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 senators set a modern-day record for debating a single bill Tuesday night and Wednesday morning before voting to give childcare providers and personal care attendants the right to unionize. The bill passed 35-32 a little after 8 a.m.
ST. PAUL -- Taxes remain a key issue as the Minnesota House, Senate and governor's office negotiate a final budget deal in the last days of the 2013 legislative session. House-Senate tax conference committee members exchanged a number of proposals Wednesday, but did not come to a solution. They have agreed to raise about $2 billion in new revenue, but differ on how to do it. Members are slowly coming closer to creating a new fourth-tier income tax bracket for the richest Minnesotans, likely to land somewhere between 8.94 percent and 10.6 percent.
ST. PAUL -- Rural and urban Minnesota senators battled Wednesday night about how to divide outdoors and arts program funding. Rural senators won, but just barely. Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, said rural Minnesota is "under assault once again" with an amendment by Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's gay community never has known such joy. That joy showed Tuesday night as American and rainbow flags flew in front of the state Capitol when Minnesota became the 12th state to embrace same-sex marriage. Minnesota gays and their supporters could not contain their enthusiasm during a 45-minute ceremony featuring Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Gay Minnesotans and their supporters rallied with tears of sadness rolling down their faces two years ago. Today, their faces are covered with tears of elation as the Minnesota Senate voted to allow them to marry. Senators voted 37-30 Monday to remove a state law that bans same-sex marriage. Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Cottage, supported the bill. The vote followed a Thursday 75-59 House vote, leaving Gov. Mark Dayton's signature the only task remaining before gays can marry starting Aug. 1.
ST. PAUL -- Gay Minnesotans and their supporters streamed into the Minnesota Capitol today expecting to witness history. They sang "America" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and celebrated, anticipating senators to approve gay marriage this afternoon. Handfuls of same-sex marriage opponents kneeled in prayer at various spots around the Capitol. There was little doubt under the massive marble dome that senators would join state representatives who Thursday approved a bill overturning an existing law banning same-sex marriages. When that vote happens, the bill only needs Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota political leaders have spent months preparing state budget plans, and eight days before the Legislature must adjourn for the year they announced they have reached agreement on some tax and spend guidelines. Included in the budget framework is that the state would not raise sales taxes on consumer goods, such as clothing, but probably would add taxes businesses pay on sales to other businesses.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's Legislature is tough to comprehend. Just ask some freshmen Democratic senators who recently became confused as green "yes" and red "no" vote lights began flashing on giant tally boards on either side of the Senate chamber when their tax bill vote was being counted. Some Republican senators played games with rookies by pushing their green buttons, looking like they were voting in favor of the bill.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is a vote and a signature away from becoming the 12th state to allow gay marriage. The House voted 75-59 today to eliminate an existing gay-marriage ban in state law. A Senate vote comes Monday and Gov. Mark Dayton says he will sign the bill. Even Republicans who oppose gay marriage say Senate support for the bill is even stronger than in the House. The vote caps years of attempts to allow same-sex marriages. "This is the right thing to do," said Rep. Dan Schoen, DFL-St.
ST. PAUL -- Anticipation. Frustration. Elation. Love. Anger. Patience. Impatience. Today's House vote on gay marriage attracted the range of emotion as Minnesotans began arriving at the Capitol this morning. A midday start was anticipated for debate on a bill that would allow same-sex marriages in the state. A last-minute compromise to clarify that clergy would not be forced to officiate at weddings of same-sex couples convinced supporters that the measure they have sought for years could be on the verge of becoming law. The largest crowd ever was possible inside the Capitol.