minnesota Farmers union president. A coalition of ethanol producers, Growth Energy, earlier this month submitted to the U.S.
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota House has about two weeks to complete its public works bill if the maximum number of jobs will be created, according to the senator who leads the public works committee in that body. Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, said on Monday that if the Legislature and governor do not agree on a public works package - known as a bonding bill - by April 1, some of the projects can not be completed this year. Langseth's comments came shortly after the Senate tentatively approved its bonding bill 56-8.
ST. PAUL - Rural lawmakers afraid that local firms could lose business helped defeat a proposal to encourage school districts to work together. Senate Minority Leader David Senjem, R-Rochester, said he fears the bill could force schools to buy from someone other than local businesses. "There is a feeling between a community and a school district that is very special and very important." The bill lost 33-31, but its supporters say it will return before the legislative session ends this spring. Sen.
ST. PAUL - Lori Johnson was a fitting final U.S. Senate trial witness because, like many other issues in the case, she left unanswered the main question attorneys asked. The Clay County auditor-treasurer could offer no reason why five ballots disappeared from Oakport Township, just north of Moorhead, after the November election.
The Minnesota House unanimously voted to support freedom of the press Thursday, after a week of controversy. House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall - joined by House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm - brought a motion to the floor voicing that support because proposed House rules would have restricted media work on the House floor and in committees. The proposed rules emerged a week ago today, creating a stir among the Capitol press corps.