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 6 months
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans who like neat hair may not like it, but the state blessed with strong winds is saving money by using it to create more electricity every year. The American Wind Energy Association announced Wednesday, April 19 that more than 15 percent of the state's electricity comes from wind power. That figure is predicted to double by 2021. Minnesota's largest electric utility, Xcel Energy, produces 19 percent of its power by wind, expected to increase to 34 percent in five years.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's Democratic governor admitted he probably will accept a Republican transportation funding plan he does not like, rural lawmakers said they heard loud and clear during a holiday break that farmers want buffer law changes and ralliers chanted support for the House Democratic leader's comments critical of white men who did not listen to women of color. Tuesday, April 18, was the first day of the 2017 Minnesota Legislature's home stretch, with a goal of reaching agreement on a $46 billion, two-year budget before a May 22 adjournment date.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota's ability to get products to market will be at risk if state lawmakers and the governor fail to break a transportation funding impasse, county officials warn. "Our harvest, timber and manufactured products have gained and held leadership positions in world markets because we have historically been able to move products out of the field, forest and factory more efficiently than competitors," Douglas County Commissioner Jim Stratton said. "But that is rapidly changing as time is catching up with decades of underfunding our local road system."
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans involved in the once-every-decade federal census say now is time to take action so people do not find themselves victims of a bad 2020 April fool's joke. In 2020, April 1 is Census Day, when all Americans are supposed to be counted in a ritual required by the U.S. Constitution. But some in Minnesota fear that federal funding shortfalls, using the internet to fill out census forms and other factors could mean many Minnesotans will be missed.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Capitol rotunda and hallways were nearly empty at times in recent days as lawmakers took an Easter-Passover break, but Gov. Mark Dayton's administration used the recess to argue its fiscal case before negotiations begin on a state budget. For instance, thousands of Minnesotans' tax refund checks could be delayed for months next year, Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly told reporters about the impact Republican budget plans could have.
PAUL — Tim Miller says he beat the odds before and he can do it again as he runs for the U.S. House seat long held by Collin Peterson. Miller said he is different from a string of Republicans that Democrat Peterson has beat every two years since 1990.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota legislators actually can work together. Sure, the media mostly covers things when Democrats and Republicans disagree. But there have been several bills to gain broad bipartisan support, and one major piece of legislation actually passed the House unanimously. The House voted 131-0 in favor of spending $500 million of sales tax receipts Minnesotans authorized in a 2008 vote for clean water, arts, culture, outdoors and parks projects.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota state auditor says Roseau and Hubbard county financial audits conducted by private accountants need to be done again, but a report containing the recommendation has received plenty of pushback. "We are watching out for the taxpayers," Auditor Rebecca Otto said in a Tuesday, April 4, interview. The report she issued has page after page of what she said are problems with audits in eight counties of the 26 that use private auditors instead of her office.
ST. PAUL—Rules governing high school students who transfer so they can play on better sports teams need to be tightened, a state audit recommends. The Office of Legislative Auditor said the Minnesota State High School League and Legislature should make law, rules and procedure changes so student transfers can be handled fairly. "We think the league needs to have more transparency in its rule making processes," Judy Randall of the auditor's office told the House Education Innovation Policy Committee Tuesday, April 4.
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans have time to lobby state leaders about wildly varying tax cuts proposals. State senators on Monday, April 3, approved 40-27 cutting taxes $900 million, following last week's House 80-52 vote in favor of a $1.35 billion cut. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's $300 million plan comes in below the tax cuts promoted by the Republican-controlled Legislature. The $1 billion difference could be in negotiations until near the constitutional May 22 legislative adjournment date.