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 -- Veterans are homeless in larger numbers than other Minnesotans, and Durbin Keeney does not like that. "These are the ones who raise their right hands..." Durbin said Monday, when the state honored the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota and North Dakota governors waged a bit of a war in 2003 and 2004 over hunting laws, but now Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he is willing to help North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven hunt for votes as he runs for the U.S. Senate. "I'd do anything for him," Pawlenty said Monday when asked about Hoeven's run for Washington. "I really like him, respect him admire him. He is the kind of leader our country needs in Washington, D.C. Certainly, I would help him." Pawlenty gave Hoeven an "A-plus-plus" grade. The two Republican governors have not always agreed on everything.
ST. PAUL -- All-terrain-vehicle riders from other states must buy passes to use Minnesota's 2,000 miles of trails. The new law begins on Friday for out-of-state ATV users as a way to help fund trail maintenance. An annual pass costs $21 and may be bought via telephone, online or where hunting and fishing licenses are sold. The new law only affects out-of-state ATV drivers. Minnesotans already must register their ATVs and pay a fee. Snowmobiles also must be registered, whether they are from Minnesota or other states. The passes last a year and may be used on any state-run trail.
ST. PAUL -- New Hampshire's newspapers were kind to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on his inaugural visit as a potential presidential candidate. The Concord Monitor's headline read, "Pawlenty: U.S.
ST. PAUL -- U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a frequently quoted national Republican spokeswoman, pledges to work for a state constitutional amendment limiting Minnesota spending. The Minnesota congresswoman capped a Republican rally in favor of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's amendment proposal this morning.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty may target local governments as he looks for ways to plug continued budget deficits. Shortly after his aides announced that the current budget contains a $1.2 billion hole and the next two-year budget is $5.4 billion short, Pawlenty on Wednesday said his first action could be chopping a state payment due to local governments later this month.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's current state budget will be $1.2 billion in deficit if lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty don't take action, state leaders are learning today. And the state faces a $5.4 billion deficit through 2013. Pawlenty this summer cut $2.7 billion out of the two-year budget that began on July 1, leaving the state to spend $32 billion.
ST. PAUL -- A perennial Minnesota legislative debate about local government aid is expected in the 2010 session, or maybe earlier. The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is making noise about a big fight, and many city officials are concerned that they cannot wait until lawmakers return to the Capitol on Feb. 4.
ST. PAUL -- Santa Claus sometimes must say "no" to a naughty child, but now health officials are saying "no" to him. Two organizations representing department store Santas nationally asked that their members be vaccinated against H1N1 swine flu now because snotty-nosed, and possibly sick, kids breathe on them all day.