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council approves $14,000 raise for minnesota lawmakers


st. paul, minn. — minnesota lawmakers will get a hefty raise after a newly created citizen council voted to increase the legislature's pay by 45 percent.the legislative salary council voted 13-1 friday to increase lawmaker's pay to $45,000, their first raise since 1999. that's up from $31,000, a sum that doesn't include daily expenses and travel reimbursements that can add thousands of dollars to their paychecks.the raise takes effect july 1.minnesota voters created the citizen council in november by approving a constitutional amendment that removed lawmakers' power to set their own pay. it came after years of stalled efforts at the legislature to increase pay amid fear of political backlash.but the legislature still has to approve the extra state $2.8 million of state money necessary to c






scholarships target minnesota state students in high-demand fields


students training for careers in four high-demand fields will be eligible for $2,500 scholarships next fall at minnesota state community and technical colleges.the new workforce development scholarships will be offered to 400 students in programs in advanced manufacturing, health care services, agriculture and information technology, according to an announcement tuesday by the minnesota state colleges and universities system.last year, the minnesota legislature approved $1 million in state funds to create the scholarship program. college officials say they’re also working with business and industry to raise additional funds, including a $30,000 grant from the minnesota precision manufacturing association.the scholarships are designed for new students enrolling this fall in associate degree






scholarships target minnesota state students in high-demand fields


students training for careers in four high-demand fields will be eligible for $2,500 scholarships next fall at minnesota state community and technical colleges.the new workforce development scholarships will be offered to 400 students in programs in advanced manufacturing, health care services, agriculture and information technology, according to an announcement tuesday by the minnesota state colleges and universities system.last year, the minnesota legislature approved $1 million in state funds to create the scholarship program. college officials say they're also working with business and industry to raise additional funds, including a $30,000 grant from the minnesota precision manufacturing association.the scholarships are designed for new students enrolling this fall in associate degree






dayton's court fight with gop mirrors standoffs in other states


a growing legal brawl between minnesota’s legislature and its governor has cast the state’s elected leader into uncharted waters with no clear path to settling a fundamental dispute about the state constitution and the exercise of political power.but minnesota is far from the only state where political dysfunction is confounding civic progress — or spilling into the courtroom. in recent years, the kind of bare-knuckle clash that fomented minnesota’s current crisis has become commonplace around the country as state-level politicians grapple with the same kind of vehement partisanship that also prevails in washington.dfl gov. mark dayton’s recent line-item veto of legislative funding is a first for minnesota, as is the republican-controlled legislature’s subsequent lawsuit asking a judge to






fixes for tax filing, license system on tap for session


st. paul, minn. (ap) — minnesota lawmakers return to the capitol on tuesday with plenty of work to do and no guarantee they’ll finish it.the legislature’s work will hinge on an updated estimate of the state’s financial status that is due out by the first week of march. it could be slowed by the simmering legal battle surrounding republican state sen. michelle fischbach, the new lieutenant governor who is fighting to maintain her spot — and the gop’s one-seat majority — in the senate.here’s a look at what’s on tap at the capitol for the three-month session:tax conformitymost read storiessale! save up to 90% on subscriptions!legislative leaders are unanimous that a top priority is aligning minnesota’s tax code with the recent federal tax overhaul.the so-called tax conformity is an annual tas






gov. dayton's line-item veto of legislature's budget upheld


the minnesota supreme court has upheld gov. mark dayton's line-item veto of the legislature's operating budget.thursday's decision hands dayton a major legal victory as he seeks to rework costly tax breaks and other measures he signed into law this spring as part of a new state budget. and it leaves the legislature on uncertain financial footing.the state's high court says dayton's veto complied with the law, and that the state constitution does not allow the courts to order funding for the legislature without an appropriation.the decision overturns a lower court ruling that deemed dayton's action unconstitutional.the legislature took initial steps earlier thursday to free up enough money to continue paying members and staff. top lawmakers say they may still run out of money in early 2018.






minnesota legislature subcommittee rejects state unions' contracts


a legislative panel on thursday rejected contracts that cover 30,000 people who work for the state of minnesota.the subcommittee on employee relations vote was 6-4 along party lines, with republicans voting to reject and dflers voting to approve the contracts with the minnesota association of professional employees (mape) and afscme council 5.the contracts were too lucrative, the subcommittee said; the deals call for raises of 2 percent in 2017 and 2.25 percent in 2018, include cost savings on health care and are within the operating budgets approved by the legislature.the move drew sharp rebukes from both labor and management.“the chair of the subcommittee [rep. marion o’neill, r-maple lake] is somebody that got a 45 percent raise last year,” said richard kolodziejski, public affairs and






minnesota state proposes 'modest but necessary' tuition increases


students at the seven minnesota state universities would face a 3.9 percent, or $272, increase in tuition this fall, under a proposed budget released friday by the minnesota state system.at the same time, average tuition at the state’s two-year colleges would rise by 1 percent, or $48 a year, to $4,815 a year. it would be the first time the rate has increased in five years.at the four-year universities, the new average tuition would be $7,288 a year.the proposal, which was posted on the system’s website friday, describes the new rates as “modest but necessary tuition increases.”the proposal would, in effect, return tuition at the two-year colleges to the same rate that was in effect in the 2012-13 school year. that rate was frozen by state law until last year, when the state legislature ma






minnesota state proposes 'modest but necessary' tuition increases


students at the seven minnesota state universities would face a 3.9 percent, or $272, increase in tuition this fall, under a proposed budget released friday by the minnesota state system.at the same time, average tuition at the state’s two-year colleges would rise by 1 percent, or $48 a year, to $4,815 a year. it would be the first time the rate has increased in five years.at the four-year universities, the new average tuition would be $7,288 a year.the proposal, which was posted on the system’s website friday, describes the new rates as “modest but necessary tuition increases.”the proposal would, in effect, return tuition at the two-year colleges to the same rate that was in effect in the 2012-13 school year. that rate was frozen by state law until last year, when the state legislature ma






tax changes are top priority as minnesota legislature convenes


minnesota lawmakers will return to st. paul on tuesday with a complex to-do list for the short legislative session, with three months to reconfigure the state tax code, decide how much to pay for infrastructure upkeep, and try to improve how sexual harassment is handled at the capitol.to check off some of those items, the republican-led house and senate will have to find common ground with dfl gov. mark dayton amid election-year politics and following a bruising legal battle. dayton and gop leaders spent half of last year fighting in court after the governor vetoed the legislature’s budget. the legislature sued but the minnesota supreme court ultimately ruled it was within dayton’s power to do so.that leaves legislators needing to immediately draft a new budget bill to allow them to keep o






are visionary republicans history in our state?


business has been brisk at the star tribune editorial board’s history desk — and not only because this newspaper will reach a big milestone birthday in a few days.this month also marks the 50th birthday of the metropolitan council, the minnesota pollution control agency and the state department of human rights. on june 1 comes the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the state sales tax — which would have happened in may 1967, but for the fact that the legislature needed a special session and the override of a gubernatorial veto to put it into law.that was a republican — er, conservative — legislature, mind you, knocking down the veto of a republican governor, harold levander. (minnesota’s legislature operated without party designation for 60 years, from 1913 to 1973, but by the late 1960s






licensing board strengthens conduct standards for minnesota law officers


minnesota’s police licensing agency updated its standards of professional conduct thursday for the first time since 1995, broadening the list of offenses that can bring an officer before the board for a discipline review.in a unanimous vote, the peace officer standards and training board added assault, domestic assault and drunken driving — all misdemeanors — to the list of convictions that can trigger a state licensing review.the changes will go through a state administrative rule-making process, or be adopted as law by the minnesota legislature.board officials agreed late last year to re-examine the state’s conducts standards after the star tribune published an investigation showing that hundreds of minnesota law enforcement officers have been convicted of serious offenses in the last 20






minnesota's credit rating stabilized after legislative funding deal


a credit ratings agency that raised concerns over a legal battle between gov. mark dayton and the minnesota legislature has removed the state from a watch list, saying it is again confident about minnesota’s aa+ rating.s&p global ratings said friday that it believes the state will be able to pay all of its debts, including $8 million in annual bond payments on the new senate office building. those payments had been in question after dayton used a line-item veto to kill funding for the house and senate and the legislature refused to meet the governor’s demands for restoring the budget.a temporary agreement reached by the two sides and approved by a judge this week will continue funding for the house and senate through oct. 1. in a statement, s&p said it believes that’s enough time to resolv






minnesota projected to have $188 million budget deficit


minnesota's political leaders say that a $188 million budget deficit over the next 18 months is cause for concern but not panic.state budget officials attributed the shortfall, identified in a new state economic forecast released tuesday, to slower-than-expected economic growth along with tax and spending decisions made by the legislature earlier this year.the forecast found that minnesota has continued to add jobs and hold its low unemployment rate over the last year. but growth has nevertheless been slower than expected here and across the country, and budget experts are uncertain about how new federal policies on taxes, trade and immigration could impact the state.meanwhile, dfl gov. mark dayton and republican majorities in the state legislature used much of the $1.65 billion surplus pr






minnesota's credit rating stabilized after legislative funding deal


a credit ratings agency that raised concerns over a legal battle between gov. mark dayton and the minnesota legislature has removed the state from a watch list, saying it is again confident about minnesota’s aa+ rating.s&p global ratings said friday that it believes the state will be able to pay all of its debts, including $8 million in annual bond payments on the new senate office building. those payments had been in question after dayton line-item vetoed funding for the house and senate and the legislature refused to meet the governor’s demands to restore the legislative budget.a temporary agreement reached by the two sides and approved by a judge this week will continue funding for the house and senate through oct. 1. in a statement, s&p said it believes that’s enough time to resolve th






u of m proposal would freeze resident tuition for extra state money


the university of minnesota is offering to freeze tuition for state residents next year in exchange for a $10 million increase in state funding.under the plan, the u says it would forgo preliminary plans to raise the undergraduate tuition rate by up to 2 percent if the state legislature approves the extra money.the board of regents on thursday endorsed the proposal, which was recommended by president eric kaler.the u drafted the resolution to try to make up for a projected drop in state funding next year.last year, the minnesota legislature approved a $32 million increase for university for the current school year, but reduced that amount by $10 million for 2018-2019. without those funds, the u says that a combination of spending cuts and tuition hikes would be needed to "maintain core ope






reports reveal tobacco industry lobbying, election spending as legislature consi


the tobacco industry spent at least $486,000 trying to influence minnesota politics and government in 2016 and the first part of 2017, according to documents filed with attorney general lori swanson and obtained by the star tribune. the minnesota jobs coalition, a gop-aligned group that spent heavily last year to help elect republicans to the legislature, received $100,000 from philip morris -- maker of the marlboro cigarette brand -- during the period ending march 1 of this year, according to the documents.  the disclosures -- a requirement of the 1998 tobacco litigation settlement with the state of minnesota -- come as lawmakers are considering an end to an automatic, annual tax increase on cigarettes enacted in 2013. the bill is included in a major tax package that passed the minnesota






why i did it: gov. mark dayton on his dispute with the legislature


people who ask about my decision to line-item-veto the minnesota house and senate’s appropriations are mostly concerned about what i did. the more important question is: why did i do it?i don’t want to permanently defund the house and senate. i’m not engaging in some petty retaliation for the legislature’s last-minute shenanigans.what i am doing is defending the integrity of the state of minnesota: our state’s financial integrity, the integrity of our state’s professional teaching standards and the integrity of the way decent minnesotans must treat other decent minnesotans if we are all to succeed together.when i became governor in january 2011, our state government faced a projected $6.2 billion budget deficit in the upcoming biennium. since then, we have worked very hard to restore minne






gordon voss, who represented blaine in the minnesota house, dies in crash


gordon voss arrived at the minnesota legislature with a ph.d. in mechanical engineering. but he soon made a name for himself as a whiz on a range of other complicated topics, including the tortuous realm of property taxes.“of all the legislators i’ve worked with, i wouldn’t be at all surprised if he had the highest iq,” said joel michael, who has worked in minnesota house research for four decades. “he was one of the … quickest learners that i’ve ever been associated with.”voss, a dfler who represented blaine in the house for 15 years, died june 21 in a wayzata car crash. he was 79.he is perhaps best known as the namesake of the “voss report,” still published by the minnesota department of revenue, which examines property taxes as a share of income. the report illustrated that the tax burd






legislature says it will shut down by august if legal battle with dayton continu


gov. mark dayton’s veto of the budgets of the minnesota house and senate will force them to shut down operations and furlough hundreds of workers by the end of august, according to new court documents filed thursday in the legislature’s lawsuit against the governor.the clash between the executive and legislative branches of state government heads to court monday, when attorneys representing the legislature will argue that dayton’s action was unconstitutional and could put the state’s finances at risk. dayton’s legal team, meanwhile, will contend that the republican-majority legislature trapped the dfl governor into signing budget bills he believed would harm the state, leaving him with little recourse other than his veto power.in the legal briefs, the legislature asks ramsey county distric






mn legislature skimps on higher ed funding


today's quiz is about state higher education funding. which state's governments, state plus local, spent the least per student at their public two-year community and technical colleges in 2013-14: north dakota, nebraska, iowa, kansas, wisconsin or minnesota? if you guessed minnesota, you're right — and even if you're not surprised at this state's cellar spot in these standings, you ought to be embarrassed by the numbers. wisconsin's per-student spending led the region at $12,432; north dakotans and nebraskans both invested nearly $7,800; kansas was at $6,700; iowa, $5,590.and minnesota? $3,876.the story is much the same at state universities and the university of minnesota. the state that the late gov. rudy perpich branded "the brainpower state" ranked consistently among the top 10 in per






with gop leading legislature, its allies reap benefits


sometimes it’s money straight from state coffers. other times it’s a tweak to a narrowly focused regulation. with republicans in charge of the minnesota legislature, their allies are seeing priorities elevated at the capitol.republicans are trying to use their state house and senate majorities to re-engineer minnesota government in a cheaper, leaner, more business-friendly direction. but they are also pushing for a host of policy changes — tax cuts and credits, subsidies and regulatory relief — that would benefit traditionally gop-aligned sectors like insurance, energy, agribusiness, homebuilding and other industries.in some cases, the help extends to a single company. like a manufacturer in northwestern minnesota, or a shrimp farm in the southwest.“we can’t pretend like a company can’t ma






dayton, legislative leaders make cases over funding


st. paul, minn. — a minnesota judge is considering whether gov. mark dayton's veto of the legislature's funding was unconstitutional.the bitter legal dispute between the democratic governor and republican-controlled legislature had its first hearing in ramsey county court. chief judge john guthmann is also consider an agreement between the two sides to temporarily fund the legislature through october while the case plays out.it's unclear when a decision may come.dayton zeroed out the legislature's funding last month to force lawmakers to rework a $650 million tax bill and other measures.an attorney for the legislature argued it was a blatant violation of separation of powers. but dayton's attorney says the governor has broad authority to veto appropriations.






allies reaping benefits with gop in charge of legislature


sometimes it’s money straight from state coffers. other times it’s a tweak to a narrowly focused regulation. with republicans in charge of the minnesota legislature, their allies are seeing priorities elevated at the capitol.republicans are trying to use their state house and senate majorities to re-engineer minnesota government in a cheaper, leaner, more business-friendly direction. but they are also pushing for a host of policy changes — tax cuts and credits, subsidies and regulatory relief — that would benefit traditionally gop-aligned sectors like insurance, energy, agribusiness, homebuilding and other industries.in some cases, the help extends to a single company. like a manufacturer in northwestern minnesota, or a shrimp farm in the southwest.“we can’t pretend like a company can’t ma






with gop in charge of legislature, its allies reap benefits


sometimes it’s money straight from state coffers. other times it’s a tweak to a narrowly focused regulation. with republicans in charge of the minnesota legislature, their allies are seeing priorities elevated at the capitol.republicans are trying to use their state house and senate majorities to re-engineer minnesota government in a cheaper, leaner, more business-friendly direction. but they are also pushing for a host of policy changes — tax cuts and credits, subsidies and regulatory relief — that would benefit traditionally gop-aligned sectors like insurance, energy, agribusiness, homebuilding and other industries.in some cases, the help extends to a single company. like a manufacturer in northwestern minnesota, or a shrimp farm in the southwest.“we can’t pretend like a company can’t ma






with republicans leading legislature, allies reap benefits


sometimes it's money straight from state coffers. other times it's a tweak to a narrowly focused regulation. with republicans in charge of the minnesota legislature, their allies are seeing priorities elevated at the capitol.republicans are trying to use their state house and senate majorities to re-engineer minnesota government in a cheaper, leaner, more business-friendly direction. but they are also pushing for a host of policy changes — tax cuts and credits, subsidies and regulatory relief — that would benefit traditionally gop-aligned sectors like insurance, energy, agribusiness, homebuilding and other industries.in some cases, the help extends to a single company. like a manufacturer in northwestern minnesota, or a shrimp farm in the southwest."we can't pretend like a company can't ma






allies reaping benefits with gop in charge of legislature


sometimes it's money straight from state coffers. other times it's a tweak to a narrowly focused regulation. with republicans in charge of the minnesota legislature, their allies are seeing priorities elevated at the capitol.republicans are trying to use their state house and senate majorities to re-engineer minnesota government in a cheaper, leaner, more business-friendly direction. but they are also pushing for a host of policy changes — tax cuts and credits, subsidies and regulatory relief — that would benefit traditionally gop-aligned sectors like insurance, energy, agribusiness, homebuilding and other industries.in some cases, the help extends to a single company. like a manufacturer in northwestern minnesota, or a shrimp farm in the southwest."we can't pretend like a company can't ma






dayton vs. legislature court fight will cost taxpayers


the legal battle between gov. mark dayton and the minnesota legislature will be funded by taxpayers. but it’s not yet clear how big of a tab they’ll be picking up.both sides hired outside legal teams in the legislature’s case against dayton over the governor’s line-item veto of legislative funding. former minnesota supreme court justice sam hanson, now with the law firm briggs and morgan, is reducing his usual hourly rate from $675 to $506.25 as attorney for dayton. hanson’s contract says the firm won’t incur more than $5,000 in expenses per month without special approval, and fees are capped at $150,000.the legislature, meanwhile, has enlisted the help of douglas kelley of kelley, wolter & scott, who is discounting his usual $650 hourly fee to $325 per hour. kelley is a former federal pro






with 18 months left, dayton says he's focused on state's future


gov. mark dayton’s quest as he sees it, as he enters his final 18 months in office, is the same as it’s been for more than six years: to stabilize minnesota’s finances and prevent a return to the massive deficits he inherited when he took the state’s top political job.but now, locked in an unprecedented court battle with the legislature, the dfl governor finds he has a lot of explaining to do. he’s trying to convince republican lawmakers that they should reconsider a host of tax cuts he believes are a threat to the state’s future financial health. he’s trying to persuade a judge he had the authority to line-item veto the legislature’s funding in order to force the issue. and he’s trying to assure minnesotans that he created this mess in order to keep the state out of a much bigger one in t






legislature files suit against gov. dayton after talks fail


the legislature sued gov. mark dayton on tuesday, as a fight between two branches of minnesota government spilled into the third branch.the lawsuit filed in ramsey county district court seeks to undo the dfl governor’s recent line-item veto of the gop-led house and senate’s operating budgets, which has raised the imminent prospect that 201 state lawmakers and 437 legislative employees from both political parties will stop getting paid as early as july.dayton wants to renegotiate several tax and policy measures initially settled in the recently concluded legislative session, and said he’s not willing to restore legislative funding unless lawmakers agree to do so. republican leaders of the house and senate refuse.“the vetoes impermissibly control, coerce, and restrain the action of the legis






gov. dayton's line-item veto of legislature's budget upheld


the minnesota supreme court has upheld gov. mark dayton's veto of the budget of the state house and senate.the high court ruled thursday that dayton's line-item veto "complied with the plain language ... of the minnesota constitution." the ruling further said that the constitution does not authorize the judiciary branch to order funding for the legislature.in writing the majority opinion, chief justice lorie skjerven gildea also said the legislature has access to enough money currently to keep functioning until february, when its next session is scheduled to convene."we conclude that the legislature currently has access to at least $26 million and, should the legislature choose, up to $40 million, in appropriated, unencumbered funds," gildea wrote. only justice barry anderson dissented, ar






gov. dayton's line-item veto of legislature's budget upheld


the minnesota supreme court has upheld gov. mark dayton's veto of the budget of the state house and senate.the high court ruled thursday that dayton's line-item veto "complied with the plain language ... of the minnesota constitution." the ruling further said that the constitution does not authorize the judiciary branch to order funding for the legislature.in writing the majority opinion, chief justice lorie skjerven gildea also said the legislature has access to enough money currently to keep functioning until february, when its next session is scheduled to convene."we conclude that the legislature currently has access to at least $26 million and, should the legislature choose, up to $40 million, in appropriated, unencumbered funds," gildea wrote. only justice barry anderson dissented, ar






legislature files suit against gov. dayton after talks fail


the legislature sued gov. mark dayton on tuesday, as a fight between two branches of minnesota government spilled into the third branch.the lawsuit filed in ramsey county district court seeks to undo the dfl governor's recent line-item veto of the gop-led house and senate's operating budgets, which has raised the imminent prospect that 201 state lawmakers and 437 legislative employees from both political parties will stop getting paid as early as july.dayton wants to renegotiate several tax and policy measures initially settled in the recently concluded legislative session, and said he's not willing to restore legislative funding unless lawmakers agree to do so. republican leaders of the house and senate refuse."the vetoes impermissibly control, coerce, and restrain the action of the legis






the latest: senate leader hopes to wrap up budget soon


st. paul, minn. — the latest on the minnesota legislature's special session (all times local):7:30 p.m.minnesota senate majority leader paul gazelka says he thinks the end of the legislature's special session is near.lawmakers were three days into a special session thursday to finish the budget. the legislature failed to finalize a new two-year spending package by monday's midnight deadline and immediately entered an overtime session.progress was slow throughout the week as republican leaders and gov. mark dayton to put the final details on a budget deal. and it was complicated by the absence of two republican senators, which left the senate short votes to pass bills.but gazelka confirmed thursday they would remove changes to how labor contracts are ratified to win some democratic votes on






dayton reflects, urges financial stability in final address


st. paul, minn. (ap) — gov. mark dayton urged lawmakers on wednesday to stay the course he’s set during his two terms as governor, using his final state of the state address largely to reflect on his seven years in office and send a message to his successor rather than lay out a new vision for lawmakers to consider this year.the democratic governor’s address comes just weeks into the legislative session. it was his eighth and final annual speech to the legislature as he prepares to leave office early next year, concluding a decades-long career in politics. lawmakers have a long agenda for the short session, including the daunting task of making sure minnesota’s tax code conforms with the recently passed federal tax cuts.confronted with a republican-controlled legislature that he has clashe






minnesota state raises tuition at 37 colleges and universities


for the first time in five years, students at minnesota state’s two-year colleges will see their tuition go up.starting this fall, full-time students will pay $4,815 a year, an increase of $48 or 1 percent. at the same time, the seven minnesota state universities will increase their average tuition by $272, to $7,288 a year.the new rates, which officials described as “modest but necessary tuition increases,” were approved unanimously wednesday by the system’s board of trustees.tuition at the two-year public colleges had been frozen at 2012 rates until last year, when state lawmakers mandated a 1 percent cut in exchange for increases in state funding. this year, though, minnesota state officials said the tuition increases were needed to cover rising costs.the move follows tuesday’s separate






2017 tech conferences and events to add to your calendar


brandon vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. he does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.