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 -- Minnesota's economy is a study in contradictions. So much of the news looks good: near record-low unemployment, overall wage payments rising, few signs of the recession remain. But there also are warning signs: manufacturing, mining and farm economies lag; some parts of Minnesota enjoy better economies than others; home construction is slowing; finding people for some jobs is becoming difficult.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton fared well in the first year of his second and final term. When asked about the past year, he immediately turned to the economy: "Overall, three and a half percent unemployment and projects being announced every day, we have made good progress."
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota State Lottery director resigned Friday, a day after a newspaper reporter questioned him about expenses he charged the state. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Ed Van Petten submitted his resignation to Gov. Mark Dayton's chief of staff. Dayton's office indicated it immediately will launch a search to replace Van Petten.
More than $4 billion for transportation projects is headed from Washington to Minnesota in the next five years, but money is not the big news for state officials. Minnesota’s take is part of a $305 billion funding bill that easily passed the House and Senate late this week. It is the first long-term transportation package Congress has passed in a decade and a rare bipartisan effort in the current Congress. However, Minnesota Department of Transportation officials are quick to point out that the state already planned to get nearly that much federal money.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's budget surplus has ballooned to $1.9 billion, state officials announced Thursday morning. The surplus, more than double what lawmakers had when they finished work in June, drops to $1.2 billion when $665 million is allocated to reserves and to make payments required by state law.
ST. PAUL -- A judicial panel overturned a state commission decision that a crude oil pipeline across Minnesota is needed, at least until the project's environmental impact can be studied. It was not immediately clear what impact Monday's Minnesota Appeals Court decision could have on construction of the Sandpiper pipeline. The decision means that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission cannot issue a "certificate of need" to a subsidiary of Enbridge Energy Partners until the environmental study is complete.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Legislature appears set to finish passing the state budget on Friday. Details of three vetoed budget bills have been worked out and legislators are ready with two other spending measures, leaving only the formality of four legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton signing an agreement on the special legislative session's agenda.
ST.PAUL – Details remain to be worked out before Minnesota leaders are ready for a special legislative session to finish the state budget. Leaders on Tuesday sounded much like they did late Monday, saying they are close, but technicalities remain and they hoped a special session still could be called for Thursday or Friday. A special session is needed because Gov.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House passed an education funding bill along party lines early today, with the Senate planning to take it up before noon, potentially setting up a faceoff between legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton.
Bill Crowder played a bugle Thursday as history, military and political leaders gathered in Gov. Mark Dayton’s office to urge Minnesotans to commemorate 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War by ringing bells on April 9. “Bells have long been ringing in our country for many reasons,” state Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, said. “They commemorate births, deaths, sadness, alarm and warning. They sounded in April of 1865, at least in the North, when the war ended.