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
ST. PAUL — A state office that exists to protect vulnerable Minnesotans, such as those in nursing homes, is dysfunctional and fails to safeguard people in its charge, a watchdog agency reports. The Office of Legislative Auditor issued one of its most critical reports ever on Tuesday, March 6. Legislative Auditor James Nobles called it "a serious problem in state government." Nobles and Deputy Legislative Auditor Judy Randall told of poor Health Department management, lost case files, lengthy delays and failure to communicate with vulnerable people.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota's state budget has flipped from being in deficit to surplus, but the added money is less than legislative leaders expected. Minnesota Management and Budget, the state finance agency, projects a $329 million surplus for the current $46 billion budget, which ends July 1, 2019. However, Minnesota legislative leaders told a Forum News Service forum two weeks ago that they expected a surplus of $600 million to $1 billion.
Ice seems simple enough: Get water cold enough and it freezes. True, but the science of ice is much more complex, especially when it is in real world bodies of water. Scientists agree on a couple of things: No ice is fully safe and the thickness, and thus safety, of ice can vary greatly in a very short distance. There is general agreement on one other fact, too. The ice season is getting shorter. One study shows a typical Upper Midwest lake will be covered with ice more than a week later than 150 years ago, and will be ice free nearly a week and a half earlier.
ST. PAUL — The Dayton administration says it needs $10 million. Fast. Otherwise, by week's end the state will begin laying off computer programmers and cancel business contracts. And Minnesota's trouble-plagued computer system for issuing motor vehicle license plates, stickers, registrations and titles will continue its slow and inaccurate work.
ST. PAUL—A couple of businesses are moving to Windom, a 4,646-population community in southwest Minnesota, but the mayor there worries that the city cannot handle much more growth. The limiting factor may be the city's need for a new sewage treatment plant to meet state and federal guidelines. Mayor Dominic Jones, who in his private life is director of the Red Rock Rural Water District, said the mandated sewage plant would cost $15 million if it could be built now, but the city cannot afford it.
ST. PAUL — Karla Bigham says she will work with people of both parties as she begins her term in Minnesota's closely divided state Senate. The Cottage Grove Democrat took the oath of office as senator Tuesday, Feb. 20, an hour before the Legislature convened for 2018. The special election she won last week kept Democrats just one vote behind Republicans, 34-33. Bigham said voters in a Feb. 12 special election sent the message that they want a bipartisan senator.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota lawmakers will be drawn into a gun debate that has blossomed since last week's Florida school shooting that left 17 dead. Protect Minnesota, an anti-gun violence group, will lead a Capitol rotunda rally at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22. Among legislation those art the rally will oppose are giving gun owners more freedom to defend themselves and to carry guns without permits.
ST. PAUL — The 2018 Minnesota Legislature opens at noon Tuesday, Feb. 20, and there are plenty of questions about what topics might be debated. A few things are given:
ST. PAUL -- Political organizations targeted a pair of Minnesota special legislative elections, only to see voters opt for no change in political power. A Democrat will replace a Democrat in the state Senate while a Republican takes over for a House Republican after elections Monday, Feb.
ST. PAUL — Michelle Fischbach may remain Minnesota lieutenant governor and a state senator -- for now at least. A judge dismissed a lawsuit against Fischbach, R-Paynesville, Monday, Feb. 12, saying it came too soon. Ramsey County Judge John H. Guthmann wrote that the suit by Destiny Dusosky, who lives in Fischbach's district, "lacks ripeness," adding that her claim "is premature and based on speculation."