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
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ST. PAUL—"The reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people." Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton had not even finished the sentence when political reporters knew they had a story. After all, Dayton has been a strong proponent of the federal health care law, better known as Obamacare, and pushed to establish a state online health insurance sales portal. That MNsure operation is Minnesotans' connection to Obamacare.
ST. PAUL—The two major presidential candidates appear to agree on something. Hillary Clinton: "America's rural communities lie at the heart of what makes this country great." Donald Trump: "Growing our farm sector and supporting our nation's farmers are absolutely critical steps to making America great again." The two short quotes from Democrat Clinton and Republican Trump are more than most Americans hear about rural issues in the campaign, so the two apparently agree that rural issues are not critical enough to their chances on Nov. 8 to talk about them much.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's governor says a President Barack Obama inspired health-care law needs work. "The reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people," Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday, Oct. 12, while encouraging state and federal lawmakers to make changes. Soaring health insurance costs are a "very serious problem," Dayton told reporters seeking reaction to his administration's recent announcement that individual health insurance policies' premiums will jump 50 percent to 67 percent next year.
ST. PAUL—The shooting deaths of two young black men at the hands of Twin Cities police officers has prompted Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to establish a council looking into how to improve law enforcement-community relations. Dayton signed an executive order establishing the 32-member council on Wednesday giving it a deadline of next February to produce recommendations that legislators could consider.
ST. PAUL — Many rural Americans, who are heavily Republican, are not happy with how President Barack Obama has dealt with their issues as he nears the end of eight years in office. The Democratic president says he has done well. "I've spent most of my life living in big cities," Obama recently wrote. "But the truth is, a lot of what's shaped me came from my grandparents who grew up on the prairie in Kansas. They taught me the kind of values that don't always make headlines, let alone the daily back-and-forth in Washington."
ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton has authorized $3.3 million to six Minnesota counties and three American Indian reservations for damage sustained in July storms. Dayton announced Tuesday that money will go to governments to spend on damage to their facilities, not private property, that occurred July 19 to July 21 from thunderstorms, high winds and flooding in Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Lake and St. Louis counties.
ST. PAUL—A Minnesota-based beauty school abruptly has closed all 79 campuses across the country. Regency Beauty Institute schools included five, serving about 430 students, in Minnesota: Duluth, Blaine, Burnsville, Maplewood and St. Cloud. "It is with great sadness that we announce that after more than 50 years of educating cosmetology students, Regency Beauty Institute is permanently closing on September 28, 2016," the for-profit school said on its website Thursday. "We are truly sorry for the abrupt nature of this information," Regency's website said.
ST. PAUL—Unionized home care attendants want the state to increase their base pay to $15 an hour and pay for more training, even as some of their colleagues seek to disband the union. Contract talks with the state begin Friday. Workers and their clients told reporters Wednesday that the improvements are needed to stop a home care crisis. "People with disabilities are not receiving all of the care they need," Corey Van Denburgh said. "Our loved ones' health is being put at risk."
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans must be eager to vote in the Nov. 8 election. Nearly 47,000 registered to vote online last week, with about 27,000 on Sept. 23, alone, smashing the one-day record of 7,602. The big interest in registering, as well as early voting, bodes well for high voter turnout in the 2016 election. Secretary of State Steve Simon announced the figures Monday.
ST. PAUL—Rural Minnesota wind and solar farms likely will provide a third of the electricity for the state's 23-building Capitol complex near downtown St. Paul. State and Xcel Energy officials on Wednesday, Sept. 21, announced a 20-year deal to use power from North Star Solar Project in Chisago County and Odell Wind Warm in Cottonwood, Jackson, Martin, and Watonwan counties. Before the deal takes effect, it must be approved by the state Commerce Department and the Public Utilities Commission. State officials say the support is expected early in 2017.