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
- 3 years 11 months
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 cut it close to a constitutional deadline while struggling to cut a budget deal late Sunday. As midnight approached Sunday night, six budget deals encompassing most of the state budget remained unresolved.
ST. PAUL - Whether Minnesotans will have a chance to vote to raise sales tax for arts, clean-water and outdoors programs may be decided as the 2007 legislative session winds down. After a 4.5-hour debate, the House voted 86-46 early Sunday for a constitutional amendment that would raise the state sales tax 0.375 percent. That would bring in an estimated $280 million a year, bill sponsor Rep.
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 - Minnesota senators sprinted through their latest budget bills Wednesday, and legislative leaders met several times with the governor trying to avoid a repeat of earlier budget vetoes. It was unclear late Wednesday when, or if, the House would pass the bills. House leaders were waiting to see if the high-level talks produced results. Lawmakers worked late Wednesday night in an attempt to pass the bills soon enough that time would remain for yet another try if Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoes this second round of bills.
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 - 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. Tim Pawlenty, apparently getting along as well as the little girls.
Minnesota lawmakers will have one more chance to pass a statewide smoking ban. House and Senate negotiators approved a strict smoking ban early Wednesday. The negotiators' conference committee decided to allow a few relatively minor exemptions to the ban and leaves decisions on outdoors smoking up to local governments. However, the bill - which cannot be further changed by lawmakers - does not permit smoking rooms in bars, a provision the House earlier approved.