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 - 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 - 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 - Minnesota Democratic legislative leaders thought relations with Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty were going well. Then he told a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce audience: "You don't celebrate getting out of Weight Watchers by going over to the all-you-can-eat buffet. So our message to the Legislature is: 'Push away from the table. Put your fork down.'" Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, was not laughing.
ST. PAUL - The state representative for flood-damaged Browns Valley says Minnesota will need to help the 650-population community recover. While officials are examining the damage, some Democrats complained that Gov. Tim Pawlenty was campaigning for presidential candidate John McCain in Iowa instead of working on the Browns Valley problem. The governor plans to visit the community today. Browns Valley lawmakers were looking into what could be done for the town. "If there is a community that needs help from the state, it's Browns Valley," Rep.
ST. PAUL - The 16,000 people working at 320 Minnesota meat packing plants deserve a bill of rights, a rabbi and a union leader told a Senate committee. Not so, a state senator - who owns meat packing plants in three states - countered in a Wednesday exchange. Sen. Jim Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul, introduced the meat packing employee bill of rights because "we think that these are the right things to do for the tough packing industry." No vote was taken on the bill. However, Metzen, who worked in a South St.
ST. PAUL - Tom Ossell says a little tax break would make a big difference for his 10-cabin resort. The owner of Northern Lights Resort and Outfitting at Kabetogama, near International Falls, said a 2005 resort tax relief measure spurred resort owners to improve their facilities.
ST. PAUL - Many Minnesota legislators' dreams of significantly increasing education and health-care funding may have come to a screeching halt. Figures Senate leaders released Thursday show budget growth large enough to cover inflation and pretty much nothing more. That means no all-day, every-day kindergarten. That means covering all Minnesota children with health care insurance may have to wait. That means little more can be done for pre-schoolers.
ST. PAUL - Small, rural school districts are hurting for money and not very attractive to potential superintendents, a Minnesota Senate committee heard Thursday. Often the schools don't want to share a superintendent with a nearby district, fearing loss of autonomy. But Sen.