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
- 5 years 7 months
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's election chief says President Donald Trump made United States elections less secure with his comments doubting Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. "We know that Russia attempted to attack our election system across the United States in 2016, including unsuccessfully here in Minnesota," Secretary of State Steve Simon said Monday, July 16, hours after Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin stood side by side telling reporters what just happened in their meeting behind closed doors.
ST. PAUL—New Minnesota driver's licenses will be more difficult to forge, be easier for law enforcement officers to read and contain more information. Some of the new licenses, and identification cards, will be available starting Aug. 6, but "people don't need to rush in and apply for a new card," Dawn Olson said on Monday, July 16. Olson, the state Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services director, said Minnesotans with a current valid licenses or IDs can continue using them.
ST. PAUL — Governors generally have little say in federal policy, but Minnesota's two major Republican governor candidates want to change that when it comes to refugees. Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson has said over the past couple of months that he would like to talk the federal government into suspending the refugee settlement program in Minnesota, at least until the state gets a handle on how much it costs taxpayers.
ST. PAUL — Once upon a time, Republican candidates would not speak ill of another candidate in the party. These days, forget that. Take the Tim Pawlenty-Jeff Johnson race for the GOP nomination for Minnesota governor. Here are two politicians who have been considered nice guys. But a month before the Aug. 14 primary election, they are treating each other like Republicans might treat Democrats. Or vice versa.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota officials have examined areas that were flooded earlier this week in the southwestern part of the state. In the meantime, officials announced that loans will be available for flooded farms and gave advice on how to make sure well water is safe. Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., led a delegation that visited several flooded sites on Friday, July 6.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota is a battlefield in a war pitting the United States against trading partners. President Donald Trump on Friday, July 6, tacked 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of goods China sells in the United States. Trump says the tariffs eventually may cover up to $550 billion worth of Chinese products. China responded by slapping its own tariffs on American goods to be sold in China. "It is certainly much more threatening situation than I have seen in my lifetime," professor Robert Kudrle of the University of Minnesota said.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton has declared emergencies in three dozen counties and the Red Lake reservation after a series of storms starting on June 9 caused damage across the state. Dayton signed the executive order Thursday, July 5, that gives the counties and reservation access to state disaster funds and state aid.
ST. PAUL—U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar left no doubt about what she thought of the federal Environmental Protection Agency administrator's resignation: "Finally." That was the Democrat's prompt Thursday, July 5, reaction on Twitter to President Donald Trump's tweet that he had accepted Scott Pruitt's resignation. U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., was almost as succinct: "Good riddance."
ST. PAUL — Minnesota is suing the maker of the best-known opioid painkiller, OxyCotin, claiming it mislead health care professionals and patients alike. "Prescription painkillers can be helpful in relieving pain when properly used and prescribed, but this company misrepresented and minimized the addictive nature of its drugs in order to sell more of them," Attorney General Lori Swanson said about Purdue Pharma on Monday, July 2.
WASHINGTON—Farmers usually worry about the weather and how much they will be paid for crops and livestock, but this summer many have a bigger worry: What federal officials will do for—or to—them. Farm-state lawmakers who deal with federal agriculture policy every day can do nothing to relieve farmer concerns. "No one has any answers and no one knows what is going on because things change every day," said U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, who serves western Minnesota and is the top House agriculture Democrat. "Every single aspect of agriculture is up in the air."