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 6 months
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House will not consider agriculture program funding by itself, but rural Republicans who wanted to divorce farm programs from natural resources and environmental spending got their message across Monday as the first week of the 2013 Legislature ended. The House rules committee voted 15-12 along party lines to back Democratic leaders' plan to consider the three types of funding in one committee, despite GOP rural lawmakers' complaints that such a structure threatens ag programs. House Majority Leader Eric Murphy, DFL-St.
ST. PAUL -- Rick Nolan sounds thrilled to sit on the U.S.
ST. PAUL -- One in five Minnesotans are expected to buy health insurance offered by a mostly online marketplace that a newly written bill would establish. The marketplace, known as a health care exchange, is required by federal law known as Obamacare and must be in place by Oct. 31. "A Minnesota-based exchange allows Minnesota the opportunity to modernize our public systems," state Sen. Tony Lourey, DFL-Kerrick, said. The bill Lourey and Rep.
ST. PAUL -- A debate about whether Democratic House leaders are plowing under agriculture interrupted an otherwise ceremonial first day of the 2013 Minnesota Legislature. Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, took his complaint about what he sees as a move to discredit agriculture to the full House.
ST. PAUL -- Money dominates conversation as Minnesota legislators prepare to begin their 2013 session at noon today. It is such a dominant part of the session that when caught rushing to a midday Monday appointment, Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, could not think of an important non-budget issue. In fact, Marquart said he has told fellow state representatives the budget is so important that they should not consider issues such as gay marriage and gun control this year. Down the hall and around the corner in the State Office Building, Rep.-elect Dan Schoen, DFL-St.
ST. PAUL -- Maybe folks should not be surprised that the media often found a communications cliff separating them and many Washington politicians after the fiscal cliff vote. After all, no one liked the bill Congress passed on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Its main provision, preventing tax increases on most Americans, was controversial. And the measure missed its goal and would do little to get the $16 trillion federal debt under control. Most U.S. senators and representatives issued carefully crafted statements either blasting the bill or saying that it was better than nothing.
ST. PAUL -- Rep. Collin Peterson, an accountant before turning politician, could not support budget legislation passed on New Year's night because it will grow the federal deficit by $3.9 trillion. "They spent more than they raised," the western Minnesota Democratic congressman said about those who voted for the measure in the name of deficit control. "So we are further behind." While more Democrats than Republicans voted for the bill to continue most tax cuts adopted under President George W. Bush, several from the Upper Midwest bucked the trend.
ST. PAUL -- Rod Hamilton is becoming an outspoken cheerleader for rural Minnesota. Last month, the Republican state representative from southwestern Minnesota criticized House Democrats for electing Minneapolis and St. Paul lawmakers as their leaders. Now he complains about an anti-agriculture attitude from too many in politics. "They try to demonize agriculture," Hamilton said. "It is unfortunate. People within the ag field, or everybody who has a vested interest ...
MINNEAPOLIS -- Winnipeg residents used to flock to the lake that carries their city's name, but not so much now. Huge areas of blue-green algae cover much of the northern part of the lake most years. Canadian experts say this is happening in a large part because Minnesota and North Dakota cities and farms dump phosphorus and other nutrients algae love into the Red River as it flows north between the states. Canadians are looking for solutions.