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 -- On Memorial Day weekend, the Minnesota Veterans' Affairs Department will begin to take online registration for a June 13 Vietnam-era veterans' celebration. Veterans' organizations hope to attract people from across the state to the state Capitol grounds to honor Vietnam-era veterans. Registration is optional, but the department asks veterans to sign up at www.mnhonorsvietnamvets.org/registration or call (651) 296-2562 by June 10. Veterans who register will receive a lapel pin when checking in on June 13. The free event, which is open to anyone, will feature a 2 p.m.
ST. PAUL - Roots of the word "allot" go back centuries in English, French and German languages. "Unallot," on the other hand, hardly can be found in a dictionary. But it is the most popular - or unpopular, depending upon a person's political persuasion - in the Minnesota Capitol these days. When Republican Gov.
ST. PAUL - Shouting matches ended the 2009 Minnesota legislative session early Tuesday as lawmakers struggled to balance the state budget. Legislators failed to reach a deal with Gov. Tim Pawlenty, but the Republican governor said he will finish the job. The normally staid Senate adjourned for the year moments after its midnight deadline with Republicans shouting to be allowed to talk about a hastily introduced tax bill. Minutes before adjournment, Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Shouting matches ended the 2009 Minnesota legislative session this morning as lawmakers struggled to balance the state budget. Legislators failed to reach a deal with Gov. Tim Pawlenty, but the Republican governor said he will finish the job. The normally staid Senate adjourned for the year moments after its midnight deadline with Republicans shouting to be allowed to talk about a hastily introduced tax bill. Minutes before adjournment, Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Flood prevention and recovery projects will be fully funded, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty trimmed a public works funding bill, saying legislators want to spend too much. The bill originally proposed spending $361 million, with $300 million coming from money the state would borrow. The governor cut one dozen projects totaling $85 million. "The size of the bill was too big," Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said. Pawlenty's line-item vetoes fell mostly on new construction projects.
ST. PAUL -- Money talk became emotional Sunday as Minnesota representatives sustained two vetoes -- one that ends a health program for the state's poorest and sickest residents and the other that would have raised taxes $1 billion. With the Legislature facing a midnight tonight deadline for adjourning, the House votes cement Gov. Tim Pawlenty's position that he will cut state programs on his own to balance the state budget.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota legislative leaders and Gov. Tim Pawlenty exchanged budget offers Saturday, but as the day ended they appeared little closer to an agreement to end the legislative session than they have been for months. Republican Pawlenty made an offer featuring cutting already-passed spending bills further, including money for local governments and health programs.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota would allow mini-trucks to travel on some county roads, but prohibit drinking in state rest areas under a catch-all transportation bill representatives passed 115-17 Tuesday. Transportation issues not requiring money were folded into the measure, including a proposal by Rep. Brita Sailer, DFL-Park Rapids, to allow farmers and others to drive small trucks on roads in counties that approve. Only county roads could be used. "I'm a little disappointed we are not going far enough with this," Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Transit programs would receive less money under a House-passed bill, part of an effort to balance the state budget. Still, the House transportation finance chairman said, "it is going to keep rural and metro transit operating." The House passed the bill by Rep. Bernie Lieder, DFL-Crookston, 86-45 after about two hours of debate on Saturday. The measure chops $8.4 million from transit funding, both for the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota, for the next two years. Smaller cuts were handed other transportation and public safety programs.
The Minnesota Senate will consider raising all state income taxes, with married couples earning more than $250,000 annually being taxed at a new, higher 9.25 percent rate. Higher income taxes are the key to the Democratic-Farmer-Labor controlled Senate plan that raises taxes $2 billion all told. Today's announcement sets up a three-way tax battle with the House and Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The DFL-controlled House on Monday begin looking at a plan that keeps all income taxes the same except for couples who earn more than $300,000. They would pay 9 percent of their income in taxes.