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.
- Member for
- 1 year 9 months
ST. PAUL - Actors would be able to smoke on stage and bar patrons may be able to step outside to light up, but public smoking would be severely limited under a bill senators passed Friday. The House was expected to debate the measure late Friday, with a much more divided chamber. "Tobacco is a killer and it is one of the major killers in our society," Sen. Steve Dille, R-Dassel, said during a brief debate resulting in a 43-21 Senate support of a statewide smoking ban. Gov.
ST. PAUL - Two young girls were skipping rope just down the street from 1006 Summit Ave. in St. Paul. They were laughing during their Thursday morning playtime, enjoying each other's company. At 1006, the governor's official residence, Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party legislative leaders downed French toast, bacon, fresh fruit and other breakfast foods with Republican Gov.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed the first major budget bill of the 2007 Legislature into law Friday, approving $170 million for agriculture and veterans initiatives. Surrounded by lawmakers and military personnel, Pawlenty signed the compromise funding bill ushered through the Legislature by Democrats Sen. Jim Vickerman of Tracy and Rep. Al Juhnke of Willmar. The Republican governor emphasized provisions to assist Minnesota soldiers returning from overseas and to increase veterans' services offices. The bill also allows for more veterans' assistance on Minnesota tribal land.
ST. PAUL - Browns Valley flood aid hit a political speed bump Thursday, but appears set for final legislative approval as early as today. The Minnesota House and Senate Thursday passed slightly differing versions of flood relief for the Minnesota community bordering South Dakota that sustained heavy damage in a March flood. On a 62-0 Thursday vote, senators approved sending $2 million to Browns Valley and allowing the community to dip into another $5.5 million fund to fight future floods. The House followed suit 120-8 later. Sen.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota policymakers earlier this year decided 25 percent of the state's electricity should come from renewable sources, but now the movement is expanding to include motor vehicle fuel and other energy sources. Part of an agriculture funding bill the House passed 131-2 Tuesday would put that requirement into law. For instance, it would require 25 percent of fuel used in cars to be made from renewable sources such as plant-based ethanol by 2025. The mandate is in a $91 million appropriation for state agriculture programs in the two-year budget beginning July 1.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota Democratic senators knew in February they would suggest raising taxes to fund their top priorities, but first talked about it publicly last week and on Saturday passed a nearly $1 billion income tax increase. The tax increase was kept under wraps to direct attention toward education needs, the Senate's education finance chairman said. "There is a hesitancy on keeping the center of focus on taxes rather than investment," Sen.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota Democratic legislative leaders thought relations with Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty were going well. Then he told a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce audience: "You don't celebrate getting out of Weight Watchers by going over to the all-you-can-eat buffet. So our message to the Legislature is: 'Push away from the table. Put your fork down.'" Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, was not laughing.