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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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.
ST. PAUL -- Donovan Kuehl wore a button proclaiming "I support the 2nd Amendment." He shook hands with Linda Winsor, sitting next to him and wearing a sticker declaring "Minnesotans against being shot." The Willmar man and St.
ST. PAUL -- Jeffrey Weise shot and killed his grandfather on March 21, 2005, and tried to load a semi-automatic rifle. But former FBI agent John Egelhof told a Minnesota House committee Wednesday that the rifle, the type that would be banned under a bill state lawmakers are considering, jammed and Weise was forced to use less efficient guns when he went to a Red Lake school in northwestern Minnesota.
ST. PAUL -- President Barack Obama's Minneapolis appearance Monday will be at a Minneapolis Police Department facility, and not open to the public. The president will talk about his plan to curtail gun violence with local political and law enforcement leaders, the White House says. No public events are planned. "Minneapolis is a city that has taken important steps to reduce gun violence and foster a conversation in the community about what further action is needed," a White House statement said.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota officials started planning a state Capitol renovation project in 1984, and chances are improving that serious work could begin in 2013. But work would begin only if politicians can agree on a plan and spending level. "This has been a decades-long effort with very little to show for it," state Administration Commissioner Spencer Cronk told representatives Thursday. Problems state officials say need to be fixed are widespread around the 108-year-old building, starting with aging air conditioning and heating systems that often fail.