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
- 5 years 6 months
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.
ST. PAUL -- The first of what could be many Minnesota court rulings on Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Torrey Westrom gave Lissa Thies a simple request: learn the basics of using his mobile telephone. His Motorola Q is a typical smartphone, capable of surfing the Web, sending and receiving e-mails and handling text messages, besides being used as a telephone. Even to the most technically inclined, the nearly 50 keys are intimidating.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota health officials report seven more Minnesotans died of the flu at a time when fewer cases were reported across the state. "For the second week in a row, we do have some promising indicators that we may be having a downward trend in activity," State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield said. It is too early to say the flu, also known as swine flu, is on the decline, she added. But signs point to decreasing activity in both the Twin Cities and the rest of the state. In the spring, when H1N1 first was identified, the illness was concentrated in the Twin Cities.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Immigrants are important to Minnesota's economy, especially for rural areas, a new report indicates. "Immigration stimulates job creation," according to the business coalition report. "As industries expand and hire new workers, jobs are created to maintain this larger workforce and to supply its needs for goods and services. Without new, young workers, certain sectors of the economy will continue to contract.
ST. PAUL -- The news release begged the question: Why spend up to $40 million on roadway congestion relief in the Twin Cities and only up to $5 million on improving safety of rural roads, where 70 percent of traffic fatalities occur? It is a natural question from a reporter whose work goes to 20 newspapers outside the Twin Cities. "I knew you were going to ask that question, Don," Gov. Tim Pawlenty responded. The governor quickly moved to quell any hint of urban favoritism, saying transportation spending is pretty evenly divided between the Twin Cities and the rest of Minnesota.
ST. PAUL -- Relations between American Indian tribes and the federal government have turned around since Barack Obama became president, tribal leaders said Thursday night after a two-day St.