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ST. PAUL - Minnesota's ailing state coffers could get a $2 billion jolt from the federal economic stimulus package, but the funding comes with conditions and will complicate Capitol budget talks. State finance officials said Thursday that early number-crunching shows Minnesota could get more than $3 billion from the $790 billion economic recovery plan nearing completion in Congress.
Some senators were not happy Tuesday when they learned the state Education Department paid $181,000 for a report on Q Comp that was released the night before the legislative auditor released what they considered a similar report. "It does feel duplicative," Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, told Education Commissioner Alice Seagren. "I'm just concerned about a couple hundred thousand dollars in this situation." Seagren told Clark the study was funded by federal, not state, money.
Minnesota college students told a House committee Tuesday that without more state spending the future of higher education is in doubt. "I'm worried," said Cody Nelson of Crookston, a recent Bemidji State University graduate. Budget cuts beyond what the state already has made "will likely significantly impact the student experience... (and) will go very deep into academics," he told a higher education committee that will consider budgets for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and University of Minnesota.
ST. PAUL - A judicial panel could review at least 5,000 uncounted absentee ballots for counting in the U.S. Senate election trial. Judges ruled Tuesday Norm Coleman can argue to include in the election tally absentee ballots it believes were wrongly rejected in the Nov. 4 election. Coleman is challenging Al Franken's 225-vote victory in court. The ruling, which came on the trial's seventh day, means county election officials may have work to do in the coming days or weeks and that the trial could last several weeks or longer.
"Your Heart Belongs to Me," is not a sappy Tin Pan Alley lyric, but the title of a new thriller by Dean Koontz (Bantam, $27).
Some Republican House members want to exempt new Minnesota businesses from the state corporate income tax. Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said the proposal would help create jobs. "The idea is simple: If you bring your business to Minnesota and stay for five years, we will exempt you from the 9.8 percent tax rate," Zellers said. The same would apply to expanding businesses.
The sparky points of a taser put an end to an Eagan, Minn., man's romp on Maui at the expense of a Diamond Bluff, Wis., woman he had promised to marry. James E. Jackson, 40, now sits in a Maui correctional facility awaiting extradition to Wisconsin after being taken into custody by Maui police on Jan. 9. "The judge in Hawaii wants him (Jackson) to face charges there first before sending him back to Wisconsin," said Lt.
With a deepening recession, don't expect the Minnesota Legislature to suddenly find money to protect any one budget area, local legislators told a group of teachers Saturday morning. "How do we get the message back to everybody?" Rep. Brita Sailer, DFL-Park Rapids, asked about 20 teachers from throughout the region who attended an Education Minnesota Eggs and Issues breakfast in Bemidji.
A Cottage Grove man was charged Friday for allegedly smashing a family member's car into the front door of a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul, according to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office. Matthew L. Derosia, 32, is scheduled to appear Friday afternoon on charges of two felony counts of first-degree criminal damage to property. According to the Ramsey County District Court Complaint, police were called to the clinic, located at 1965 Ford Parkway, at 7:49 a.m. Thursday on a report of an accident with injuries.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's historic U.S. Senate election trial, to start Monday, in some ways may resemble popular television courtroom dramas. "This is going to be very much what you expect a trial to be based on watching 'L.A. Law' or 'Law and Order,'" said Marc Elias, an attorney for Al Franken. The Franken and Norm Coleman campaigns will give opening and closing statements, exhibits will be offered and three judges will decide the case and, possibly, Minnesota's next U.S. senator.