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 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.
ST. PAUL -- Fifty-two public works projects across Minnesota such as college building renovations and state trails fell victim to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto pen Monday, and legislative leaders say there is little chance lawmakers will send any more projects to him before he leaves office early next year. "He basically massacred the bill," Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Whether Gov. Tim Pawlenty acted legally when he cut $2.7 million from the state budget last summer may rest on whether Minnesota Supreme Court justices think the Legislature has given the governor a right to trim budgets. The state's attorneys told seven high court judges today that Pawlenty had to make the cuts to balance the state budget, as the constitution requires.