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
- 5 years 10 months
ST. PAUL—Minnesota state leaders are preparing to negotiate one of the most complex tax law rewrites in decades. With the Senate passing, by 34-32, its version of the tax legislation on Thursday, May 3, all three pieces are in place for the governor and legislative leaders to ensure that recent massive changes in federal tax law do not force hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans to pay more.
ST. PAUL—Repairing, not building, is a public works priority for Minnesota House Republicans. Instead of constructing lots of new buildings, they propose fixing roofs, painting peeling walls and other such routine but needed work. The House public works plan, to be funded by the state selling bonds, would spend $825 million, Republicans announced late Wednesday afternoon, May 2. Of that, $364 million would go to preserve state facilities.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota water advocates gathered at the Capitol for their annual Clean Water Action Day when at least one water controversy seems to be easing. House Agriculture Chairman Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, said Wednesday, May 2, an hour before the clean-water rally that farmers now pretty much accept a Dayton administration draft rule on nitrogen fertilizer, although he said they still do not trust the administration.
ST. PAUL — The Woodbury Republican mayor running for Minnesota governor has picked a rural lawmaker to be her running mate. Mary Giuliani Stephens announced on Wednesday, May 2, that Rep. Jeff Backer from Browns Valley will run for lieutenant governor. The team represents the two geographic areas Republicans must carry to win a general election: the suburbs and rural Minnesota.
ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton said he read a couple of news stories over the weekend about unexpected financial shortfalls schools face, and on Tuesday, May 1, produced a request for $138 million in "emergency" funding. He said that 59 districts face immediate budget deficits, and he wants to split the "emergency" money among all districts across the states. Republicans who lead legislative education finance committees said they have done a good job of funding schools in recent years, and more funding likely will not come.
ST. PAUL — Rural Republican state lawmakers say Minnesota Department of Transportation officials only funded Twin Cities-area projects from the Corridors of Commerce program. Two of the four projects to get funding are in the Twin Cities and two are on its edge. None of the projects announced Tuesday, May 1, is in what the rural Legislators consider greater Minnesota.
ST. PAUL—A Minnesotan who national television cable news viewers know as a strong President Donald Trump critic is running as a Democrat for U.S. Senate. Richard Painter announced Monday, April 30, that he will run in the Aug. 14 Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party primary election against Sen. Tina Smith. Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Smith when Al Franken resigned; she says she is running for election this year for the last two years of Franken's term.
ST. PAUL — How to deal with opioid abuse is one of those issues that everyone agrees needs legislation, but they cannot agree on details. Many Democrats and at least some Republicans say drug companies that make and sell the powerful painkillers should pay for opioid abuse prevention and treatment. That does not fly well with many Republicans, although Sen. Julie Rosen of Vernon Center is continuing her fight to collect a fee (or tax, if you will) on opioids sold in the state.
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans can check their state government's spending habits online, and a new study says it is one of the best websites in the country. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund recently released a report card for state websites that allow residents to track government spending. It shows Minnesota tied for third place with rival Wisconsin. They earned marks of A, with a score of 94 out of 100. Ohio and West Virginia had 98 scores and received A-plus grades.
ST. PAUL—What we have here is a failure to communicate. That is what Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt said on Thursday, April 26, about news coverage of gun legislation written from his comments a day earlier. "Obviously, there was some misunderstanding of our press conference," Daudt said late Thursday afternoon, after spending the day trying to make sure gun-rights advocates knew that he still supports them. "It is my fault too, because I wasn't as clear as I should have been," he added.