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 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 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 - 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.
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 - A compromise between environmentalists and off-road vehicle drivers may be in the works. "This is a forced marriage," Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said. The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday approved a bill by Sen.
ST. PAUL - The baby boom "age wave" is about to sweep over Minnesota, but nursing home industry leaders say 130 of their facilities are near closing. Nursing homes in the southwestern and northeastern parts of the state are in the most danger of closing. The Long-Term Care Imperative reports 44 percent of those in the northeast and 42 percent in the southwest recorded operating budget losses at a level industry leaders call a crisis.
ST. PAUL - The tears and hugs were bipartisan. Dallas Sams would have liked the way his former Minnesota Senate colleagues mourned his death -- in 16 years as senator he worked to be bipartisan. And that is how legislators remembered him. Sams, 54, died in a Twin Cities' hospital Monday after battling brain cancer more than two years. Sams wasn't the stereotypical partisan politician. He was known for working with lawmakers of both major political parties. He worked with urban, rural and suburban legislators.