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.
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MINNEAPOLIS -- More governor candidates showed up for a massive Wednesday night debate than the average precinct caucus will host next week. And still, just two-thirds of the candidates planning to run this year were at the gathering, the biggest such forum Minnesota political observers remember. In front of hundreds of newspaper workers, candidates found some ways to separate themselves from each other. On local government aid, like most other issues, there was sharp division between Democrats and Republicans. Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Paul Thissen, a Twin Cities legislator, s
ST. PAUL--Minnesota officials turn to schools as the state's bank this spring. The state will run out of money in March and April, and the Pawlenty administration says it needs to borrow money from schools to pay the state's bills. The state sent school superintendents a notice Tuesday saying it will delay its payments to about two-thirds of the districts.
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Management and Budget department today is telling schools that the state will delay $423 million of payments to them this so the state can pay its bills. The missed payments are to be made up by the end of May, but some school leaders say they may have to take out short-term loans. The size of delays are based on a formula in state law that makes bigger cuts for districts with larger fund balances. Some districts will continue to get their normal payments they carry a small balance. Two-hundred, thirty-one districts' payments will be delayed out of 341 districts.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota cities hosting nuclear power plants and some legislators are tired of federal officials' refusal to pick up the waste as they promised decades ago. "If you had a garbage man who didn't show up for 28 years, would you continue to pay the bill?" Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Norm Coleman is not running for governor, but he has advice for those who are: travel Minnesota. As U.S. senator, Coleman tried to do just that as often as possible. Many politicians see the "L" of southern and western Minnesota as especially important because residents there can swing back and forth between political parties. "It is important for folks in St. Paul to get out and about to know the state," Coleman said. "That is a challenge they have. ...
ST. PAUL -- Children fussed. Parents cried. Senators were outraged. Bureaucrats explained. "We have been pushed into the living conditions of a third-world country," Jeff Brouse told a Senate health committee hearing about a three-year effort to clean up a rural Thief River Falls dairy operation. Residents from near Excel Dairy drove to St. Paul Thursday to tell their plight.
ST. PAUL -- Some Minnesota nursing homes simply do not have enough employees to prevent residents from falling, two Minnesota Senate committees heard Thursday. "I know we all hope to be independent until the day we die," nursing assistant Cheryl Dryer said. However, she added: "There are not enough staff to make the dream a reality." Nursing homes report about 1,200 resident falls a year, Darcey Miner of the state Health Department said.
ST. PAUL -- Rick Stafford remembers 1994, when Republicans kicked Democrats out of congressional control, and with Tuesday's Massachusetts GOP upset he sees some similarities this year. Bill Clinton was the new, and popular, president and Democrats thought they were flying high in 1994. Newt Gingrich and company spoiled that in taking control of the U.S. House. Republicans hope, and some predict, that is what will happen in this November's elections. Stafford does not predict a repeat of 1994, but he and other Minnesota Democratic leaders say there are lessons to be learned.
ST. PAUL--Norm Coleman joked that he is "free at last, free at last" Monday, hours after he opted out of the Minnesota governor's race. Other Republican candidates also may have been chanting that refrain on Martin Luther King Jr. Day after complaining that donations and support were harder to find as GOP activists waited to see what Coleman would do. Late Sunday, Coleman posted a statement to his Facebook page saying that the timing was not right for a candidacy, noting that it is just six months after a grueling U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman is one of the most-discussed Minnesota politicians these days. He added to the chatter by releasing a statement that sounded a lot like he plans to get into the governor's race; at least that is how some read it. In saying he supports Pat Anderson in her bid to resume her position as state auditor, he said: "In the near future, my decision about which path I intend to pursue to help Minnesota and its citizens address our state's challenges and opportunities will become clear.