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Tom Hanson

Sep 14, 2012

Dayton: Campaigner in chief

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton managed to draw a large crowd to a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis just ahead of the annual Twin Cities Pride Festival. The purpose was to raise money for Minnesotans United for All Families, the main campaign in opposition to a proposed ballot initiative.

Mar 23, 2012

Adjournment fever pandemic strikes Capitol

The conventional wisdom from the start was that Session 2012 would be a short one. A healthy budget surplus plus newly redrawn legislative districts meant less work to be done at the Capitol and more to be done back home, where some lawmakers will face intra-party endorsement challenges and others have to get to know a daunting amount of new territory.

Jan 18, 2012

GOP eyes phase-out of business property tax

It has long been the bane of Minnesota’s business community, and this legislative session, both Republican majorities at the Capitol are looking to do away with it once and for all.

Nov 2, 2011

Pogemiller’s appointment to Office of Higher Ed ends storied legislative career

No one seemed to see Larry Pogemiller’s departure coming. Not even him. Gov. Mark Dayton announced late last week that the Minneapolis senator of nearly 30 years would move to the Office of Higher Education to replace former Director Sheila Wright, who resigned suddenly in September.

Sep 16, 2011

Lobbyists got more gray hairs than victories in 2011 session

At the close of a news conference in July called by Republican legislative leaders to discuss the $11 billion health and human services bill, former DFL House Speaker Bob Vanasek offered some pointed criticism to Republicans David Hann and Jim Abeler from the back of the room.

Sep 14, 2011

Latest revenue update signals trouble ahead

Although the state won’t issue its next economic forecast until early December, the outlook for the state budget is growing increasingly gloomy.

Aug 26, 2011

2012 may bring Budget Showdown II

The February 2011 budget forecast that knocked $1.2 billion off the state's recent budget deficit came with no shortage of caveats. Nearly half the rosier revenue picture was attributable to predicted capital gains collections, which are notoriously volatile.

Aug 17, 2011

ALEC’s influence surges in Minnesota

During the early part of her two-plus decades in the state Legislature, retired Republican Sen. Pat Pariseau remembers being just one of a handful of Minnesota legislators who could call themselves members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Jul 22, 2011

Lobbyists scramble to digest budget

Some bills were only posted online in the early hours of Wednesday morning, just hours — or minutes — before they passed. By morning they were signed into law by the governor. Now some lobbyists, many of whom spend long days and nights at the Capitol during session, are scrambling to understand the budget bills’ implications for their clients.

Jul 20, 2011

Four veteran insiders offer a view of past state negotiations

Governor steps up his role in stumping for DFL candidates, causes Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton managed to draw a large crowd — around 500 attendees in all — to a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis in June just ahead of the annual Twin Cities Pride Festival. The event was billed as the “first-ever Governor’s Pride Reception,” ...

Jul 8, 2011

Onset of state shutdown fails to spur negotiations forward

Republican leaders seemed to come out of the negotiating room after the holiday weekend with a renewed sense of vigor. Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and House Speaker Kurt Zellers addressed reporters after an hourlong budget meeting on Tuesday — the first since talks collapsed and government went into shutdown mode — and repeated their caucuses’ “no new taxes” declaration.

Jun 15, 2011

Rising GOP tide lifted some lobbyists’ boats

Members of the Capitol lobbying corps could have been excused for thinking they were in the wrong building at the start of the 2011 legislative session. A new administration and 60 new legislators took office in St. Paul, and a new complement of Republican leaders and chairs took the place of DFLers in both legislative chambers. The Capitol building itself was just about the only thing that resemb[...]

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