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 opening of individual health insurance policy sales Tuesday, Nov. 1, was greeted by a robocall effort to block people from reaching the state agency selling policies. Gov. Mark Dayton said the seven-minute wait time for people calling about insurance policies at 9 a.m. slowed to 19 minutes when the automated telephone calls tied up the system. The robocall system was blocked from the MNsure state-run insurance sales agency, the governor added, and call waits quickly dropped.
ST. PAUL—A federal study of relations between Minnesota police and their communities has expanded from Hennepin County to statewide. A Minnesota advisory committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission Monday, Oct. 31, decided the discussion should not be limited to the state's largest county. "I would want to include folks from communities outside of the metro area," said Director Velma Korbel of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, who heads the 15-person advisory committee heavy with Twin Cities members.
ST. PAUL—Loni Kemp is an example of what farmers and other self-employed Minnesotans face: an ever-increasing health insurance bill and no way to get around it. The 63-year-old consultant, who lives in Canton in southeast Minnesota, said that in 2015 she and her husband had a family insurance plan costing $18,000 annually.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's governor says a President Barack Obama inspired health-care law needs work. "The reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people," Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday, Oct. 12, while encouraging state and federal lawmakers to make changes. Soaring health insurance costs are a "very serious problem," Dayton told reporters seeking reaction to his administration's recent announcement that individual health insurance policies' premiums will jump 50 percent to 67 percent next year.
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans must be eager to vote in the Nov. 8 election. Nearly 47,000 registered to vote online last week, with about 27,000 on Friday, Sept. 23, alone, smashing the one-day record of 7,602. The big interest in registering, as well as early voting, bodes well for high voter turnout in the 2016 election. Secretary of State Steve Simon announced the figures on Monday, Sept. 26.
ST. PAUL—A recent drive through Cheyenne, Wyo., included a familiar scene to a Minnesota Capitol insider: a Capitol building undergoing renovation. At least eight state Capitols, as well as the...
ST. PAUL—Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton declared a special legislative session dead just more than a month ago, but on Thursday, legislative and executive branch staff members gather to discuss bringing legislators back this fall. The governor raised the possibility of resurrecting special session talks during a late-August State Fair interview and talked to House Speaker Kurt Daudt about it over breakfast earlier this month. At stake are hundreds of millions of dollars in public works projects, including road work, and tax breaks for many Minnesotans.
ST. CLOUD, Minn.—No link has emerged between terrorist groups and the man who stabbed nine people in a St. Cloud mall Saturday night, Sept. 17. St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson told reporters Monday that he will let the public know quickly if investigators find a connection between the suspect in the stabbings, identified by fellow Somali-Americans as Dahir Anad, and terrorist groups such as ISIS. An ISIS-related news agency called Anad a soldier of the organization, but did not indicate he had prior contact with it.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota is about to increase its campaign warning about the dangers of painkillers known as opioids. State officials also plan to work with medical and pharmaceutical professionals about the risks of overprescribing the drugs. The state announced Monday it is receiving $2.5 million from the federal government to fight heroin and prescribed pain killers such as morphine, codeine, methadone, OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Fentanyl and buprenorphine. Federal and state officials say dependence on those drugs is increasing.
ST. PAUL—A group of American Indians whose ancestors rescued whites during an 1862 Indian war want to collect on a federal government promise of a 12-square-mile tract in west-central Minnesota. The six people, seeking the land for about 20,000 Mdewakanton Sioux Indians, on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue. They have fought the federal government and people who settled the land since 2003, with the high court rejecting earlier requests to consider a related case.