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 -- 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.
ST. PAUL - Minnesotans who endured a lengthy U.S. Senate race now could be forced to wait into December, or longer, to see who actually won. Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman collected 727 more votes than Democratic challenger Al Franken, unofficial secretary of state returns show. But state law mandates a recount of every one of the nearly 3 million ballots cast because the election is a virtual tie. The final tally, before the recount, shows Coleman with 1,211,628 votes, for 42 percent. Franken followed with 1,210,901, which was 41.97 percent.
ST. PAUL - The Republican National Convention most likely will begin more traditional operations Tuesday, although delegates will be asked to help prepare packages for Hurricane Gustav victims. A storm of another kind could find its way into the convention. GOP vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska today said her unwed 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. Republicans officials this morning said Cindy McCain, wife of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, this afternoon will ask for delegates' help at the end of an abbreviated convention session.