Don Davis / Forum News Service
ST. PAUL -- Dessert is pretty important to Paul Torkelson. As strange as it sounds, that is one of the major holdups in getting legislative work done this year. Torkelson, a Republican state representative from Hanska, famously calls a public works spending bill, to be financed by the state selling bonds, the "dessert" of the legislative session. That has drawn attacks from Democrats who think bonding is a main course.
ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota Senate committee supported a pilot project for vehicles that drive themselves, but on the same day Reuters news service reported that things are not going well for some of the vehicles in California.
ST. PAUL -- Long lines and angry Minnesotans trying to attend March 1 precinct caucuses may lead to the state adopting a presidential primary election. "I don't think anybody really saw that coming," Rep. Tim Sanders, R-Blaine, said Wednesday about the packed caucuses. "What we ran into is we were not adequately prepared."
ST. PAUL -- Nearly all Minnesota lawmakers say the state should extend unemployment benefits to laid-off Iron Range workers, but the state House failed to provide the help on its opening day Tuesday
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's state revenues appear to be down, a state report shows this morning. Minnesota Management and Budget, the state's finance agency, said the projected surplus is $900 million for the current two-year budget cycle. Late last year, the state reported a $1.2 billion surplus. However, the finance agency declared that the budget outlook is stable, despite slower economic growth.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton plans to recruit fellow governors this weekend to help convince the president to fight the dumping of foreign cheap steel in this country. "We are going to push on the issue of restricting foreign steel imports," Dayton told reporters Wednesday shortly after talking to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad about the issue.
ST. PAUL -- Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman has throat cancer. Coleman posted on his Facebook page Monday morning that he is being treated by doctors at Mayo Clinic and in the Twin Cities. "It is clear that my cancer, while serious, is very treatable and the prognosis is extremely positive," he said. Within minutes of the posting, friends began reacting, wishing him good luck.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislative leaders succeeded early Saturday to pass the final piece of the state budget. The central issue was a controversial agriculture and environment finance bill that environmentalists said was too weak. After senators voted to change the bill, the Republican-controlled House restored the measure to its original form, sending it back to the Senate. The Senate took three votes on the $780 million legislation before accepting the original bill. It eliminates the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Citizens' Board, which makes pollution-related decisions.
St. :Paul-Minnesota senators at midday today delayed public debate on a bill funding environment and agriculture programs, the most controversial part of a historic special legislative session. Senate Republicans wanted time to discuss the bill in private, so the Senate recessed for that and to allow members to get lunch. Some of the most liberal Senate members said the agriculture-environment legislation would weaken environmental protections.
State officials estimate that 326,170 Minnesotans live within a half mile of railroad tracks that carry crude oil, a distance often known as the danger zone. People within a half mile of tracks usually will be evacuated if an oil train could explode or catch fire after a derailment.