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 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.
ST. PAUL - Tuesday is the day Minnesotans find out where Gov. Tim Pawlenty will cut the state budget. Pawlenty and Commissioner Tom Hanson of Minnesota Management and Budget scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference to announce cuts to the state's two-year budget that begins July 1. The Republican governor already has said he plans to cut state aid paid to local governments, will reduce some higher education money and will cut back on health and human services programs.
ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. - Minnesotans get frustrated enough with road construction and paying taxes that they should not have to put up with both when they don't need to, Sen. Amy Klobuchar says. The Minnesota Democrat and other U.S. senators are pushing a bill to require that when any government builds or rebuilds a road with federal money that broadband conduit be installed at the same time.
ST. PAUL - Next year's Minnesota Legislature should be interesting, given that many key lawmakers want to make the jump to governor - or at least are considering it. Rep. Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, opted to leave his job as minority leader even if he just "kicks the tires" for a gubernatorial run. He said it would not be fair to the 47 House Republicans if he were forced to split his time between leading them and running for governor. Another House leader soon may face the same situation, but pretty much no one expects her to step out of her high-profile role.
ST. PAUL - Rep. Marty Seifert steps to the microphone late this morning in what many expect to be the first of many announcements related to Republican governor campaigns. Seifert plans to step down as House Republican leader. It is likely that the Marshall lawmaker will tell reporters that he is exploring a gubernatorial bid, although he could formally announce his candidacy. More announcements are expected as nearly 20 Republicans are thinking about jumping into the race now that Gov.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty will not be around for a third term, but today promised to remain active as the state's chief executive. "This is not a wake," the 48-year-old governor said in announcing he would step down after his second four-year term ends early in 2011. Pawlenty said he has not thought about what his next political step may be, although Republicans across the country like him as a potential presidential contender. "I still have lots of energy and ideas," Pawlenty said to a packed news conference. "But being governor should not be a permanent position for someone.
ST. PAUL - If all Minnesota elections officials followed the lead of the state's largest counties - such as St. Louis, Hennepin and Ramsey - thousands more absentee ballots would have been counted in last November's U.S. Senate election, Norm Coleman's attorney told state Supreme Court justices this morning. The fast-paced, 70-minute hearing featured Coleman and Al Franken attorneys fielding questions from five high court justices about a district court panel's decision to not count thousands of absentee ballots elections officials rejected for a multitude of reasons.
Veterans returning home could find jobs as paramedics under a bill introduced by U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. The Veterans-to-Paramedics Transition Act would streamline civilian paramedic training for returning vets who obtained some military medical experience. "When they signed up to serve there wasn't a waiting line and when they come home and need health care or a job, there shouldn't be a waiting line," Klobuchar said. "Today, we have an abundance of returning veterans who have significant medical training and experience.
ST. PAUL -- A column penned by the assistant Minnesota Senate majority leader may signal how Democrats will react to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unilateral cutting of state budgets. Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, wrote that the Republican governor is improperly using his unallotment powers, the authority in law for him to cut budgets when there is not enough revenue to pay for everything lawmakers approved. "What the crafters of the unallotment law didn't anticipate was a rogue governor who would choose to act in bad faith, as Pawlenty has done," Clark wrote.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's request to overturn a federal law that threw Dakota and Winnebago Indians out of the state can become a way to teach about mistreatment over the years, Native Americans and a state legislator say. The 1863 law banning the two tribes has been replaced with presidential and congressional actions, and Dakota Indians live on four Minnesota reservations, but the law remains on the books. Rep.