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 - Health-care reform due to come out of Washington this year looks a lot like what is happening in Minnesota, the state House health leader says. But Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, Thursday said he will watch Congress carefully as it tries to craft a health-care measure that has eluded federal policymakers for decades. In particular, Huntley wants to make sure federal legislation is flexible enough that Minnesota may continue with its own reforms.
ST. PAUL - Democrats claim Gov. Tim Pawlenty's plan to cut $2.7 billion from the state budget is illegal. Democratic legislative leaders Thursday told the Republican governor's commissioners that Pawlenty is overstepping his legal authority in balancing the budget by himself. "There is some shaky legal ground to do some of the changes you are doing," House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, said to Pawlenty's representatives. He called it abuse of state law. "This whole process just doesn't pass the smell test," Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, said.
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle appeared before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, asking that his state get its share of money from a federal economic recovery package. Wisconsin and Minnesota economies are hurting, so their leaders feel a need to pressure Congress to return their citizens more federal money than they receive now. To the west, in North Dakota, the story is different.