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 — Bright spots abound in Minnesota's economy: Strong job demand pushes up wages, home sales are increasing, taconite from northeast Minnesota is selling again and people appear to be willing to shop. But predicting the economy's future, and its impact on state government finances, is rendered impossible given uncertainty about what the president and Congress may do.
ST. PAUL—A White Earth Nation judge will join the Minnesota State board of trustees. Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday, Feb. 22, named George W. Soule to fill a vacancy on the board of what had been known as the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. "George Soule has had a very distinguished career bringing justice and opportunity to people throughout Minnesota," Dayton said. "I believe that Mr. Soule will bring this dedication to ensuring excellent higher education and career training opportunities for all students at Minnesota State."
ST. PAUL—Midwestern members of Congress worry about what the Trump administration may do about agriculture-related issues, especially a law requiring use of crop-based fuel. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said she drove home that point during a recent meeting with agriculture secretary nominee Sonny Perdue. Also, a bipartisan group of representatives sent a letter to President Donald Trump saying the Renewable Fuel Standard law is critical.
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans are closer than ever to being able to buy from liquor stores on Sundays, but state senators still need to weigh in.
ST. PAUL — Ethics discussions moved beyond the troubled U.S. Bank Stadium governing authority after its two top officials resigned. While allowing family and friends into U.S. Bank Stadium free has been center of a controversy, the Thursday, Feb. 16, resignation of the facility's chairwoman and executive director spurred discussion about other venues, too. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, said they would like to expand the freebie ban to other public facilities.
ST. PAUL—They were words a Muslim American certainly did not want to hear: "We deported your wife and kids." A few hours later, the message changed: "The kids are fine. ... But mom will be sent back." Still more hours later, the final message became good news: "Congratulations! Your wife and kids will be released."
BLOOMINGTON, Minn.—Be honest. Know what you want to say. Talk to reporters. With that, Patty and Jerry Wetterling laid out their secret to dealing with the media in the 27 years between when their son, Jacob, disappeared and his remains were found last fall in one of the country's must publicized child disappearances. The couple credited the media, especially newspapers, with helping solve their son's case.
ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton wants to raise Minnesota's next two-year budget nearly 10 percent. "We must wisely invest and use our resources," his finance commissioner, Myron Frans, told reporters Tuesday, Jan. 24, in announcing hopes to increase spending for transportation, education, local governments and other budget areas. The Dayton plan would spend almost $46 billion in the two years beginning July 1. "Minnesota is doing better, much better than it was before," Dayton said. "But too many Minnesotans are still being left behind. We can and must do better."
ST. PAUL — When Gov. Mark Dayton collapsed during his State of the State speech on Jan. 23, Rep. Jeff Backer was among the first to act. Backer, R-Browns Valley, whose district includes the western part of Douglas County, is an emergency medical technician of more than 20 years, "This was not my first rodeo," Backer said. "When he stopped and took a drink, I got up right away, and ran around the side of the aisle." In his sprint to the front of the chamber, he called for Rep. Jim Newberger, R-Becker, a paramedic.
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans who buy individual health insurance policies have until Tuesday, Jan. 31, to enroll for coverage this year, unless federal officials allow more time. The governor and a key health-care senator have asked the Trump administration to give Minnesotans more time. The Obama administration rejected a similar ask by fellow Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton. But state officials hope the new Republican administration will be more willing to consider it.