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 5 months
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. Backer represents District 12A, which includes the western half of Douglas and Pope counties, and all of Big Stone, Grant, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin counties. The team represents the two geographic areas Republicans must carry to win a general election: the suburbs and rural Minnesota.
A proposed penalty for farmers who fail to comply with the state's new buffer was quickly dumped after it drew heated backlash from legislators, including those who represent Douglas County. "These new penalties would devastate family farmers and could cost them tens of thousands of dollars, grossly exceeding the maximum fine of $500 as written in state statute," said Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, in an April 9 email.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton suggests some tax cuts and some increases, lots more spending for some programs, a little more for others, no more for much of state government. Republicans disagree with much of what he proposes. However, they agreed with one thing the Democratic governor said: "I will warn you in advance, this is complicated." Dayton unveiled his proposed changes to the state's current two-year, $46 billion budget on Friday, March 16. His plan now goes to the Republican-controlled Legislature, where much of it will face opposition.
ST. PAUL — Gary Haugen has lost his attempt to overturn a decades-old decision that forces him to install vegetative buffers. The lawsuit, recently decided by the Minnesota Appeals Court, technically dealt with whether an unnamed streambed is public — and, thus, required to have buffers along it — or a private water course. Appeals judges ruled, like a district judge did earlier, that the 1980 Department of Natural Resources decision that it is public stands.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says he and the Legislature should try to work together like they did in restoring the Capitol building. In his final State of the State speech Wednesday, March 14, the Democratic governor looked back at his two terms in office and ahead to tasks remaining during his final 299 days on the job.
BLOOMINGTON, Minn.—Federal officials in Illinois say they have arrested three men they think bombed a Bloomington mosque last summer. Law enforcement officers arrested the trio Tuesday morning, March 13, in east-central Illinois. While they were arrested on a charge of possessing a machine gun, a criminal complaint filed In U.S. District Court indicated authorities obtained evidence that they were responsible for bombing the Bloomington mosque last Aug. 5.
ST. PAUL — The most bipartisan Minnesota gun safety bills offered so far this year were all but shot down as soon as they were introduced. Two Democrats and two Republicans on Monday, March 12, told reporters about a pair of bills — one requiring background checks on almost all gun buyers and a second making it mandatory to report lost or stolen firearms — they hope get through in a Legislature with a strong divide between the two political parties. Leaders of the Republican-controlled Senate made it clear the two bills are very unlikely to be considered.
ST. PAUL—Republican Minnesota lawmakers want a law requiring able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work. They said the bill they unveiled Monday, March 12, would not force disabled people or those who need to stay home to care for a dependent to give up Medicaid, known in Minnesota as Medical Assistance. Rep. Kelly Fenton, R-Woodbury, said her bill would "lift Minnesotans out of poverty by encouraging them to get work." If they do not have jobs, they would be required to look for work or be enrolled in a job-training program.
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans know farmers are upset about state-mandated buffers next to water, but that is nothing compared to what many rural legislators are hearing about state regulation of highway ditch mowing.
ST. PAUL—It's a safe bet that few Minnesotans knew about fake service animals until recently. Some national news about people trying to take what they call service animals onto airplanes attracted attention, followed by Minnesota legislative hearings in which people who use service dogs told lawmakers that untrained dogs other owners pass off as "service dogs" distract trained animals and force people who manage buildings to think their real service dogs could cause trouble.