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 farmers and agriculture-related groups ask for very little money from the state. Gov. Mark Dayton's $46 billion two-year budget proposal would give just short of $1 billion to the Agriculture Department. At the same time, agriculture provides between 20 percent and 30 percent of Minnesota's jobs and wealth and agriculture leaders say their industry could do even better with a bit more help from the state. Pat Lunemann said a priority must be "to make sure we have a level playing field with the states surrounding us."
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—Jared Johnson's mother and sister say his death a year ago should convince other ice anglers to think about the silent, odorless killer carbon monoxide. "This has destroyed his dad," his mother, Denice, Johnson said. "It has broken me."
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.
ST. PAUL — Raising Minnesota's next two-year budget nearly 10 percent is Gov. Mark Dayton's ask. "We must wisely invest and use our resources," his finance commissioner, Myron Frans, told reporters on Tuesday, Jan. 24, in announcing hopes to increase spending for transportation, education, local governments and other budget areas.
ST. PAUL — Here are some key areas of increased spending Gov. Mark Dayton wants in Minnesota's two-year budget that begins July 1: • $609 million for kindergarten-through-high school education programs. • $75 million to expand voluntary pre-kindergarten classes. • $84 million to expand access to child care and $61 million for child care tax credits • $318 million for Minnesota State and University of Minnesota systems for student financial aid and other needs. • $300 million in a variety of tax cuts to benefit 450,000 Minnesotans.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who fainted Monday night during his State of the State speech, revealed Tuesday, Jan. 24, that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The Democratic governor said he will be travel to Rochester’s Mayo Clinic for assessment after his collapse Tuesday afternoon and be, separately, treated there for the prostate cancer in the coming weeks. Asked if he is up for the job of governor, the 69-year-old governor said: “I think I am.”
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Mark Dayton has a prescription for a new type of health insurance. Ironically, he was just getting into the issue during his Monday night, Jan. 23, State of the State speech when he encountered his own health issue. He collapsed 45 minutes into his speech; he walked out, but with assistance, after a few minutes and was reported doing well at home an hour later.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton collapsed during his State of the State speech Monday night, Jan. 23, but after a few minutes walked away with help. An hour later, he was playing a puzzle with his grandson at his official state residence. "He quickly recovered, walked out of the Capitol, and returned home," his chief of staff, Jaime Tincher, said an hour and a half after the incident. "EMTs joined the governor there, and performed a routine check. He is now spending time with his son and grandson."