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 -- Minnesota's new human services commissioner promises to spend a lot of time outside the Twin Cities. Lucinda Jesson, a Hamline University law professor, said she and her husband like traveling the state, but she has missed three northwestern Minnesota counties and a few other areas like International Falls. "You will see me," she said in a Forum Communications interview. "I want to make greater Minnesota a focus." Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday named Jesson, 52, to head one of the state's most complex and expensive state agencies, the Department of Human Services.
ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota House committee voted Tuesday to allow new nuclear power plants in the state, with another vote coming soon to remove a ban on new coal power plants and to allow North Dakota coal and electrical power. Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, promised to work with Gov. Mark Dayton on both issues.
ST. PAUL -- Business-friendly bills are the first ones of the 2011 Minnesota legislative session. The first bills introduced in each legislative session signal priorities, and Republicans who took House and Senate control in the Nov. 2 election said on Monday that they are doing what they promised in the campaign: improve the business climate so more people can be hired. House File 1, introduced by rookie Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau, sets a goal of the state issuing environmental permits within 150 days.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton plans to bring together state officials to discuss security around the Capitol complex in light of Saturday's Arizona shooting of a congresswoman and those attending her public event. "This is a moment of great national solemnity," Dayton said before joining a nationwide moment of silence in memory of the six who died and those hurt in the shooting. Dayton said he has not changed his security, but wants to talk to legislative leaders, law enforcement officers and others about whether changes are needed to Capitol complex security.
ST. PAUL -- Republicans who control the Minnesota Legislature are showing the importance they place on businesses. Soon after the Minnesota Legislature started its 2011 session, the state Chamber of Commerce was testifying. The two top chamber officials told the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Committee about the importance of improving the state business climate. The early-session business hearing was not an accident.
ST. PAUL -- The new Minnesota Department of Natural Resources commissioner wants to make sure the agency does not appear arrogant. "I will not stand for arrogance," Tom Landwehr said Thursday, shortly after new Gov.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton diffused a tense situation at his first official function Wednesday by sharing his microphone with shouting protesters crowded into his office. Dozens of people opposed to the state getting more deeply involved in the federal Medicaid program jammed into the governor's reception room alongside legislators, reporters and photographers in a scene Capitol observers say they never have witnessed before.
ST. PAUL -- A research biologist and environmentalist will head the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Gov. Mark Dayton named Tom Landwehr as commissioner of the massive department that does everything from regulating hunting to protecting the environment. Landwehr worked for the DNR in the 1980s and soon became the agency's wildlife manager and later its Wetland Wildlife Program leader. He has been director of the Minnesota and Iowa chapter of Ducks Unlimited and was No.