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
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ST. PAUL -- Michelle Fischbach is resigning her Minnesota Senate seat to become lieutenant governor. Gov. Mark Dayton's office announced Friday morning, May 25, that the Paynesville Republican would take the oath Friday morning.
ST. PAUL -- The veto pen found found most legislation Minnesota lawmakers passed this year. Gov. Mark Dayton announced Wednesday, May 23, that he vetoed the session's major legislation, citing numerous problems with the Republican-written bills. He said he hopes to decide by Friday on the final major bill of the session, funding public works projects. "Very irresponsible" was how Dayton described the legislative session.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's governor and legislative leaders began negotiating finances and policy just over 24 hours before their constitutional deadline. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton gave the Republican-controlled Legislature an offer Saturday night, May 19, the first movement after three months of the legislative session. And lawmakers were considering taking up the major budget-policy bill late Saturday even without a deal with Dayton.
ST. PAUL—There is no proof that state money to help low-income Minnesota families afford child care ended up in the hands of terrorists, but the mere mention of it causes concern among many legislators and the Somali community. "I think it has a national security implication, I really do," former state investigator Scott Stillman told a Senate human services committee Tuesday, May 15.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota House passage of a public works funding bill signals the beginning of the end to the 2018 Minnesota Legislature. The House voted 84-39 Monday, May 14, for a bill that would borrow about $1 billion for everything from fixing college buildings to building water-treatment plants throughout the state. "I cannot guarantee you are going to get another chance," Chairman Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, told fellow representatives as he urged support. Some of the major areas of spending include:
ST. PAUL—Minnesota would collect $20 million from opioid painkiller makers and distributors under Senate-passed legislation. "We cannot continue to go at this pace," Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, said about an epidemic of deaths due to opioid abuse. "We are losing people daily." Senators backed the bill 60-6 Thursday, May 10. It is one of the major bills in the Legislature this year, and one that especially rural Minnesotans say is at the top of their priority lists.
ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton needs to accept a smaller public works bill, the Minnesota Senate chairman in charge of the issue says. "I don't have a nickel more to spend on bonding," Sen. Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said Wednesday, May 9, after releasing his public works funding bill. Democrat Dayton earlier this year unveiled a $1.5 billion bonding bill, a proposal that did not include local projects that he said merit funding, leaving him supporting $2.3 billion in public works projects.
ST. PAUL — Rural Minnesota legislators say the most-heard needs from their constituents is lack of affordable child care, and now senators have approved legislation they hope helps. On Monday, May 7, senators overwhelmingly approved three bills written to help reduce regulations home-based child care providers say could drive them out of business. "In rural Minnesota, the lack of child care has become a crisis," Sen. Bill Weber, R-Luverne, said.
ST. PAUL—Repairing, not building, is a public works priority for Minnesota House Republicans. Instead of constructing lots of new buildings, they propose fixing roofs, painting peeling walls and other such routine but needed work. The House public works plan, to be funded by the state selling bonds, would spend $825 million, Republicans announced late Wednesday afternoon, May 2. Of that, $364 million would go to preserve state facilities.