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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Minnesota's soaring home foreclosure rate, a top issue a year ago, has eased a bit in the Twin Cities, but not so much in other parts of the state. And as the foreclosure situation swells, especially in rural Minnesota, options are scarce. Ed Nelson of the Minnesota Home Ownership Center said that those outside the Twin Cities are more likely to find fewer options to get out of foreclosure because, ironically, they often did everything right when picking their mortgages. The housing crisis began with sub-prime mortgages that were issued without enough collateral.
Rep. Paul Marquart told fellow House-Senate tax negotiators that Jackson County, Minn., was named after territorial legislator Henry Jackson. "That's valuable information," Sen. Tom Bakk deadpanned, before informing the committee: "I spent a summer working for St.
In the next few days, Minnesotans will see federal economic stimulus funds in the form of orange barrels. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has scheduled the start of many federally funded highway projects in the next week. "MnDOT identified more than 60 projects and requested bids on enough to meet the federal requirements in about half the time required," Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel said.
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.
Students across Minnesota suffer bullying in school, a leading cause of suicide, say backers of a bill requiring schools to write new anti-bullying policies. The Senate education committee Tuesday approved the measure on a split voice vote telling schools to write policies prohibiting "harassment, bullying, intimidation and violence" related to a student's race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age or physical characteristics. The bill now faces a full Senate vote. Approval came
Highlights of the three 2010-2011 Minnesota state budget plans: Gov.
Local Minnesota governments may not be happy with the way things are going this year at the Capitol - with big state aid cuts coming - but counties are thrilled with Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposal to remove one burden from them. In the revised budget plan the governor released Tuesday, he proposed that the state take back responsibility for housing short-term offenders. For years, the state has forced counties to hold prisoners serving less than a half year, but did not pay counties the full cost of keeping those inmates. Not all counties have enough cells to accommodate the extra load. St.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty's newest budget plan, released Tuesday, increases education, courts and other spending, despite a worsening economy. And he still opposes raising state taxes, although Democrats say his policies would force nearly $2 billion higher local property taxes. News early this month that the budget slipped $2 billion deeper into deficit was more than offset by federal economic stimulus money, so his new budget plan differs relatively little from his first proposal.
Non-profit organizations, county assessors and the state have crafted a compromise that could allow charities to continue being exempt from property taxes. If the bill heard for the first time Wednesday becomes law, more than 4,000 properties owned by 1,700 non-profit organizations could avoid paying property taxes. Those involved in the bill's draft met 13 times and rewrote the measure two dozen times - and came up with a bill that puts into law what most counties already do. A late 2007 state Supreme Court ruling "sent shockwaves through the non-profits," Rep.
Only the rich will be able to send their children to college if Minnesota chops higher education funding too much, a student told a University of Minnesota Wednesday student rally. Parents' dreams of sending children to college have "become a nightmare of excessive debt," Mike McBride of the University of Minnesota Morris told about 200 other students rallying to preserve college funding. The state Capitol rally featured speakers from each University of Minnesota campus, all urging policymakers to keep budget cuts to a minimum as the state faces what is expected to be a $7 billion budget def