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.
- Member for
- 5 years 4 months
ST. PAUL—The battleground for new federal health insurance legislation may be in the same place as last year's presidential election was decided: rural America. Democrats are telling rural Donald Trump voters that they do better under current law championed by then-President Barack Obama. An example comes from the Democrat-leaning National Farmers Union and its president, a former North Dakota agriculture commissioner.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota taxpayers last year funded more than $9 million in local government lobbying expenses. That is, local governments used tax money to pay lobbyists to get the Legislature to vote a certain way. The state auditor's office released figures showing the 2016 spending topped 2015 by $183,353.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota senators are sending a pair of abortion restriction bills to the governor, who promises to veto them. A mostly Republican Senate majority voted Thursday, May 4, to require many abortion clinics to be licensed and to ban state funding for abortions. The House earlier passed the bills. "I oppose both of them," Gov. Mark Dayton said as the Senate began its debate, promising to veto both. Republicans have passed similar bills in the past, always meeting Democratic resistance.
ST. PAUL — Complaints that are pouring in about funding the Republican-controlled Minnesota House and Senate propose give an insight into the distance lawmakers stand from Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton whenever final negotiations begin. Many of the complaints come from Dayton commissioners and people who support his budget plan. Take, for instance, higher education spending. The GOP plan calls for $3.2 billion to be spent in state taxpayer money in the next two years, a $125 million increase.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota legislative negotiators powered through most of their proposed $46 billion, two-year budget Monday, May 1, afternoon and night as they aimed for negotiations with Gov. Mark Dayton they hoped would result in a framework of a final budget deal later this week. It was a busy day in the Capitol, with House Republicans releasing their $600 million public works finance bill and immigrants rallying under the dome.
ST. PAUL — The sky has not fallen since Donald Trump became president. But, opponents are quick to say, there still is time. Trump's 100th day in office, Saturday, April 29, arrived with too few concrete actions for most Minnesota leaders to give him a full grade.
ST. PAUL — Collin Peterson is running for U.S. House again, but Rick Nolan is waiting to decide whether to make a re-election or governor bid. And Tim Walz is giving up his House seat to run for governor.
ST. PAUL — State lawmakers begin the "Minnesota two-step." That is how Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, on Thursday, April 27, described the planned release of spending compromises key legislators have reached as they begin the real work of crafting a two-year state budget expected to hit $46 billion. The Friday announcement, the first step of the process, will be the most concrete sign of progress as lawmakers face a May 22 constitutional deadline to adjourn for the year, unless they need to return to finish the budget in a special session.
ST. PAUL—A new requirement for farmers to provide plant buffers around water has bubbled up to be a top rural issue in the Minnesota Capitol, and not necessarily politically partisan. Farmers need more information before the buffer law begins Nov. 1, a Democratic-leaning farm group reports farmers said during a series of 14 meetings around the state. One of the major topics the Minnesota Farmers Union meetings highlighted was Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's buffer initiative that lawmakers approved in 2015.