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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ST. PAUL - Amy Klobuchar had barely pulled out of her driveway en route to Washington, before taking her U.S. Senate position nearly two years ago, when Barack Obama was on the telephone. "We weren't even sworn in yet and he was already determined to break the lock the lobbyists had on Washington..." now-Sen. Klobuchar told the Democratic National Convention in a brief Monday night speech.
ST. PAUL -- Jessica Rohloff has been a faithful voter, but not politically active. Barack Obama changed that. "Barack Obama has inspired me to get involved in the whole process," Rohloff said. "I have been waiting for him since 2004, the first time I heard him speak about the America that is the America I see and believe in." The Willmar woman's story is like that of thousands of others, including more than 100 Minnesotans like herself, arriving in Denver this weekend for the Democratic National Convention.
ST. PAUL -- Provisions restricting young drivers moved closer to law Monday. Senators Monday gave preliminary approval to a bill -- similar to one the House passed last week -- banning drivers in their first six months of holding a license from driving between midnight and 5 a.m., in most cases, and made it illegal to carry more than one other youth not related to the driver. "Between midnight and 5 a.m., folks, is when teenage drivers die on the roads," Sen.
By Don Davis ST. PAUL -- The only major Minnesota Northwest Airlines operation outside of the Twin Cities is safe if Northwest merges with Delta Airlines, the Minnesota Senate president said Monday. Sen. James Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul, said he talked to Northwest President Doug Steenland and brought up the reservations facility in Chisholm. "It will remain open no matter what happens," Metzen reported that Steenland said. A letter from Northwest Vice President Richard Hirst indicated that the airline supports Minnesota jobs, but he called talk of a merger just "speculation." Sen.
ST. PAUL -- A design error in the Minneapolis bridge that collapsed Aug. 1 prompted Minnesota officials to look at the original plans of 59 similar bridges. The $500,000 re-evaluation follows Tuesday's preliminary report blaming gusset plates that connect bridge beams for the Interstate 35W bridge collapse. Bridges Minnesota officials gave priority status for the re-evaluation include U.S. 61 over Mississippi River at Hastings, U.S. 63 over Mississippi River at Red Wing and the Blatnik Bridge in Duluth.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota biodiesel industry is in the slow lane. "Things have kind of slowed down," the University of Minnesota's Doug Tiffany said. "The excitement of ethanol has not been shared with biodiesel." Corn-based ethanol is part of the reason biodiesel hit a rough patch. Farmers last year put more acres into corn to feed the booming ethanol market, taking land away from soybeans. That, in turn, cut the soybean supply and helped force soybean oil prices to soar.
ST. PAUL -- Negotiators inched toward an overall state budget agreement Friday, with three days remaining in the 2007 Minnesota legislative session. Little information leaked out from negotiations among legislative leaders and Gov.
ST. PAUL -- The 16,000 people working at 320 Minnesota meat packing plants deserve a bill of rights, a rabbi and a union leader told a Senate committee. Not so, a state senator -- who owns meat packing plants in three states -- countered in a Wednesday exchange. Sen. Jim Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul, introduced the meat packing employee bill of rights because "we think that these are the right things to do for the tough packing industry." No vote was taken on the bill. However, Metzen, who worked in a South St.
ST. PAUL -- Religious leaders say church groups can help people without evangelizing, the goal of a new Minnesota state office. "The classic phrase is: 'They will know we are Christians by our love,'" said Mark Krejci, a Concordia College vice president and a social work volunteer through his church.