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 five-judge Minnesota panel plans to release new congressional and legislative district maps at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The courts earlier had refused to announce a release date, but on Monday said the maps will be available at www.mncourts.gov under a "special redistricting panel" link. Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea established the judicial panel last year in case the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton did not agree on a redistricting plan.
ST. PAUL -- A deal between Minneapolis officials and the Minnesota Vikings is expected any day, but the Senate's leader said if a stadium construction plan does not progress fast enough that he could see a special legislative session on the issue. "I'm not sure we want to stay around here waiting for a stadium," Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said Friday. "We're not getting anywhere at this point," he added. Several reports indicate that Gov. Mark Dayton's stadium point man, the Vikings and Minneapolis leaders are close to a deal that could be announced in days.
ST. PAUL -- The most important day of the 2012 Minnesota legislative session, for some at least, could be Tuesday. That is the day when a state judicial panel is expected to release new legislative and congressional district maps.
ST. PAUL -- School officials could lay off teachers based on their effectiveness rather than just how long they have taught under a bill Minnesota representatives approved 68-61 Thursday. "We have an urgency," Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, said. "We have students waiting for an answer to why they are not learning at the level where they should." The bill would not begin the new policy until 2016. Then, school boards would use teachers' effectiveness and what subjects they teach as part of the decision about whether to lay off or demote teachers.
By Don Davis State Capitol Bureau ST. PAUL -- Eleven Minnesota day-care providers, supported by a coalition of conservative groups, today announced they plan to sue to stop a governor-ordered unionization election. Attorney Tom Revnew said his clients seek an injunction to stop the election, set to begin next week, asking nearly 4,300 in-home day-care providers if they want to join a union. He said state law does not give Gov. Mark Dayton authority to issue an executive order that set up the election. Ballots are to be sent out on Dec.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton this morning ordered an election to allow child care providers to vote whether they want a union representing them. Republicans immediately said they will go to court to prevent next month's vote. Dayton said child care providers who receive state subsidies asked him to unilaterally order union representation to improve their wages and working conditions. However, he said, the American way is to conduct an election. The vote will happen next month, with results to be announced Dec.
CANNON FALLS, Minn. -- President Barack Obama asked Minnesotans attending a mid-day "town hall" meeting in a tranquil riverside park to get involved fixing what he called Washington's "broken" politics. The Democratic president, in what many called his first campaign swing of a re-election bid, urged the 500 people gathered in along the Cannon River to tell members of Congress: "It is time for games to stop.
ST. PAUL -- President Barack Obama plans a southern Minnesota visit next week as part of a Midwestern rural tour. The National Journal reports that Obama plans stops in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois as part of a Monday-through-Wednesday bus tour announced earlier. Details for the Minnesota and Illinois visits have not been announced. After the Midwest swing, Obama plans his family's annual New England trip to Martha's Vineyard. Obama is to be in Minnesota Monday.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants the state constitution to limit spending to revenue the state actually has collected. Democrats say that is not something even the Republican governor has done in his budget proposals. Pawlenty on Thursday suggested the constitutional amendment, which would take effect after he leaves office, as a way to limit spending that has grown throughout Minnesota's modern era. "State government has been on a spending binge," Pawlenty declared. Democratic legislative leaders sounded skeptical about the proposal, but many promised to give it a full hearing.