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 — Most Americans don't think twice when they hear that an 81-year-old U.S. Supreme Court justice is retiring. But those in the political know realize Anthony Kennedy's departure has huge consequences. Democratic U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, running for election to fill the last two years of Al Franken's term, told supporters: "Republicans rewrote the rules and stole one Supreme Court seat in 2016 when they denied a vote to Merrick Garland. Now, with the sudden retirement of Justice Kennedy today, they are looking to take another."
WASHINGTON—Federal farm-state lawmakers say they are happy that final negotiations can begin on a farm bill that funds agriculture programs and food stamps. Senators passed their $428 billion farm bill 86-11 Thursday, June 28. The bipartisan vote contrasts with the House vote that narrowly passed last week with no Democratic support. U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., had said that the only good thing about the House bill's passage was that it paved the way for negotiations once the Senate passed its bill. He is the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee.
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans should get better service than last July, when the state introduced new motor vehicle license and title computer software, state officials say, but there is not enough money to make it work right. "It is way better than when it was rolled out in July," Commissioner Johanna Clyborne of the Minnesota Information Technology Service said Wednesday, June 27, after a legislative committee received an update. When asked if the state was running the system well, she said: "I think we could do this better."
ST. PAUL—President Donald Trump fully expects to win Minnesota in 2020 if he can visit the state another time or two. "I hate to bring this up, but we came this close to winning the state of Minnesota," he told a packed house in Duluth Wednesday, June 20, as he held his finger and thumb nearly touching. A couple more percentage points in 2016 and he would have been the first Republican presidential candidate to win Minnesota since Richard Nixon in 1972.
ST. PAUL—Many Minnesota businesses could benefit and taxpayers could see a $150 million windfall after a U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring most websites to collect sales taxes from online shoppers. "It is about main street fairness," Minnesota House Tax Chairman Greg Davids, R-Preston, said after the high court released its ruling Thursday, June 21. What puzzled Davids was why the high court voted 5-4 instead of 9-0. "It should be such an easy thing."
ST. PAUL—Daniel Del Toro remembers 1990 when federal authorities separated him from his parents, who had just crossed from Mexico into the United States. "We come here because we are seeking a better life," he said Tuesday, June 19, about his family and fellow Mexicans. "We are running from violence." Holding his 2-year-old son, Joaquin, he said that his situation at 11 years of age is similar to today. "I don't see it as a crime."
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon may have said it best: "What a day to be in the democracy business." Simon, whose office runs state elections, was in the center of Minnesota's political world Tuesday, June 5, as the first Muslim in Congress decided to run for attorney general in what turned into a crowded Democratic primary election contest. Six Democrats are running in the Aug. 14 primary election. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minneapolis attracted nationwide attention with his decision.
ST. PAUL—U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison is running for Minnesota attorney general. He filled out the paperwork, surrounded by the media, in the secretary of state's office at midday Tuesday, June 5, to create a multi-candidate Democratic field for the Aug. 14 primary election. Ellison, 54, serves Minneapolis and never has run in a statewide campaign. He dropped out of his planned U.S. House re-election race after current Attorney General Lori Swanson opted to run for governor Monday. He said he decided this morning to make the switch to attorney general.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota's politics is in high gear as the state attorney general said she wants to become governor, the governor picked who he wants to replace him, a lieutenant governor candidate said she misspoke about E85 and a Democratic governor candidate formally suspended her campaign. Monday, June 4, was one of the wildest days Minnesotans have seen in politics. Tuesday, the deadline for filing for state office, could be even wilder if only a portion of the rumors are true.