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 7 months
ST. PAUL -- One candidate for Minnesota Republican Party dropped out Friday after being arrested a day earlier while a colorful former legislator got into the race to lead a party facing financial woes. Hearing aid company executive Brandon Sawalich, who had gained support from many GOP leaders, left the race a day after he was arrested by Minneapolis-St. Paul airport police when his pickup truck was spotted with expired license tabs. Also on Friday, information surfaced that he had settled a sexual harassment dispute out of court. Meanwhile, former state Rep.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's first female Senate majority leader resigned after fellow senators confronted her with allegations she had an inappropriate relationship with a male Senate employee. Four senators on the Republican leadership team told reporters Friday that Senate staffers told more than one of them that they felt the relationship between Sen. Amy Koch and the worker was hurting the work environment. "This is a painful experience for all of us involved," said Sen.
ST. PAUL -- The first woman to lead the Minnesota Senate is leaving, saying she wants to spend time with family and work in the private sector. Amy Koch, 40, shocked her colleagues Thursday when she wrote to them saying she would quit immediately as majority leader, in the job just a year, and not seek re-election to the Senate. She was not specific about why she is quitting in the letter or an interview with Forum Communications. "I just want to have an opportunity to move on to some other things," Koch said in the interview. "I want to spend some time with my daughter.
Update 5:35: Majority Leader Koch resigns position, announces she will not seek re-election as senator
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators plan a short session next year, with a couple of extended breaks. House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, today released the legislative calendar Republicans who control the Legislature have drafted. It features a nearly week-long break in early February for precinct caucuses, after convening for the year on Jan. 24.
ST. PAUL -- U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., wants to extend tax credits for biofuels such as ethanol and other alternative source. "From biofuels to wind power to solar energy, alternative energy industries are creating good jobs and boosting local economies across Minnesota," Klobuchar said.
ST. PAUL -- Trying to agree on how to fund a new Vikings football stadium is hard enough, but legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton also must deal with trying to find the facts. It's not that anyone is lying, but everyone is trying to spin their side of the story. Vikings officials keep hammering home the point that the $425 million they pledge for a $1.1 billion stadium in Arden Hills would be the third largest team contribution ever to a National Football League stadium. On the other hand, the stadium team owner Zygi Wilf wants would be the third most expensive, too.
ST. PAUL -- There appears to be a feeling that gambling is at least part of the answer to funding a new Vikings football stadium, but the questions come down to what kind of gambling and who benefits? Those who push modernizing existing games say the Vikings, the state, local charities and small businesses all would come out winners. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton is challenging a court order blocking an election that would allow in-home day care workers to join unions. His spokeswoman, Katharine Tinucci, said he will dispute the issue at a Jan. 17 Ramsey County District Court hearing. Judge Dale Lindman on Monday ordered a temporary injunction to stop the election, set to begin this week, saying such a decision should be made by the Legislature. He scheduled a Jan.
ST. PAUL -- Asian carp appear on their way to northern Minnesota waters, or may already be there. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources today announced DNA test results in Mississippi River waters just above a Coon Rapids dam in the northwestern Twin Cities area show the invasive carp may be present. Nineteen of 48 tests near the dam showed silver carp DNA, three upstream of the dam.