Gov. Tim Pawlenty released a proposed two-year budget Tuesday that depends on money from a new casino to help erase a projected $700 million deficit. Pawlenty's budget wouldn't raise state taxes, but relies on a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases to balance the budget.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Tuesday used his
State of the State address to call for establishing a university in Rochester, saying it's important to beef up the higher education
offerings in what amounts to a boom town.
A Minnesota Senate committee considers a bill Thursday that would restore some health care benefits for MinnesotaCare, the state's subsidized health insurance program. Two years ago, lawmakers put a $5,000 cap on outpatient services for some adults without children. Some DFL lawmakers say the cap is forcing some low-income Minnesotans to forego needed health care.
Democrats led by Attorney General Mike Hatch
outlined a multi-pronged attack on methamphetamine, a potent
illegal drug responsible for a wave of crime across the state.
Spending on government health care programs in Minnesota is projected to increase 27 percent in the next two-year budget cycle, unless legislators take action to cut costs. Republican leaders say the state must target benefits to the most needy, but DFL leaders caution that the last round of budget cuts may have made the problem worse.
The 84th Minnesota Legislature convened Tuesday with pledges of bipartisanship, followed in the House by a slew of party-line votes. Legislators from both parties say Minnesotans expect them to work together and accomplish something this session. Whether they can accomplish that is still unclear.
The Minnesota House and Senate are narrowly divided. In the House, Republicans have only a one-vote lead. That margin could be tested as early as the first day of the session. Legislative leaders say the close margins will result in more bipartisan cooperation, but there are already some early indications of partisan wrangling.
Retail analysts say holiday sales nationwide have been sluggish. Barring a last-minute shopping boost, the 2004 season will likely be worse than last year. But there are some bright spots such as electronics and luxury items. Minnesota retailers are reporting a mixed bag, ranging from brisk sales to a less than stellar season.
Minnesota campaign regulators slapped a national
Democratic political group with $317,950 in fines Tuesday for
violating state campaign finance disclosure laws, the largest
penalty of its kind issued in Minnesota.
In tit-for-tat calls for ethics investigations,
Republicans and Democrats accused each other Monday of sidestepping
campaign finance laws in the 2004 election.
Reservists and Minnesota National Guard members
deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan would be eligible for state health
care coverage and zero-interest loans under a proposal outlined
Wednesday by Attorney General Mike Hatch and DFL legislators.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty outlined a package of
initiatives Friday that he said would help Minnesota military
members and veterans.
The new $700 million deficit projection is larger than legislative leaders had predicted, and could set the stage for another round of contentious budget talks next session.
Supporters of amending the Minnesota Constitution to ban same-sex marriage say they'll renew their push to get the measure on the ballot. They say they're energized by the passage of similar measures in other states on Election Day.
Senate Minority Leader Dick Day will continue in his leadership post, despite announcing two months ago that he was stepping down. Senate Republicans on Thursday voted to keep Day as minority leader. The Owatonna Republican says he changed his mind after some lobbying from his colleagues. He says his caucus is willing to work with Democrats in the Legislature to avoid a repeat of last session's partisan gridlock.