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 -- Many Minnesota voters don't know where they are. At least, many don't know where they live in terms of political districts after congressional, legislative and many local boundaries were redrawn earlier this year. Fewer than a quarter of Minnesotans stopping in the state Senate's State Fair booth knew their new legislative district and candidates, long-time Senate public information official Scott Magnuson said. "We have looked up hundreds" of districts for fair visitors, he said. The confusion comes after the every-10-year redrawing of political boundaries.
ST. PAUL -- Joe Biden is ready to give up his job. Well, only if he could become a high school football player. The vice president made a surprise stop at South Minneapolis high school football practice after delivering a 37-minute speech to a campaign rally. "Hey guys, how're you doing? My name's Joe Biden," the vice president said as he approached the team. Biden, a U.S.
ST. PAUL -- State leaders reached no decision Monday about scheduling a special legislative session to pass a disaster-relief bill, leaving unsettled whether that bill can be approved as expected on Friday. "They are still working," said Bob Hume, a spokesman for Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. Hume and Republican House spokeswoman Jodi Boyne said they knew of no specific problems and the goal still was to hold the session Friday. A meeting among legislative leaders and Dayton broke up Monday afternoon when the time came for the governor to announce a Minnesota Supreme Court appointment.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota city and conservation leaders say farmers contribute most of the pollution to state waters but do too little to prevent the damage or fix it. They told reporters Tuesday that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency needs to take action by ordering farmers to lower their pollution contribution. "It is not fair when only the city residents pay the bills," said Alexandria Mayor Dan Ness, president of the League of Minnesota Cities. MPCA officials said they cannot order farmers to stop polluting and are in the middle of working out clean-up plans.
ST. PAUL -- Political observers have watched for years as those who make decisions in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party move the political left and Republican decision makers head to the right. DFL Chairman Ken Martin wants to change that by finding a way to get more people with boarder political views involved. "The party process has become so exclusive that the extremes have come to dominate," Martin said. Since Martin's party appears to have few divisions this year, the best examples come from the Republican Party.
ST. PAUL -- The Pentagon will restore military personnel leave time that was stripped from nearly 50,000 soldiers in October. President Barack Obama Friday signed into law a bill co-sponsored by all of Minnesota's congressional delegation that will return up to 27 days of paid leave to some of the state's National Guard members who have served in Kuwait helping to wind down the United States involvement in Iraq. In some cases, soldiers will get pay instead of days off. Two Minnesotans guided the effort in Congress, Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline and Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Rep. Morrie Lanning knows how to win elections and football championships, and says getting a new Vikings stadium is much the same. "I'm a former football player who had an extraordinary team," the 1964 Concordia College of Moorhead center said Monday after Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill to build a Vikings stadium.
ST. PAUL -- The Capitol is quiet after days of chants, cheers and songs like "Skol, Vikings." The Vikings stadium issue that dominated the just-completed session climaxed with a love fest among state, Vikings and Minneapolis leaders after the House and Senate passed the plan to build a $975 million stadium. Lost to many people amidst the debate was the fact that it is the largest-ever state government construction project.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Vikings are close to a new stadium after the House early today approved a construction plan 71-60. Representatives debated the stadium bill an hour and 50 minutes after day-long negotiations produced a compromise bill after the House and Senate passed differing versions. Soon after passing the stadium bill, the House adjourned for the year before 4 a.m. today. Senators expect to take up the bill later today before adjourning until 2013. If they pass it, Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign the bill.
ST. PAUL -- A Vikings stadium construction bill is headed to a full House vote after a dramatic Monday night turnaround. Minutes shy of being exactly a week after another committee defeated the plan, the House Ways and Means Committee sent the $975 million proposal to the House.