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
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ST. PAUL—Minnesota legislators bounced down a rocky road toward adjournment with the prospect that few of the major issues of the year will be completed. With a majority of issues folded into one 990-page bill, perhaps the largest Minnesota bill ever, Gov. Mark Dayton's threat to veto it means much of three months' legislative work may receive an incomplete grade. As a Sunday midnight constitutional deadline to pass bills this year approached, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said there was no communication with Democrat Dayton's office.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota legislative agriculture committees used a little-known law to put the brakes on a Dayton administration fertilizer regulation rule and gain leverage over the governor. The message sent by two Republican-run committees was that if Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton vetoes an agricultural policy bill, his proposal to limit nitrogen fertilizer will be delayed until a year from now. If Dayton signs the bill, the agriculture chairman will allow the fertilizer rule to be implemented. The weekend committee actions have two significant implications.
ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed four bills, including some that received quite a bit of attention. Most of his Saturday, May 19, actions were expected. One was a bill Republicans pushed to allow Enbridge Energy to construct a replacement for its northern Minnesota Line 3 crude oil pipeline. Republicans said the bill is needed because Enbridge is ready to go and there is no need to wait for the Public Utilities Commission to approve it. The commission is expected to consider the pipeline next month.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's governor and legislative leaders began negotiating finances and policy just over 24 hours before their constitutional deadline. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton gave the Republican-controlled Legislature an offer Saturday night, May 19, the first movement after three months of the legislative session. And lawmakers were considering taking up the major budget-policy bill late Saturday even without a deal with Dayton.
ST. PAUL — A deadly Texas school shooting has turned Minnesota safe school legislation into a top priority. The Friday, May 18, shooting prompted Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders hours later to push legislation that would provide money to school districts to spend as they think is most appropriate to make their buildings safer.
ST. PAUL — The radio host asked a reporter: "What do we know about things happening at the Legislature?" Simple question. Not such a simple answer. The fact is that political reporters know as much as anyone other than high-level legislators, and rank-and-file lawmakers often come to reporters for information as a legislative session winds down. But, frankly, closed-door meetings among legislative leaders and the governor near the end of nearly every legislative session means the public is left in the dark until the legislative deed is done.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Legislature has three days left to pass bills, and nearly all major legislation remains in limbo. On Thursday, May 17, a Republican-written tax bill received a veto stamp, in front of a couple dozen school children, as Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton fulfilled a promise to reject the bill until lawmakers approve $138 million in school aid.
ST. PAUL—Legislation that would affect every Minnesota taxpayer appears headed toward a veto. A separate measure to fund public works projects failed to pass the Senate, Wednesday, May 16. If the governor follows through with his tax bill veto threat, that means two of the Republican-controlled Legislature's key bills may need to be rewritten, with the GOP facing a midnight Sunday constitutional deadline to pass legislation.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed a bill that requires doctors to give abortion patients the option to view the fetus' ultrasound. In a Wednesday, May 16, letter to legislators Dayton said the Legislature should not tell doctors what to do. "The bill interferes with the doctor-patient relationship, legislating the private conversations that occur about a legal medical procedure," Dayton wrote.
ST. PAUL—There is no proof that state money to help low-income Minnesota families afford child care ended up in the hands of terrorists, but the mere mention of it causes concern among many legislators and the Somali community. "I think it has a national security implication, I really do," former state investigator Scott Stillman told a Senate human services committee Tuesday, May 15.