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 - Rumors are spreading around St. Paul that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will call a special legislative session to boost transportation funding. Will he? "No," the GOP governor said in response to a question about whether he has been telling groups that a special session is possible. There was plenty of talk about transportation funding before a September special session dealing with flood issues, but the governor and Democrats were so far apart on the issue that they could not agree on how to proceed. The issue is expected to surface during the regular session that starts Feb.
ST. PAUL - The catchphrase in agriculture and energy circles these days is "cellulosic ethanol," the next step in producing the American-made fuel. But experts at a national ethanol conference warned Wednesday that commercial production of the fuel from grass, wood and waste may be a decade away.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty may lift his long-held opposition to raising Minnesota's gasoline tax if he calls a special legislative session, as expected, following a deadly Minneapolis bridge collapse. Pawlenty on Friday said a special session to increase transportation funding is likely.
By Don Davis Forum Communications MINNEAPOLIS - Inspectors will check all 13,026 Minnesota bridges in the wake of a Minneapolis interstate bridge collapse. Gov. Tim Pawlenty ordered the inspections, although he said there is no evidence of any danger. The state bridge engineer said the eight-lane bridge on Interstate 35W over the Mississippi River that collapsed shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday had been inspected annually, more often than most other bridges because it was Minnesota's busiest. "We had thought we had done all we could," State Bridge Engineer Dan Dorgan said Thursday.
MEDORA, N.D. - Justin Droegemueller remembers how he felt last spring driving Interstate 94 into western Minnesota. He passed billboard after billboard with pictures of his friends, each promoting North Dakota's top tourist attraction.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota legislators cobbled together the largest budget in history before leaving town this week, but two of the most noticed things may come out of their failures. For instance, potholes and highway congestion may grow after Gov. Tim Pawlenty and lawmakers could not agree on a transportation funding bill. Also, homeowners' property taxes may rise if Pawlenty vetoes a tax bill as expected; even if he signs it, many property tax bills will be higher because lawmakers scaled back a plan to actually cut property taxes. After working from noon Jan. 3 until 12:03 a.m.
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota House dissolved into a shouting match as midnight approached Monday, just completing passage of a $35 billion budget and the House sustaining a transportation funding veto. More than $30 billion of spending zipped through the Senate and House by the midnight constitutional deadline. But Democratic legislative leaders never received assurances from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty that he would sign the bills, leaving open the possibility of a special session if he vetoes a major funding bill. The most excitement came at 11:45 p.m.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota legislators must pass a bulk of the state's two-year budget and adjourn by midnight tonight, but there are questions whether they can do that without risking governor's vetoes. "We really haven't seen the bills yet," Gov.
ST. PAUL - Since Minnesota legislators arrived in St. Paul on Jan. 3, they approved - and Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed - $2.6 billion of spending. That may sound impressive to the average Minnesotan, but the two-year budget lawmakers must pass will be $35 billion, more or less. And by this time next week, legislators are supposed to be back home at their regular jobs, getting ready to take vacations or catching up on honey-do lists after being in St.