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 -- A Republican plan to begin repaying school districts for payments the state has delayed heads to hostile territory in Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's office. The Minnesota House and Senate Monday approved a proposal to repay schools $430 million. However, that would leave about $2 billion yet to pay. Money would come from reserves that just now are being built up after a budget deficit drained them. Rep.
By Don Davis State Capitol Bureau ST. PAUL -- Conservative and liberal Minnesota legislators are combining efforts to stop a business practice they say invades job applicants' privacy. National reports in recent days have told of employers, both private and public, demanding passwords for social Internet sites potential employees use. The employers then have access to personal information of the job applicant. "We want to protect the privacy of those job seekers," Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, said about her bill. "It's a huge invasion of privacy," added Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Senators voted 41-24 to keep hunting and fishing license sales going if state government shuts down like last summer. "I saw firsthand how people were hurt by not allowing them to buy a fishing license," Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Brainerd, said Tuesday about why he brought the bill. The state lost $3 million in revenue during the 2011 shutdown, Gazelka said, but "the tourism industry lost far, far, far more than that." Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said some people plan hunting and fishing trips more than a half-year in advance.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators talk little about a White Earth Band casino proposal to increase state revenue, but the band leader says she will continue to push it as lawmakers struggle to find money for everything from a stadium to schools. To answer one of the critics' nagging questions, White Earth hired former Minnesota Chief Justice Eric Magnuson to look into constitutionality of the state allowing the northwestern Minnesota band to build a Twin Cities casino.
ST. PAUL -- Fixing the Minnesota Capitol building's crumbling outside walls and aging interior won easy approval from a key House committee Tuesday, but funding other public works projects around the state may prove more controversial. The Capitol renovation project earned support from all but one member of the House committee that recommends public works funding, with one more committee stop before it reaches the full House.
ST. PAUL -- ST. PAUL -- Republicans held strong through hours of state House debate Tuesday night, maintaining it is critical to shore up Minnesota's election process by requiring votes to present photographic identification. Representatives voted 72-62 along party lines at 2:14 a.m. today, after more than eight hours of debate, to amend the state Constitution to require a voter photo ID. A Senate committee today is expected to approve a very similar measure and put it up for a full Senate vote within days, leaving it up to voters to decide on Nov.
ST. PAUL -- The past week was full of big news under the Minnesota Capitol dome, everything from hundreds of workers protesting a proposal that would make joining unions optional to a sex scandal to the sudden stalling of a stadium construction bill. But the most entertaining episode probably was an unannounced appearance by a Minnesota football legend, former Vikings coach Bud Grant, urging lawmakers to raise hunting and fishing license fees to fund programs related to those activities.
ST. PAUL -- A first-term Minnesota legislator who made a bigger splash than most says he is not running again. Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, sent a letter to fellow lawmakers and staff this morning saying he wants to spent more time with his family because "giving my wife and sons the time they deserve has become increasingly difficult." Kriesel entered the House last year already well known to many in the Twin Cities.
ST. PAUL -- Funding stadium construction with pulltab and bingo revenue may not be a safe bet. A professor who has studied the issue said predicting the impact that changing state law would have on pulltab and bingo revenue is chancy. And the organization representing charities that sponsor pulltab and bingo games in establishments across the state said the proposal to allow electronic devices does not go far enough to convince local charities to convert. In an effort to convince charities to back a Vikings stadium financing proposal, Gov.
ST. PAUL -- If there ever was a full committee room, it will happen at 8 a.m. Monday in Room 15 of the Capitol when the Senate Judiciary Committee hears a proposed constitutional amendment that would remove a requirement that some workers belong to unions. Union workers from across the state are expected to arrive at the Capitol in buses to oppose the proposal by Sen.