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 2 months
WASHINGTON — Keith Ellison confirmed Wednesday that he would resign from the U.S. House if he is elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The Minneapolis Democrat earlier had said he has the energy to remain a congressman while running the party. In recent days, however, he backed down from that and Wednesday released a statement saying that he would quit his congressional job if elected. After last month's presidential and congressional losses at the polls, Ellison said, party faithful want a full-time Democratic National Committee chairman.
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — A Republican Minnesota Senate candidate apparently won an election recount, meaning the GOP will control the body 34-33 when the 2017 Legislature begins Jan. 3. The St. Cloud Times reports that the recount ended Wednesday, Dec. 7, with Republican Jerry Relph winning by 141 votes. The original count after the Nov. 8 election had him beating Democrat Dan Wolgamott by 148 votes. The state Canvassing Board must sign off on the numbers Monday to make the results official.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt last week said in a news conference with the governor and other legislative leaders that Wednesday, Dec. 7, was the deadline for agreeing to issues to come up during a special legislative session dealing with health insurance costs, public works financing and taxes. But on Wednesday, Gov. Mark Dayton said there was no such deadline. Dayton told reporters that work of legislators and governor's staffers to write bills can extend into next week for a proposed Dec. 20 special session.
ST. PAUL—Soaring insurance premiums apparently jolted Minnesotans into seeking federal aid to pay for their policies. The state's health insurance marketplace, MNsure, announced on Tuesday, Nov. 29, that the number of Minnesotans getting financial aid for 2017 policies tripled over this year. Rural Minnesotans especially benefit from the aid, which comes from the federal government, MNsure Allison O'Toole said in a Forum News Service interview.
ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton walked out of a meeting he chairs Tuesday, Nov. 29, over a battle about whether Civil War paintings should hang in his office. "It has been a deeply distressing issue for me," Dayton said, claiming Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, wishes to return six paintings to the governor's office once the state Capitol building restoration finishes next year is rooted in political ambitions.
ST. PAUL—The Minnesota Capitol building reopens Jan. 3 after being mostly closed for three years of renovation work, but a formal celebration comes Aug. 11-13. State Administration Commissioner Matt Massman made the announcement Tuesday, Nov. 29, saying that visitors to the renovated Capitol will "have a jaw-dropping experience when you go in the door." While most of the work is finished, Massman warned members of the Capitol Preservation Commission that some construction will remain through late summer.
ST. PAUL—The Nov. 8 election was unpredictable and the 2017 Minnesota Legislature likely will be, too. GOP candidates took many by surprise, including some fellow Republicans, and took over the state Senate. The GOP held a Senate majority in 2011-2012, but because of the election calendar this time it will be for four years, unless a Republican leaves office early.
ST. PAUL—Rural Minnesotans are happy, to a point. They are optimistic, to a point. They see local jobs available, to a point. "It is kind of a mixed bag," Executive Director Brad Finstad of the Center for Rural Policy and Development said.
MINNEAPOLIS—An oil pipeline protester was recovering in a Minneapolis hospital Tuesday, Nov. 22, after her arm was seriously injured during a confrontation between pipeline opponents and law enforcement officers. Injuries sustained by Sophia Wilansky, 21, of New York prompted thousands of people to donate money for her recovery, which was underway at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. Within 19 hours of a gofundme site being established, 8,000 people had combined to give more than $220,000.
GRAND RAPIDS, Minn.—The Blandin Foundation surveyed Minnesotans earlier this year to get their feelings on rural issues. Here is a sample: -- 49 percent of rural Minnesotans think the local economy is about the same as a year ago, while 31 percent said it is better and 18 percent said it is worse. -- The number of people who think there are adequate rural Minnesota wages has increased, with 32 percent saying that in 2010, 38 percent in 2013 and 47 percent this year.