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
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ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's budget future includes uncertainty, spending cuts and tax increase proposals. Especially uncertainty. State officials Wednesday announced a $1.1 billion budget shortfall, but warned that number could grow to $2.8 billion if Congress and the president fail to solve a federal budget problem by year's end.
ST. PAUL -- More than 76 percent of Minnesota's eligible voters cast ballots Nov. 6, best in the country, but the state's top election official says even more would participate if they could vote early. In this year's election, 2,950,780 Minnesotans voted. That is the most ever, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said, and while final numbers are not in, he said that he is sure Minnesota has the highest percentage in the country. "We're No. 1 by many," he said. Ritchie's comments came after the State Canvassing Board approved returns from Nov. 6 voting.
ST. PAUL -- Incoming Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk has announced who will lead committees for the next four years. Democrats regain control when senators return Jan. 8 for the 2012 session and lots of familiar Democratic senators will be chairmen. The decision comes unexpectedly early since last week Bakk said the committee structure and chairmen would not be decided until early December. Presumptive House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, has not announced who will lead committees in his chamber. Besides naming chairmen, Bakk appointed Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Democratic competitors in the 2010 Minnesota governor's race will be state government's three most powerful politicians. Senate Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party members Thursday picked Sen. Tom Bakk of Cook as their leader. House Democrats made Paul Thissen of Minneapolis their man for speaker. The two and Gov. Mark Dayton competed for the 2010 DFL governor nomination. When the Legislature returns on Jan. 8, it will be the first time in 22 years that Democrats have held all three key positions. The No. 2 spot in the Senate went to Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, and a St.
ST. PAUL -- Sen. Tom Bakk will be the Minnesota Senate's leader and Sen. Katie Sieben of Cottage Grove will be the deputy leader. A tweet from inside a closed meeting Thursday gave the expected news that Bakk, DFL-Cook, will be the majority leader. He was to meet with reporters later in the day. Sieben's position puts her in a key leadership spot as Democrats retake control of the Senate. Democratic senators and senators-elect met at the St. Paul Hotel this afternoon to pick leaders and celebrate taking control of the Senate in Tuesday's election.
ST. PAUL -- Democrats will control Minnesota's Legislature for the next two years, with a governor of their party on their side. It will be the first time in decades that Democrats have controlled all three entities. Tuesday's election reversed the voters' decision of two years ago to put Republicans in charge of the Legislature. With the GOP in legislative control and liberal Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Chip Cravaack gained national attention two years ago when he upset long-time U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, but early Wednesday he lost to a congressman who served three decades ago. Democrat Rick Nolan upset Cravaack in a razor-thin win. Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar breezed to an easy re-election victory Tuesday and most U.S. House members from Minnesota won. Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans became the first state to reject a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Since a state law remains on the books, the vote does not automatically allow same-sex weddings. However, with a newly elected Democratic-Farmer-Laborite Legislature and governor, the subject is bound to be debated when lawmakers take office in January. Thirty other states approved the proposal when voters were asked.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota voters do not want to prove who they are. Forty-six percent of voters Tuesday wanted to amend the state Constitution to require a photo ID before voting, but 50 percent was needed. The Minnesota vote went against a trend in other states to approve voter ID. Election officials said they know of little voter fraud and said the constitutional amendment would cost millions of dollars, but supporters said that democracy demands fair elections.