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 Minnesota legislative pace picked up in recent days, so much so that it felt more like the frenzied end of session. Senators face an April 2 deadline for approving all of their spending bills. Representatives must pass their spending bills out of finance committees by then, and finish all work on finance bills in April.
Minnesota state employees who were forced to use their vacation time during a July 2005 partial government shutdown would be paid in full under a bill Minnesota lawmakers are considering. A House committee approved the payments, and a similar bill awaits Senate consideration. Many state employees were sent home in 2005 after lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty could not agree on a new budget.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota senators voted to increase higher education spending Thursday, but complained it was not enough to prevent tuition increases or to launch any significant new programs. The measure ups spending $296 million for the next two years, leaving a higher education budget of $3.1 billion. "Personally I am very dissatisfied with it," Higher Education Chairwoman Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said. "All we could do is fund a status quo budget." It is a comment expected on the Senate floor often through April 2, when senators are supposed to have their spending bills finished.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota leaders want to know if South Dakota actions - or inactions - 20 years ago contributed to last week's Browns Valley flood. Attorney General Lori Swanson's spokesman said that office will investigate questions Gov.
ST. PAUL - Two waitresses illustrate Minnesotans' differences over a statewide smoking ban plan advancing through the Minnesota Legislature. "I believe that all of us in the state of Minnesota - workers, businesses and public - ultimately are going to win on this issue," Duluth's Joan Linski said if the smoking ban passes, as it appears it will. That is not how Bierstube worker Mary Yoswa of Hastings sees the matter.
ST. PAUL -- Roger Urban thought he was stupid upon discovering he failed to file for a property tax refund. Then he found out there are 350,000 Minnesotans like him because they also did not know about the refund.
ST. PAUL - Senators gutted a meat packer employee bill of rights proposal in a Monday committee meeting faster than an experienced packer can gut a cow. But another Senate committee could put many of the details back in. Sen. James Metzen, DFL-South St.
ST. PAUL - Two western Minnesota legislators may not be as close as they once were after an indirect heated exchange the past few days. It started when House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, wrote a column decrying a series of tax increases that would total $4 billion Democrats propose. It escalated when Rep.
ST. PAUL - State lawmakers should approve flood aid for western Minnesota's Browns Valley, Gov. Tim Pawlenty wrote to legislative leaders Monday. Pawlenty gave legislators a seven-point plan to help the community.