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
- 2 years 12 months
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota House members approved wolf hunting and trapping seasons on Tuesday despite warnings that the American Indian community may challenge it in court. "When we make laws, we make laws for all the people of Minnesota," Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, said before representatives approved a bill 82-49 that included the wolf seasons. Bill sponsor Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's Republican-controlled Senate approved business tax cuts Friday that Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton all but promises to veto. The highlight of the GOP tax proposal senators passed 34-26 along party lines Friday night after two and a half hours of debate is a reduction in a statewide business property tax and its eventual elimination. The bill by Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, would reduce the taxes $102 million next year. To fund the tax cut, the bill reduces state budget reserves. "We should not have a honey pot," Ortman said.
ST. PAUL -- A Vikings stadium construction proposal took its biggest step forward ever Monday night when a House committee approved the nearly $1 billion plan. After a decade of discussion about whether to build a new stadium, the House commerce committee decided on a split voice vote to advance the plan.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton says he was blindsided with news that the chief Minnesota House negotiator had a new Vikings stadium plan. Besides not telling Dayton, the governor said this morning that Rep. Morrie Lanning's proposal may violate federal law. "The good news is House leadership has come forward with a proposal," Dayton said.
Efforts to allow liquor stores to open on Sundays failed Friday in the Minnesota House. A proposed amendment by Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, to an otherwise routine liquor-related bill failed 97-25. An attempt by Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, to allow border county stores to sell liquor on Sundays failed 99-21. "You will go across the river and see them piling up ... on Sundays," Drazkowski said. Not everyone agreed. "There is nobody crying for Sunday liquor sales," Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, said. Gauthier's community is next to Wisconsin, which does allow Sunday sales.
ST. PAUL -- One of the 2012 Minnesota Legislature's prime tasks is to approve public facility repair and construction funds, but the three proposals vary widely as lawmakers look to wrap up their work for the year. The final of the three public works funding plans, from Senate Republicans, overwhelmingly earned its initial committee passage Wednesday. It would spend $496 million, between House Republicans' $280 million and Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators Monday joined representatives in voting to take money from state budget reserves to catch up on back pay owed school districts. In a bill they passed 35-29, senators also opted to reduce most state programs' funding 1 percent to help pay schools. The state owes schools more than $2 billion after lawmakers and governors the past few years decided to slow payments to school districts as a way to help the state's budget situation. Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Republicans held strong through hours of state House debate Tuesday night, maintaining it is critical to shore up Minnesota's election process by requiring votes to present photographic identification. Representatives voted 72-62 along party lines at 2:14 a.m. today, after more than eight hours of debate, to amend the state Constitution to require a voter photo ID. GOP Reps.
ST. PAUL -- A new Vikings stadium remains possible after a Senate committee delayed a construction proposal Wednesday and Gov. Mark Dayton delivered some harsh words about legislative leaders' lack of support. Stadium supporters have lots of work to do if they are to salvage the plan this legislative session. After a decade of discussion and more than a year of intense work on a stadium-funding bill, the proposal stalled in the Senate local government committee after less than two hours of debate Wednesday over several questions.
ST. PAUL -- Questions about constructing a Minnesota Vikings stadium piled up so high today that a committee suspended debate before taking a vote, but the bill's author hopes to bring it back up yet this week. Many senators on the committee were not satisfied with the stadium funding source, prompting Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan, to move to lay the bill over. Chairman Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, said he will wait until bill author Sen.