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 will veto a public works funding bill a House-Senate conference committee approved Tuesday night, a Republican lawmaker told his colleagues. The main point of contention is money for a Moose Lake sex offender facility. Pawlenty wants $89 million and the Democratic-controlled Legislature is offering $47.5 million. Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, said that the governor's office told him Pawlenty could accept $60.5 million for the facility, but the entire bill likely will be vetoed at the level the committee approved.
ST. PAUL -- Students who change colleges often discover not all of their credits transfer, so a bill backed Tuesday by a Senate committee takes steps to fix that. "The state should reduce the hurdles," Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, said. "The goal is to allow students to transfer credits seamlessly." A bill she authored, similar to one in the House, would require the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to do more to align courses at its 25 two-year colleges and seven state universities so credits transfer more easily.
ST. PAUL -- A state senator's bill designed to help fund a 4-H program in one county could end up hurting them statewide, a fellow senator and a county fair representative warn. Sen. Kathy Saltzman's bill to provide new ways to fund 4-H programs passed out of its first committee Monday, but not before she heard warnings that it could do more harm than good.
ST. PAUL -- A newly revised public works funding bill that would spend $986 million on projects across Minnesota is firm, set in stone, ready to pass both the House and Senate in the next few days. Maybe. Chief legislative negotiators on the issue said late Thursday afternoon that they had done their best to build a public works bill, funded by the state selling bonds, and a deal they just made would be their final work on the issue. While their proposal would spend far more than the $685 million Gov.
ST. PAUL -- A proposal to lift Minnesota's moratorium on new nuclear power plants is in limbo after a Senate committee amended it with what its sponsor called a poison pill. The Senate Energy, Utilities, Technology and Communications Committee on a 9-6 vote Thursday tacked an amendment on the bill with a series of requirements the state and power companies must follow before a nuclear power plant could be built. The requirements, suggested by Sen. John Doll, DFL-Burnsville, included not allowing a new power plant until the federal government provides a place to store nuclear waste.
ST. PAUL -- Hundreds of St. Louis County residents descended on the state Capitol Wednesday, not knowing they would star in one of the year's top political dramas. Dozens attending Duluth and St. Louis County Days sat amid lobbyists as public works funding negotiators gathered for a late-afternoon meeting that senators expected to lay out a framework for a new proposal. An agreement did not come, but the Duluth area had its say. Chief House negotiator Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's budget numbers are a bit better today, but not enough for state officials to celebrate. Minnesota Management and Budget officials this morning are to announce the state faces a $994 million deficit, down from a December prediction of $1.2 billion. The nearly $1 billion shortfall still will be tough for legislators and Gov. Tim Pawlenty to plug because it is just the latest of several budget problems. Pawlenty last summer unilaterally cut $2.7 billion from the current two-year budget, which will spend a bit more than $30 billion.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators voted 45-21 Thursday to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto of a health care program for the poor, even though legislative health leaders are trying to negotiate an agreement with the governor. "I wish the governor had not been so indecisive engaging in this discussion," said Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis. The vote sends the bill back to the House, where Republicans vow to uphold the veto. That vote may come on Monday. In the meantime, negotiations on General Assistance Medical Care continue with the governor's office.
ST. PAUL -- A public works bill appears headed to legislative passage that spends far more than Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants and leaves out some key provisions, including an $89 million sex offender treatment center expansion. The nearly $1 billion bill, funded by the state selling bonds, is not acceptable to Pawlenty, his spokesman said today.