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 4 months
MINNEAPOLIS—Jerry Williams and 10,000 other volunteers are ready to put Minnesota's best foot forward. The volunteers from around Minnesota will greet and help Super Bowl visitors for the 10 days leading up to the main event on Sunday, Feb. 4, with smiles on their faces and plenty of information to share. Williams, who retired as Rochester, Minn., school superintendent more than a decade ago, said that when he is at his downtown Minneapolis station he will jump into action "when I see people with that glazed-over look like, 'Where am I?'"
ST. PAUL—Liberal immigration supporters are furious at Democratic U.S. senators, including Minnesota's two, for favoring a short-term federal budget deal that does not maintain a program they favor. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith on Monday, Jan. 22, joined 79 other senators of both parties to end a federal government shutdown that began Saturday. On an 81-18 vote, senators voted to extend the the federal government budget through Feb. 8.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton launched what he hopes is a bonding miracle pass as his time in office runs out. But unlike when Stefon Diggs caught the Vikings' game winner, there is little doubt defenders in this contest will not duck. It is a pretty sure bet Republicans will reach in and knock the $1.5 billion pass away. And they no doubt will prevent a handoff of $858 million from the state to local communities.
ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton might support borrowing more than $2.3 billion for public works projects this year, his last in elective office. He announced a $1.5 billion proposal Tuesday, Jan. 16, but the governor's office also reports that he feels $858 million in local projects "merit state investments," but he did not include them in his proposal. The public works proposal, known as the bonding bill, is looking to be much like other plans Dayton has released since taking office in 2011: He calls for big bonding bills while Republicans want to shrink them.
ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton wants the state to fund $1.5 billion of public works projects across Minnesota and asks legislators to approve $858 million more for local projects. More than a third of the $1.5 billion would be designated for state-run colleges and universities, mostly making repairs and improvement on existing buildings. The rest would go to improve other state buildings, construct affordable housing, upgrade clean water facilities and construct other projects in all parts of Minnesota.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota would seem to have an outsized influence on the next farm bill. Both of the state's senators are on that body's Agriculture Committee and three of the state's eight congressmen are on the House farm panel, including Rep. Collin Peterson, the top-ranking Democrat and former chairman. All Minnesotans on the committees are Democrats, in a Congress controlled by Republicans. However, agriculture policy, including the farm bill, usually is decided on a bipartisan basis.
ST. PAUL—A replacement crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota could be completed by the end of 2019, even with a delay approved by the state Public Utilities Commission. The PUC on Tuesday, Jan. 9, bumped back the date it wants to receive a report from March 30 until April 23. While some pipeline supporters said that would mean pipeline construction could not start next year, Shannon Gustafson of pipeline owner Enbridge said even with the delay the pipeline could be done by its deadline.
ST. PAUL—A Minnesota Senate special election in the southeastern Twin Cities carries more importance than usual, with a statewide impact. The race to fill the seat of recently resigned Sen. Dan Schoen, D-St. Paul Park, could help determine who controls the state Senate. Schoen left the Senate after being accused of sexual misconduct as Republicans held a one-vote edge in the 67-member body. If Democrat Karla Bigham wins the seat, her party remains just one vote down. Now enter the latest Minnesota constitutional crisis.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota state Senate President Michelle Fischbach calls herself "acting lieutenant governor," but has not talked publicly about the job she just inherited. The Republican senator issued a statement Wednesday, Jan. 3, giving no indication that she plans to be an active No. 2 to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.
WASHINGTON — Tina Smith raised her right hand and swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution, replacing Minnesota U.S. Sen. Al Franken after a series of allegations that he engaged in sexual misconduct. She took her oath at 11:04 a.m. Central time Wednesday, Jan. 3, becoming the 22nd female senator. That is a record number of women serving at the same time in the 100-member body. Smith was sworn in along with Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat elected in a special election last month.