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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ROSEVILLE, Minn. — Minnesota students appear to be maintaining mostly steady standardized scores on reading, math and science, but whites continue to dramatically outscore minority students. Test scores are not rising much, state Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said Monday, Aug. 7, in releasing the annual Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment test results. "It's frustrating to see test scores slowly increasing over time, but there's more to providing a student with a well-rounded education than can be seen in a test," Cassellius said.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. — Many, if not most, farmers say they like what they have seen so far in how President Donald Trump deals with agriculture. Most specifically, they like him naming Sonny Perdue agriculture secretary, although some are concerned he was the last Cabinet nomination and Perdue's department still lacks many top officials. But there is a question in many minds, when it comes to Trump and Perdue. Farmer Lester Braulick of New Ulm, Minn., put it simply during the recent Farmfest: "Is he (Trump) going to let him do his job?"
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn.—Mike Orbeck may be lucky: He pretty much knows what his health insurance will be next year. Many of his fellow farmers do not know what to expect as federal plans to overturn health care laws failed and the state says individual health insurance policy rates should remain about the same next year, if Minnesota gets federal approval for a new state program. Recent health insurance news, sometimes conflicting and always confusing, has those who rely on individual policies worried. Farmers are a major user of individual policies.
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—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—Average Minnesotans should be involved in training police officers to deal with tense racial situations, Gov. Mark Dayton says as $12 million heads to police departments across the state. "It is only by them coming together and working together and recognizing the common cause we all have" that the new training program will be successful, Dayton said Thursday, July 6, the first anniversary of the fatal shooting of Philando Castile by a St. Anthony police officer. "We all need to learn to live together."
PAUL — The Minnesota Legislature is preparing to sue the governor. A legislative committee plans a Friday, June 2, meeting to consider hiring a lawyer after Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed legislative funding for the next two years.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota state government has a budget, other than for the Legislature. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the Legislature's budget Tuesday, May 30, because of what he called "a reprehensible sneak attack, which shatters whatever trust we achieved during the session." The action was a line tucked into one of the budget bills Dayton signed Tuesday that stopped Revenue Department funding unless another bill cutting taxes became law. That "poison pill," Dayton said, was "snuck" into a bill funding many state programs that he did not feel he could veto.