For Senate Leader Bakk, Session's End Exposes DivisionsAll eyes heading into this year's legislative session were on new House Speaker Kurt Daudt, under pressure to hold together 71 fellow Republicans back in power and eager to slash government spending.
Not There Yet: Minnesota Leaders Hole Up For Budget TalksMinnesota's top lawmakers are rotating in and out of closed-door meetings in search of a state budget compromise. Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk met into the night Wednesday and planned to hold additional talks Thursday.
Legislature Preparing To Vote On State Lottery RestrictionsMinnesota lawmakers are preparing to vote on a bill suspending Internet-based state lottery tickets. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said Tuesday he'd hold the vote soon, and House Speaker Kurt Daudt said he expected his chamber would do the same.
Boat Diplomacy: Capitol's Top 3 Headed On Joint Fishing TripMinnesota's center of political power is moving north for the weekend. Gov. Mark Dayton, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and House Speaker Kurt Daudt plan to share a boat Saturday on Lake Vermilion for the annual fishing opener.
Under Construction: Minnesota Leaders Scurry To Build BudgetBreak out the hard hats: the real hammering in Minnesota's construction-zone Capitol is about to start. There's less than three weeks to the May 18 session adjournment deadline. So the pressure is on to nail down a deal on a new state budget and the fate of a nearly $1.9 billion surplus.
Senate Democrats Stress Education, Reserves In Budget PlanMinnesota Senate Democrats produced a two-year budget outline Friday that would commit $555 million more for education programs and sock $250 million extra into state reserves, a framework that lands them between the ambitions of Gov. Mark Dayton and majority House Republicans.
Top Minnesota Legislators Seek Internal Umpire On Bill CostsMinnesota lawmakers are moving ahead with a plan to swap out executive branch fiscal umpires who price out bills with an agency internal to the Legislature. The drive to put the power in a legislative unit is being led by House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk.
Education Advocates Duel Over Teacher Layoff BillsA move to minimize the role of seniority in teacher layoff decisions continued to draw heavy debate in its first Senate test. House Republicans and at least one Democratic senator want evaluations to play a role in the decision to lay off educators when school budgets are tight.
Calmer Tone Heard From Dayton, Bakk In Dispute Over SalariesLast week's confrontation over Minnesota agency commissioner pay gave way Monday to a calmer tone between two key Democrats in the middle of it, Gov. Mark Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk.
Lawmakers Could Open Bars Late For All-Star GameA Minnesota House panel is considering temporarily changing state law to let bars stay open until 4 a.m. when the All-Star Game comes to town this July. The new closing time would pave the way for revelers in Hennepin County to celebrate America's national pastime for two extra hours.
Senators Backs Higher Bar For Voter Amendments Proposed amendments to Minnesota's Constitution would be less frequent under a proposal backed by a state Senate committee. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk told the Senate State Government Committee Monday that it should be harder to change the state constitution.
Lawmakers Eye Higher Bar To Constitutional ChangesMinnesota lawmakers who saw colleagues put several hot-button political issues on the statewide ballot in 2012 are now mulling proposals that would make it harder to do that again.