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.
- Member for
- 5 years 4 months
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Rep. Rod Hamilton stands accused of inappropriate behavior just after the state House came under a new sexual misconduct policy. St. Paul police said Thursday, April 26, they are investigating a complaint against the Mountain Lake lawmaker after a Bemidji woman reported an incident in Hamilton's apartment. Hamilton issued a statement saying he would cooperate with police, who have not contacted him.
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans have marched on the state Capitol by the thousands this year seeking gun control legislation, always meeting with strong Republican opposition. At least until now. On Wednesday, April 25, House Speaker Kurt Daudt of Crown delivered the strongest GOP public comments in favor of enacting some form of gun restrictions.
ST. PAUL — Rural Republican Minnesota House members wanted to make the point that Democrats often ignore farmers. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party certainly did not ignore the group that is little more than a week old. A DFL lawyer sent a cease and desist letter to the Republican Farmer Labor Caucus, telling the RFL to change its name and logo. "This logo is confusingly similar to the longstanding logo of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party," attorney Charles Nauen wrote to the group. Nauen said the name also is too similar to DFL.
ST. PAUL — Republicans who control the Minnesota House and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton do not agree on many aspects of tax policy, but they do agree tax laws need to change before lawmakers end their 2018 session in less than a month. House Tax Chairman Greg Davids, R-Preston, named his bill after the Brothers Osborne country song "It Ain't My Fault," which expresses the feeling of Minnesota leaders. The name, which he announced Tuesday, April 24, is in response to new federal legislation that without state action would raise income taxes on 900,000 Minnesotans.
ST. PAUL — Scientific and cultural discussions overlapped as the Minnesota House approved a bill to start over on water regulations protecting wild rice. Representatives voted 78-45 Monday, April 23, to dump a law in place since 1973, but never enforced, that regulates how much sulfate may be in water of wild rice beds.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota livestock regulators are not doing all they could to protect deer and elk from disease, a state audit shows. "We found that the Board of Animal Health has failed to enforce some laws relating to deer and elk farms," the Office of the Legislative Auditor wrote in a letter to legislators. "The board has not established clear expectations for deer and elk farm inventories, nor has it systematically analyzed compliance with state laws requiring chronic wasting disease testing."
ST. PAUL — About 450 sex offenders and mentally ill and dangerous Minnesotans could be released from state custody before they are fully treated, lawmakers and the Dayton administration say, so state leaders are rushing through legislation to keep them supervised. "It could be days or weeks" when offenders would be released, Acting Human Services Commissioner Chuck Johnson said Monday, April 23, before senators unanimously approved the bill. The House still must take up the measure.
ST. PAUL — Tim Pawlenty could change almost everything in 2018 Minnesota politics. Or voters may consider him a politician of the past and his candidacy for governor will only make a ripple. His campaign created more than a ripple when it announced he had raised $1 million after just three weeks as a candidate. Pawlenty's campaign distributed a news release that proclaimed: "In less than a month, Pawlenty raised more than twice the amount all other remaining GOP candidates combined raised in all of 2017."
ST. PAUL—People who misrepresent dogs or other animals as trained service animals soon may violate state law. Minnesota senators Thursday, April 19, unanimously approved legislation making such misrepresentation a crime. Some well-publicized instances of people wrongly claiming animals like parrots and kangaroos were service animals brought public attention to the issue.
WASHINGTON — The 2018 federal farm bill passed its first major hurdle with a decidedly partisan split over issues not directly agriculture connected. The U.S. House agriculture committee is known historically as a bipartisan panel, but on Wednesday, April 18, the divide was deep between Republicans who control Congress and Democrats who claim they had no say in drawing up the bill. The panel passed the farm bill along party lines 26-20, divided over food stamps and lack of open discussion leading up to the vote.