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 -- 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.
ST. PAUL -- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act may simply be called "Obamacare," but no one calls it simple. And despite its name, Americans should not expect health-care costs to drop any time soon. The law was signed two years ago, but most who would be affected waited to see what the courts and voters decided before digging too deeply into it.
ST. PAUL -- More than 76 percent of Minnesota's eligible voters cast ballots Nov. 6, best in the country, but the state's top election official says even more would participate if they could vote early. In this year's election, 2,950,780 Minnesotans voted. That is the most ever, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said, and while final numbers are not in, he said he is sure Minnesota has the highest percentage in the country. "We're No. 1 by many," he said. Ritchie's comments came after the State Canvassing Board approved returns from Nov. 6 voting.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Vikings say Gov. Mark Dayton and others are jumping the gun in criticizing the idea of selling pricey seats to some season-ticket holders. In strong language, Dayton wrote to Vikings owners complaining about their interest in selling high-priced seat licenses to raise money that would count toward the team's contribution to a new nearly $1 billion stadium.