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 4 months
ST. PAUL -- More synthetic drugs will be illegal under a law taking effect Wednesday, and a state agency will be able to act faster to make newly developed versions illegal. Still, as makers of the so-called "designer drugs" continue to change chemical formulas to skirt the law, there will be lags between when a new drug is released and it is declared illegal. State officials and law enforcement officers said Thursday that so much about the drugs known by names such as spice and 2C-E is not known, other than they threaten Minnesota's youth. "No one knows what is in these compounds," Gov.
ST. PAUL -- State leaders agree they want to provide financial aid to communities affected by summer storms, but disagree about whether meetings producing legislation should be open or closed. The Dayton administration and a few legislators soon are to begin developing plans to help Minnesota communities recover. The governor's office says those meetings will be closed to the public. "Legislation is not typically prepared in public meetings," Dayton Press Secretary Katharine Tinucci said.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota could collect $42 million more over five years due to new federal health-care laws, although insurance companies and small businesses said new laws will cost them much more. Much of the new state money would come from higher taxes and other expenses paid by Minnesota individuals and businesses, the state House Taxes Committee heard on Monday. Insurance companies called for the repeal of a tax on premiums and U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., said Minnesota will be hurt if a tax on medical devices is allowed to continue.
ST. PAUL -- Republicans say Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie may be breaking state campaign laws by speaking out against a proposed constitutional amendment to be on Minnesotans' ballots Nov. 6. Sen. Mike Parry said he is considering taking Ritchie to court or issuing a legislative subpoena requiring the secretary to testify. The senator even said Ritchie could be recalled. Parry, a Waseca Republican and candidate for U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Death threats, demands to resign and other attacks to have only made state Rep. Mary Franson more determined to stay in office, she said. A Democratic-Farmer-Laborite campaign official sent Internet links to a video clip of a recent Franson speech in Browerville in which she discusses a joke she told in March that led to statewide reaction. In her March YouTube video, the Alexandria Republican said more food stamps are being distributed than ever while parks officials suggest that feeding animals makes them more dependent.
ST. PAUL -- Secretary of State Mark Ritchie faces a second lawsuit over his rewriting a proposed constitutional amendment title. Paperwork filed with the Minnesota Supreme Court Thursday by Republican legislators and others supporting an amendment requiring Minnesotans to show photographic identification before voting asks the title legislators approved be restored, replacing one Ritchie wrote. Voters will be asked to decide Nov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Supreme Court justices are considering whether a question about voter photo identification on the Nov. 6 ballot is misleading. More fundamentally, they are asking themselves if they even have the authority to deal with the issue. The question is whether a proposed amendment requiring Minnesotans to present photographic identification before voting is accurately summarized on the ballot.
ROSEVILLE -- Minnesota charities could begin rolling out electronic pulltab and bingo games this fall, although concerns remain that could slow their acceptance. "This isn't an industry that embraces change," Executive Director King Wilson of Allied Charities told the Minnesota Gambling Control board Monday. In an interview, Wilson said even though state lawmakers passed a bill allowing electronic pulltab and bingo games, with some profits funding a Minnesota Vikings football stadium, "a lot of misunderstanding" exists. One of charities' concerns is how much the new devices will cost, Wilso
ST. PAUL -- The question on everyone's mind during a news conference about a special disaster aid legislative session was whether Republican leaders could keep their members from bringing up other issues. For instance, Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, has mentioned the possibility of changing state law to remove Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's power to write constitutional amendment titles. The issue angers Republicans because Ritchie, a Democrat, rewrote titles for two GOP-backed constitutional amendment proposals that will be on the Nov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota leaders promise to work together toward an anticipated late-August special legislative session to help communities hit by June storms. "We are going to come through for those who have been affected by this," Gov.