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 - 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.
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.