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
- 4 years 11 months
SUPERIOR, Wis. -- It was a dark and quiet night. A really quiet night. A little travel trailer and one small tent were the only camping units occupying any of the 62 campsites at Pattison State Park south of Superior on a recent night. The next night was just as lonely. Most people do not experience such quietness in state park campgrounds. Campers tend to wait for the warmest three months of the year to pitch their tents, pull in their trailers or park their massive motor homes in campgrounds.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota motorists will see more orange barrels than ever this summer after state officials Wednesday announced they will spend a record $1.3 billion on transportation projects. Of the 283 projects on the Minnesota Department of Transportation's 2010 list, 217 are on highways. The remaining projects deal with railroads, ports and transit. Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel and other government officials gathered within earshot of the year's biggest project, a $150 million Interstate 494-U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty plans to sign a budget-cutting bill that plugs a third of Minnesota's nearly $1 billion deficit. The House and Senate approved the compromise bill cutting $312 million Monday, mostly with Democratic-Farmer-Laborite votes. After a week-long break that started Monday afternoon, lawmakers will return to St. Paul April 6, preparing to debate a new bill, not yet finished, cutting health and human services programs.
ST. PAUL -- A bill headed to the governor reinstates medical coverage for 70,000 Minnesotans making less than $8,000 per year. The House voted 121-12 and the Senate 50-12 Wednesday to restore the program, but lawmakers scaled back General Assistance Medical Care, which had been slated to disappear April 1. Most voting against the bill were rural lawmakers who said their local hospitals would lose money under it. Rep.
ST. PAUL -- The fight for increasingly scarce state money is getting heated. As lawmakers approved trimming Minnesota spending by $313 million Monday, rural and urban representatives fought over some of the remaining money. "Greater Minnesota gets the short end of everything we do around there," Rep. Rod Hamilton of Mountain Lake said in joining Rep.
ST. PAUL -- The U.S. House-passed health care bill will bring millions of dollars to Minnesota, helping to balance the state budget. Combined with another congressional bill, yet to pass, most of the expected cuts to Minnesota health and human services programs now will not be needed, Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, said. "Finally, the U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's Democrats and Republicans are squabbling not only about who has the best plan to balance the state budget, but even who has a plan. House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, said to the chamber's top Republican: "I'm wondering if your side has developed a plan to balance the state budget." Minority Leader Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, did not promise a full budget-cutting plan, but said Republicans will continue to offer idea and amendments. However, the North Dakota native added, Democrats do not really have a full budget plan, either.
ST. PAUL -- In the simplest terms, Minnesota's seven Supreme Court justices are deciding if the Legislature has full control of state spending, or if the governor has a role once a budget is approved. The decision could affect not only the current state budget, but also could impact the power future governors wield. Specifically, the high court's task is deciding if Gov. Tim Pawlenty acted legally last summer when he cut $5.3 million out of a state-funded dietary program.