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 8 months
ST. PAUL -- Many people have trouble planning next weekend, but the Minnesota Department of Transportation is looking 50 years down the road. Not surprisingly, MnDOT discovered it faces many challenges. A draft "vision statement" indicates that transportation planners must consider a variety of variables and obstacles in the next half century, ranging from a lack of money to an aging population to a rural exodus.
ST. PAUL -- Five judges on Tuesday begin hearing Minnesotans' opinions about fair congressional and legislative districts, a topic that surfaces every 10 years but is little understood by the public. "Maps should be drawn around people, not politicians," said Mike Dean, executive director of Common Cause Minnesota. "For too long, the redistricting process has been controlled by politicians and political parties." A five-judge panel will hear from Minnesotans for the next two weeks, and release their own district maps on Feb. 21. The judges will wait to make sure legislators and Gov.
ST. PAUL -- The country's third major credit-rating agency has downgraded Minnesota's bond rating, meaning that borrowing money for new construction and repair projects likely will cost state and local governments more. Minnesota Management and Budget on Friday announced Standard and Poor's dropped the Minnesota rating from AAA to AA-plus. "This downgrade is a direct result of the recently passed state budget," Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter said. "The budget was substantially balanced using one-time measures and does not lead to a long-term financial solution.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The new University of Minnesota president promised to lower administrative costs every year he holds the job and in his Thursday inaugural address said professors must keep up or "step aside." "My friends, we have work to do," President Eric Kaler said as he was officially installed as the university's 16th president. Kaler spoke to 1,000 invited guests and others via the Internet, including students and staff gathered at each of the university's five campuses. The 55-year-old president, on the job since July 1, used some of his half-hour speech to praise those at the univers
ST. PAUL -- The new leader of Minnesota's 31-school higher education system told his bosses Tuesday that tough choices are ahead and predicted dramatic changes. "The greatest risk we face is the risk of business as usual," Chancellor Steven Rosenstone told the MnSCU Board of Trustees, which governs state-run technical and two-year community colleges as well as four-year universities. It was Rosenstone's first meeting with the board after taking the system's top job Aug.
ST. PAUL -- This year will go down as one of the most contentious in Minnesota government history, so exceptions to that attitude are notable. The first exception started out as yet another controversy. Several days ago, news reports indicated that the state had stopped paying for military honor guards at veterans' funerals. The funding cut apparently slipped by all the top officials as political leaders this spring and summer debated a $34 billion, two-year budget. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans will gather at the state Capitol Sept. 11 to remember terrorist attacks 10 years ago and to prove people from diverse backgrounds can work together. Immediately after the attacks, most in the country felt "we are all together, we are all Americans," said Gail Anderson, chairwoman of a committee organizing the Minnesotans Standing Together event. "That is what we want to recapture." If the very diverse religious community can come together to plan such a service, the overall community should be able to work together, too, Anderson said. The event will be at 1 p.m.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's senior congressman fears the Obama administration has fired a shot over the ethanol industry's bow in seeking a home-grown fuel for the Navy. "I think that is a big a problem," said U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, who serves most of western Minnesota.
Minnesota parents who teach their children at home feel like they have received a promotion. "The state is recognizing the validity of home education," Lorna Cook of Willmar said of a new law that frees homeschoolers from most of the bureaucracy of old laws.