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 — The story is that greater Minnesota loses population because there are not enough jobs. However, many greater Minnesota communities actually have plenty of jobs, leaving areas short of housing for workers that businesses and industries need. Some industries have resorted to busing in workers and some have helped finance housing in an effort to attract workers. It is a story most Minnesotans do not know, but one that keeps city and business leaders awake at night. Some experts guess that up to 7,500 new homes are needed, but no one really knows.
Businesses in communities short of housing commonly donate money to build apartments, or help employees buy homes, but a Todd County meatpacker bought an entire apartment building in Alexandria to shelter some of its new employees. Long Prairie Packing, part of the Wisconsin-based American Foods Group, bought an old apartment building in Alexandria three years ago mostly for new workers. "We can bring people to the area, get them settled in their jobs," American Foods President Steven Van Lannen said.
An Army veteran from Ohio says U.S. Sen. Al Franken cupped her breast in 2003. Stephanie Kemplin, 41, told CNN about a USO tour photo opportunity in Kuwait in which she said the Minnesota Democrat reached around her and touched her breast. She is the fifth woman to accuse Franken of sexual misconduct.
ST. PAUL -- A former Minnesota woman says U.S. Sen. Al Franken grabbed her buttocks while her husband was taking their photo at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair. Lindsay Menz, who now lives in Texas, said on Twitter: "In August 2010, @alfranken grabbed me while taking a photo together at the Minnesota State Fair. I felt violated & embarrassed." Tweeting to radio host Leeann Tweeden, she added: "I 100% believe your account of him & his actions, ... Thank you for sharing your story."
ST. PAUL — Some of the strongest comments against U.S. Sen. Al Franken's inappropriate 2006 behavior toward a female entertainer came from members of his own Democratic-Farm-Labor Party. "We are incredibly disappointed in Sen. Franken," DFL Chairman Ken Martin said after West Coast broadcaster Leeann Tweeden posted on Facebook her story about the 2006 USO tour she and Franken were on. Martin said as sexual allegation reports across the country add up that "it becomes even clearer how pervasive sexual harassment is throughout our society."
ST. PAUL — Al Franken has faced allegations of improperly treating women before. In 2008, just before Franken won his first Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement to be U.S. senator, complaints arose about his writing objectionable jokes and book passages, including jokes about rape. The state party convention in June of that year endorsed him with 62 percent support, but some delegates were concerned. "They don't like distractions," then-state Sen. Keith Langseth, D-Glyndon, said of his constituents. "I'm a little uneasy about it."
ST. PAUL — Minnesota legislative leaders say they will limp along to the 2018 legislative session by taking money from a House-Senate commission. But, they said, they will need to immediately pass a legislative budget once they return to St. Paul Feb. 20. The comments came Thursday, Nov. 16, just after the Minnesota Supreme Court allowed to stand Gov. Mark Dayton's veto of the Legislature's $130 million two-year budget.
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans soon may know if their Legislature can stay in business. The state Supreme Court plans to release an opinion at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, on a lawsuit challenging Gov. Mark Dayton's veto of legislative funding.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Senate leaders say they are preparing to lay off their employees. If the courts do not decide a funding dispute between the Republican-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, Senator Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said on Wednesday, Nov. 8, that employees will receive furlough notices in December or January. "We don't take the suspension of operations of the Minnesota Senate lightly," Gazelka said. "This is not a game, but we really have no other choice today."
ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn.—Abby Haley "fell in love." Jen Jensen encountered "my own personal devil." The women were talking about their addiction to opioids, powerful painkillers that Minnesota and national officials say are taking taking over so many lives that the situation has become a crisis. Many who have become enveloped in the crisis are like Haley and Jensen, who hit the depths. The two women received treatment and say they have been clean for two years.