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
- 4 years 8 months
ST. PAUL — A state-federal program supported by groups ranging from conservationists to farmers is designed to improve Minnesota water quality by paying landowners to preserve 60,000 acres. The land in southern and western Minnesota would be marginal farmland, state Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson said. But if it is preserved, state officials said, it can be used to protect the state's water and improve wildlife habitat.
ST. PAUL — The first new law of 2017 came nine days into the annual legislative session. Now, that's zippy in a process that often drags on until May, especially when the issue is taxes, like the legislation Gov. Mark Dayton signed Friday, Jan. 13. And a couple other issues are moving fast, sort of.
ST. PAUL -- Rural Minnesota may never have been mentioned so often in a state Senate debate not about a specific rural issue. Small towns and farmers were featured Thursday, Jan. 12, before senators passed 35-31 legislation to help Minnesotans afford individual health insurance policies. Rural residents like farmers tend to rely on individual policies more than do those living in cities.
ST. PAUL — Jose Sanchez says his immigrant community fears living without driver's licenses. "Our community needs licenses to get around, to get to work, to get to school," he told a Minnesota House committee Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. "I ask that you listen to us and deal with your heart," he pleaded before the Republican-controlled committee voted 8-6 along party lines to keep in a provision that would enact a law banning immigrants to the United States without legal documentation from getting a license.
ST. PAUL — The University of Minnesota's request to bump up its state funding $147 million comes at a tough time. The big university news over the past few weeks has been a football scandal, easily topping the team's Holiday Bowl victory. With that fresh in Minnesotans' minds, university officials are hitting up the Legislature for more money.
ST. PAUL -- Mark Johnson of East Grand Forks stood on the floor of the Minnesota Senate chatting about recent snow storms with Rep. Debra Kiel of Crookston. Johnson, minutes away from becoming northwest Minnesota’s newest state senator, appeared calm and collected in the newly renovated ornate chamber.
ST. PAUL -- A tweaked 2016 tax proposal that never made it into law is back. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said on Thursday, Jan. 5, that his plan calls for $230 million in a variety of tax cuts and $70 million in new spending for things such as increased state aid to local governments. It is based on a bill most legislators backed last year, but Dayton opted not to sign after a $101 million mistake was discovered in it.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota may continue to put some of the worst sex offenders in prison-like facilities after they complete their sentences, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, Jan. 4. The decision reverses a Minnesota-based federal judge's 2015 ruling that the practice was unconstitutional because it, in effect, extended prison sentences.
ST. PAUL -- 2017 dawned on the Minnesota Capitol with bright sun Sunday, Jan. 1, illuminating the newly renovated building. But the sparkle dimmed as clouds moved in Sunday, followed by a dreary, wintry Monday for most Minnesotans. Was that a forecast of things to come in the 2017 state Legislature, which begins at noon Tuesday? That is impossible to predict, but Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Preferred One dropped out. So did UCare. Blue Cross Blue Shield stopped offering its regular policies. Medica says it no longer will supply insurance for a state-run health insurance program. "We almost lost all of the private insurers over the summer," Democratic Gov.