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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REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. - Western Minnesota voters have a choice between a powerful U.S. House Agriculture Committee chairman and a second-time challenger who thinks a recently enacted farm bill falls short. Republican challenger Glen Menze said on Tuesday that the farm bill, which sets federal agriculture policy for years, did not have enough specific "risk management" provisions such as crop insurance for farmers. The omissions are especially hard on small farmers, he said. However, he was in the minority of Democrats and Republicans who spoke at a FarmFest forum.
ST. PAUL - Legislative leaders and Gov.
ST. PAUL - House Majority Leader Tony Sertich says Gov. Tim Pawlenty erased $1.5 million in state construction projects from his district as revenge for comments he made about the Republican governor. The Chisholm Democrat told reporters Friday that on March 14 a Pawlenty staff member called with what he said was a message from the governor: "I have a hockey analogy for you. Cheap shots are cheap, but they are not free." Sertich said the staffer went on to say that Pawlenty threatened to veto projects in Sertich's northeastern Minnesota district.
ST. PAUL - Eric Magnuson used to lead a commission that helped pick judges; now he is getting ready to become Minnesota's top judge. Gov.
ST. PAUL - All state highway bridges have been inspected since the Aug. 1 Minneapolis bridge collapse, missing by three weeks Gov. Tim Pawlenty's deadline. Seventeen of more than 4,000 bridges needed repairs or other actions after the inspections, Minnesota Department of Transportation officials said Friday. Pawlenty originally said he wanted all 13,026 Minnesota bridges to be inspected.
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.