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 - Gov. Tim Pawlenty's decision to make unilateral budget cuts could cost up to 4,700 jobs across Minnesota, the state economist told legislative leaders this morning. In a confrontational meeting, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, disputed some of those numbers. She told State Economist Tom Stinson that he undershot the number of jobs that school districts will be forced to cut, perhaps by several hundred. Stinson said up to 600 of the 4,700 job loses would come from schools.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty announces on the first day of Minnesota's new budget cycle just what he will cut from the budget. There should be no surprises, only little changes from what he said he could trim a couple of weeks ago.
ST. PAUL - Katie Sieben sat behind the wheel of a shiny new car, looking ahead to a traffic light. "So I'm going to accelerate going up to the light?" she asked Todd Cook, teaching the Minnesota state senator about environmentally friendly driving. "Shoot," Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, said before Cook could respond. The light was yellow well before she hit the intersection, but she made it through before seeing red.
ST. PAUL - A rural southern Minnesotan and a Twin Cities suburban lawmaker who grew up in rural North Dakota are the main contenders to become Minnesota House Republican leader. Republicans meet tonight in St. Paul to elect a leader, with just 47 of the House's 134 members in their party. Tonight's vote is important because it sets the tone for the 2010 election, when Republicans hope to gain seats on Democratic-Farmer-Laborites. Reps.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unilateral spending cuts, designed to balance Minnesota's budget, affect the poor seeking health care, cities and counties that will lose some state aid and countless others. But the governor reported one complaint overshadows all others he has heard. It does not come from the poor or government officials.
ST. PAUL - Democrats claim Gov. Tim Pawlenty's plan to cut $2.7 billion from the state budget is illegal. Democratic legislative leaders Thursday told the Republican governor's commissioners that Pawlenty is overstepping his legal authority in balancing the budget by himself. "There is some shaky legal ground to do some of the changes you are doing," House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, said to Pawlenty's representatives. He called it abuse of state law. "This whole process just doesn't pass the smell test," Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, said.
ST. PAUL - Health-care reform due to come out of Washington this year looks a lot like what is happening in Minnesota, the state House health leader says. But Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, Thursday said he will watch Congress carefully as it tries to craft a health-care measure that has eluded federal policymakers for decades. In particular, Huntley wants to make sure federal legislation is flexible enough that Minnesota may continue with its own reforms.
ST. PAUL - John Kline used to carry the "football" containing nuclear codes for President Ronald Reagan; now he will carry Republican ideals in the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee. The 28-member Republican Steering Committee Wednesday gave the Minnesota congressman the nod over Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and Joe Wilson of South Carolina as top education and labor Republican. No vote totals were released. Issues in front of the committee are not those Kline ran on when he got into politics - armed services, intelligence and veterans' matters.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty would not need to cut budgets so deeply if he would listen to a state union's ideas, the organization's executive director says. Jim Monroe of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees said that his staff is looking into ways the state can save money. Although the effort is not done, the MAPE leader said, it is producing good prospects.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty today announced plans to cut nearly $2.7 billion from the state budget. The biggest portion of the budget-balancing action was nearly $1.8 billion in delaying state payments to school districts and other school adjustments.