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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There was a lot of discussion in some quarters last week about the possibility Minnesota will lose a congressional seat after the 2010 census. That was not news to people who follow national politics because mostly rural states have lost congressional seats to the rapidly growing urban states for decades. If the federal census were taken now, Minnesota State Demographer Tom Gillaspy says the state would lose one of its eight U.S. House members.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's Democratic activists are taking sides in the Al Franken-Mike Ciresi Democratic race for U.S. Senate 16 months before the election. Both candidates, the two leading Democrats for the post, are touting endorsements they are receiving from legislators and others. Franken plays up his Teamsters endorsement, adding it to an earlier United Steelworkers announcement of support. The comedian and radio talk show host also produced names of legislators in his corner, including Rep. Tom Anzelc of Balsam Township, the first Iron Range legislator to endorse Franken.
ST. PAUL - Judges could be for sale to campaign contributors if Minnesota follows other states and judicial campaigns begin soliciting big donors, the state chief justice told fellow lawyers Friday. "Minnesotans do not want judges to be beholden to special interest groups," Russell Anderson said during his annual State of the Judiciary speech to the Minnesota State Bar Association. "Minnesota has a lot to lose. Let it not be said it was lost on our watch." Anderson has talked about the issue of money in judicial campaigns for the year and a half he has been Minnesota's top judge.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's premier rural economic development program has come under fire on two more fronts. A new left-leaning think tank called the Job Opportunity Building Zones program "ineffectual." And southern Minnesota firms took JOBZ to court, saying it gave their competitors advantages by offering big tax breaks. The program already has survived one court challenge. The new think tank, called Minnesota 2020, issued a report claming the state spends too much time luring big manufacturing plants to rural Minnesota and offering tax breaks under JOBZ. A long-time St.
Democratic challengers for Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat may be getting most of the political attention these days, but the incumbent is trying to be visible, too. Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, recently launched a new Web site -- www.ColemanforSenate.com . In a letter to supporters, Coleman introduced the Web site and asked for donations.
ST. PAUL - Most people agree U.S. Sen.
Laws and constitutions vary from state to state, former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer recently pointed out while interviewing Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on a radio talk show. They were discussing some of Pawlenty's vetoes, which came after he told lawmakers in writing he would reject the bills. Schafer sounded a bit envious when he told Pawlenty that in North Dakota, it is illegal to threaten a veto.
ST. PAUL - Every year there either is a special Minnesota legislative session or lots of talk about the need for one. So far, this year has been the latter. Cities largely have been in the forefront of the talk, saying they need state aid that was contained in a vetoed bill. They want lawmakers and the governor to agree on a new measure that would help them. Republican Gov.
Two Minnesota congressmen want to make it easier for individuals and small groups to receive wind energy tax incentives. Democratic U.S. Reps.
A Thursday story about the University of Minnesota budget left a mistaken impression about a tuition agreement between Minnesota and Wisconsin. It should have read: If no new deal is reached between the two states, under a University of Minnesota plan, Wisconsin students would pay the same tuition rates as Minnesota students, not the lower rates Wisconsin students now pay to attend the Minnesota school. The new tuition would be phased in so it would apply only to new students, not Wisconsin students now attending the University of Minnesota.