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 7 months
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans either will get a better deal on health insurance or they will face problems if the Legislature and governor agree on a new way for 1.3 million Minnesotans to buy health insurance. That is how the debate boils down about a bill the Democrat-controlled House Monday night approved 72-58 over Republican protests. Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans may not know what the word means, but starting today they begin to feel the impact of automatic and deep federal budget cuts known as "sequestration." No one knows for sure how Minnesotans will be affected, but there is widespread agreement it will be felt. U.S. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- New silica sand mines would be prohibited from opening for a year under a bill a state Senate committee approved Tuesday. Besides a moratorium, the bill would require a study on the environmental impact of sand mines, establish a board to deal with the issue and levy taxes that would go to state and local governments. The 8-4 vote in favor of the bill by Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's resorts, government and residents would benefit from a larger tourism marketing effort, supporters of a bill to double its state support told a House committee. Rep. John Ward, DFL-Baxter, told the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday that his plan to spend more than $16 million in each of the next two years on tourism would attract more visitors and their money. "There are few ways government generates revenue and jobs," Ward said.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans must loudly demand that lawmakers approve Sunday alcohol sales if the proposal has a chance to pass, its Senate sponsor said. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans fighting Asian carp think they may have temporary and permanent ways to slow the advance of the voracious eater. Organizations at a Wednesday Asian carp summit hosted by Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar agreed they would try to convince boaters to stop using a Mississippi River lock in Minneapolis so it can remain closed and act as a barrier to fish that can eat so much food that they push out native species.
ST. PAUL -- More than 35,000 low-income Minnesotans would gain health-care coverage under a bill the House approved Monday. Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, said the federal government would pick up most of the cost under a new health-care law. "The net savings to the state budget are $129 million in the first biennium and $237 million in the second biennium," Huntley said. Minnesota doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers would get $1.8 billion more in the next two years and $2.5 billion in the following two years if the bill passes, Huntley said.
ST. PAUL -- Gun week in the Minnesota Legislature came and went, but the debate is far from over. A former law enforcement officer, now a senator, pledges to continue the fight against weakening gun freedoms. "As a former sheriff and current state senator, I was sworn to uphold the Constitution of the state of Minnesota and the United States," Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, wrote in a letter to the editor. "I take this oath seriously.
ST. PAUL -- The message from Minnesota's rural Democratic senators about this week's gun-bill flurry is simple: Don't expect a warm reception in the Senate. "The Senate has always been the more reasonable body," Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer, said Thursday, joining with others in saying rural senators cannot buy into many of the changes a House committee debated this week. Without rural Democrats, it would be tough to get enough votes to pass bills that do things such as ban assault weapons, forbid use of large ammunition magazines and require permits to own body armor.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is doing better than most neighboring states, Gov. Mark Dayton told legislators and Minnesotans Wednesday night in his third State of the State address. And it is doing better than two years ago, he added. "Minnesota's job growth in 2012 was the 12th best among all 50 states; and we outperformed three of our four neighbors," Dayton said during a 48-minute speech that was politely received by lawmakers. "Iowa ranked 30th best; South Dakota was 44th." He continued a rivalry with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, saying Wisconsin "helped bring up the rear at 42nd.