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 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.
ST. PAUL -- A Vikings stadium construction proposal took its biggest step forward ever Monday night when a House committee approved the nearly $1 billion plan. After a decade of discussion about whether to build a new stadium, the House commerce committee decided on a split voice vote to advance the plan.
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.