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.
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WADENA, Minn.—People from around the country, and beyond, are supporting a Wadena woman fighting the city's effort to remove one of her three basset hounds. As of Friday afternoon, she had obtained nearly 74,000 supporters on a petition to allow her to keep all three dogs. "This is so unreasonable," Marilyn F. from California wrote on the online petition. "They should have hearings and go on a case by case basis, from this point forward."
ST. PAUL—Angst surrounding invasive carp may have eased in parts of Minnesota, but behind-the-scenes work ramps up as the threat remains. The first of the heavy-eating fish, originally known as Asian carp, was caught in Minnesota in 1991. At least one has been caught every year since 2006, with six so far this year. Scientists think they have just been individual fish, not part of a reproducing colony. No young fish have been caught. The fear is that invasive carp will take over areas native fish need, eating their food and forcing them out.
ST. PAUL—Infrastructure is becoming a Washington, D.C. hot topic. And no one is discussing it more than rural America's lawmakers. "A strong rural infrastructure is necessary for our rural areas to remain vital but our rural economy faces unique infrastructure challenges," U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said as the House Agriculture Committee discussed the topic on Wednesday, July 19.
ST. PAUL -- A judge reached all the way to the Federalist Papers of 1787 to conclude Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton violated the state Constitution when he vetoed state House and Senate funding last spring. "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition," James Madison wrote in arguing in favor of the separation of powers doctrine that soon became the basis for the U.S. Constitution and was key in the Wednesday, July 19, Minnesota court decision.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota law enforcement officers are not trigger happy, Gov. Mark Dayton says, but money lawmakers approved for police training earlier this year could help them react appropriately to instances like have resulted in civilian deaths in recent years.
ST. PAUL — A federal judge says he will decide whether to temporarily stop the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project within 30 days. After a three-hour hearing Tuesday, July 18, Chief Minnesota federal Judge John R. Tunheim announced his month deadline in a request to hit pause on the $2.2 billion project. Attorneys seeking the delay, representing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and areas south of Fargo-Moorhead, said the delay is needed because Minnesota has rejected a permit to build a dam that is part of the project.
ST. PAUL—Mia Morrison brought her 14-year-old enthusiasm to to a public meeting dominated by people much older. "My generation does not want to clean it up," the bubbly girl, waving her hands, told a U.S. Forest Service panel that on Tuesday night, July 18, was listening to Minnesotans, and one Wisconsinite, about whether the federal government should prevent copper-nickel mining near northeast Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. She spoke near the end of a two-and-a-half-hour meeting in downtown St. Paul, one of dozens who spoke against the mine proposal.
ST. PAUL—Two days does not a trend make, but to Christopher Arnold what happened in the first two days Minnesota liquor stores could be open on Sundays looks familiar. "It is basically follows what happened in Colorado," said Arnold, manager at Bagley's city-owned liquor store. Colorado allowed Sunday sales in 2008 for the first time since prohibition. Many stores opened to long lines, then sales leveled off. Or, as Arnold said in a phrase Coloradans may use, "it sort of mellowed out."
ST. PAUL — Minnesota government will not have much left over when the just-started two-year budget cycle ends, Dayton administration officials say. A new report shows there will be $163 million left from the new $45 billion budget in two years (although money the state already has in the bank still could be there). And that is if things go well financially. Officials like Commissioner Myron Frans of Minnesota Management and Budget, the state finance agency, always want to pump up reserves in case the economy goes south, taking state revenues with it.
ST. PAUL—Frustrated families of people who have gone missing have a chance to help law enforcement officials find their loves ones: provide DNA. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension plans four opportunities around the state, starting Saturday, July 15, in St. Paul, for people to provide DNA that authorities will put into a nationwide database to see if it matches unidentified remains that could be anywhere in the country. In Minnesota alone, more than 100 unidentified bodies are buried, BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said Tuesday.