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 Senate leaders say they are preparing to lay off their employees. If the courts do not decide a funding dispute between the Republican-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, Senator Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said on Wednesday, Nov. 8, that employees will receive furlough notices in December or January. "We don't take the suspension of operations of the Minnesota Senate lightly," Gazelka said. "This is not a game, but we really have no other choice today."
ST. PAUL—A southwest Minnesota native and ex-congressman, who at 65 is known as a Washington "super lobbyist," apparently is in the sights of a grand jury looking into a Russian connection to the Trump for president campaign. Vin Weber, a Republican, is being examined for his involvement in work on behalf of Ukrainian interests, The Associated Press reported late Thursday, Nov. 2. Also being examined is Democratic operative Tony Podesta.
ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn.—Abby Haley "fell in love." Jen Jensen encountered "my own personal devil." The women were talking about their addiction to opioids, powerful painkillers that Minnesota and national officials say are taking taking over so many lives that the situation has become a crisis. Many who have become enveloped in the crisis are like Haley and Jensen, who hit the depths. The two women received treatment and say they have been clean for two years.
ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton's action to ease problems that farmers report of getting propane brings back memories of the 2013-14 winter in which the gas was in short supply, but early indications are that this winter will not be as bad. Dayton issued an executive order this week to provide emergency relief to farmers who are having a tough time getting propane and diesel fuel delivered. The order allows trucking companies to extend their hours for the next month, although drivers cannot work longer hours than the law allows.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota farmers should not worry about buffer police. The key Minnesota lawmaker in crafting a law requiring plant buffers between farmland and water says he does not think authorities will slap fines on farmers who break the buffer law. "At the end of the day, it will not require enforcement," Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, said Monday, Oct. 30, as state officials announced a 95 percent statewide compliance rate. Even with lingering complaints about the buffer requirement,"for the most part, farmers are dealing with it," Torkelson said.
ST. PAUL — More than 400 Minnesotans died due to opioids last year, up from 344 a year earlier. The epidemic, a word often used to describe the situation, seems especially tough in rural parts of the state that may be less equipped to handle it. When President Donald Trump announced on Thursday, Oct. 26, that he had declared the opioid problem a nationwide "public health emergency," Minnesota leaders of both political parties hailed it as a victory.
ST. PAUL — The political rhetoric has been much more substantial than changes coming to Minnesotans' 2018 health plans. The federal Affordable Care Act, known to most Americans as Obamacare, remains the law of the land. Although Minnesota officials have made some changes they say will help their constituents, most people probably will not notice a huge health insurance change.
CANNON FALLS, Minn. -- Former Minnesota state Sen. George Conzemius died Thursday, Oct. 26. He was 81.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump pledges a major campaign to fight unneeded opioid painkiller use, but it is not clear how his declaring the drug epidemic a "public health emergency" will help the Upper Midwest. "We will overcome addiction in America," Trump promised Thursday, Oct. 26, in a White House East Room ceremony. Comments like his are important because they draw attention to the problem, those working on drug abuse issues say, but many add that without federal money the fight will be impeded.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota state Sen. Dave Senjem held up his well-used black wallet containing his identification and credit cards, and explained identify theft so anyone could understand. "Last week (I) lost this," the Rochester Republican said on Tuesday, Oct. 24. "We all do it. I could only hope the dog ate it."