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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One south Washington County-area Republican legislator supports civil unions as a step short of full marriage for gay couples, but a prominent local former GOP lawmaker said that doesn't go far enough. Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, joined a handful of other GOP House members and one Democrat Wednesday to propose civil union legislation that would give gay couples the same rights as married couples. Such a move is "supported by a vast majority of Minnesotans," Rep.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Legislature is famous for deciding major issues near the end of each year's session. Expect 2013 to be no different. So far, Gov. Mark Dayton has signed just one major bill into law, and eight minor ones, out of 3,172 that the 201 lawmakers have introduced. That means there will be a lot of public and private debate by the Legislature's constitutionally mandated May 20 adjournment date. "The budget will be the big push," said Sen.
Two Twin Cities schools' future rests in legislators' hands. A East Metro Integration District board governing Crosswinds school in Woodbury and Harambee in Maplewood decided to give away the facilities, but Minnesota Management and Budget has ruled that the only thing it can do without legislative approval is to sell the buildings.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House will debate guns. The House public safety committee passed a watered-down gun regulation bill on a 10-8 vote Thursday night, with the House floor the next stop for the controversial issue. The bill contains several noncontroversial provisions to keep guns out of the hands of people who are not supposed to own them, but it also includes a contentious requirement that purchasers at gun shows must have background checks.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans will be able to shop for health insurance through a state marketplace beginning Oct. 1, but may not see savings for a couple of years. Minutes after Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday signed a bill into law establishing the marketplace, to be known as MNsure, he said that it eventually will save Minnesotans money, but not until 2015 or later. Many cost savings will come from a shift in how Minnesotans get health care, the governor said.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota schools would be the biggest beneficiaries of a state House Democratic budget proposal that goes beyond the governor's plan to increase taxes on the rich. Minnesota House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, unveiled a budget outline Tuesday that accepts Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton heard the complaints and is revising the tax reform proposal he announced six weeks ago. Gone is a business-to-business sales tax that drew most of the ire.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans either will get a better deal on health insurance or they will face problems if the Legislature and governor agree on a new way for 1.3 million Minnesotans to buy health insurance. That is how the debate boils down about a bill the Democrat-controlled House Monday night approved 72-58 over Republican protests. Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is doing better than most neighboring states, Gov. Mark Dayton told legislators and Minnesotans Wednesday night in his third State of the State address. And it is doing better than two years ago, he added. "Minnesota's job growth in 2012 was the 12th best among all 50 states; and we outperformed three of our four neighbors," Dayton said during a 48-minute speech that was politely received by lawmakers. "Iowa ranked 30th best; South Dakota was 44th." He continued a rivalry with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, saying Wisconsin "helped bring up the rear at 42nd.
ST. PAUL -- Sami Rahamim delivered a powerful message to Minnesota legislators: Don't let other youths suffer through the shooting deaths of their fathers. The son of the Minneapolis' Accent Signage owner, killed in a mass shooting last year, offered his support Tuesday to gun-control bills Minnesota legislators are considering. "My dad lived the American dream, but died the American nightmare," the 17-year-old said about Reuven Rahamim, who built Accent Signage into a nationally known sign maker before he was killed by a gunman Sept.