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 -- Gov. Mark Dayton walked out of a meeting he chairs Tuesday, Nov. 29, over a battle about whether Civil War paintings should hang in his office. "It has been a deeply distressing issue for me," Dayton said, claiming Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, wishes to return six paintings to the governor's office once the state Capitol building restoration finishes next year is rooted in political ambitions.
ST. PAUL -- Rural Minnesotans are happy, to a point. They are optimistic, to a point. They see local jobs available, to a point. "It is kind of a mixed bag," Executive Director Brad Finstad of the Center for Rural Policy and Development said.
ST. PAUL -- Turkey talk turned thoughtful Monday, Nov. 21, as a hunger fighter said she worries about feeding Minnesotans. Colleen Moriarty of Hunger Solutions Minnesota said the number of people in the state using food shelves has reached an all-time high, and now she is concerned about discussion in Washington to remove funding from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.
ST. PAUL -- A northern Minnesota mother says she wants the federal courts to restore her parental rights so she can help her son, who is undergoing a sex-change procedure. "Not only was I robbed of the opportunity to help my son make good decisions, but I also feel he was robbed of a key advocate in his life, his mother," a teary-eyed Anmarie Calgaro told reporters Wednesday, Nov. 16, in announcing she is suing St. Louis County, two health-care providers and the St. Louis County School District.
ST. PAUL — Count former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty out as Trump administration Treasury secretary. The New York Times floated his name as a possible pick by president-elect Donald Trump. But on Tuesday, Nov. 15, one of Pawlenty's former top aides said that would not happen. "Gov. Pawlenty told me he is not being considered for treasury secretary and the New York Times story was just speculation," Brian McClung said. That probably is no surprise to people who know Pawlenty.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans looking to buy new Medica individual insurance policies, but have not already made the purchase for 2017, are out of luck. The state Commerce Department announced early Friday, Nov. 11, that Medica of Wisconsin and Medica Insurance Co. reached a cap on the number of new policies they are willing to sell. That means for much the state, the Medica stopped selling policies to people who are not already customers.
ST. PAUL -- Republicans apparently won control of the Minnesota Senate Tuesday, Nov. 8, and came close in many races they were not expected to make competitive.
ST. PAUL -- Election day may be Tuesday, but 568,196 Minnesotans already have voted. That is the word this morning from the secretary of state's office and represents the most early voters ever. This is the first presidential election in which a state no-excuse, early-voting law is in effect. The figure represents the absentee vote count plus mail-in ballots used in some rural predicts.
ST. PAUL -- Individual health insurance policies have been hot sellers this week, but Gov. Mark Dayton says the allotment is nowhere near sold out. Insurance companies are limiting the number of new policies they sell this year to 152,000, and Dayton said on Friday, Nov. 4, that limits are not being approached. However, he offered no estimate about how long it would be before any of the three major health plans would reach their caps.
ST. PAUL—Technology issues are fixed and the state's MNsure health insurance sales program has enrolled 10,000 Minnesotans, a mark not hit in nearly a month last year. "We've helped more Minnesotans than we have in any two-day period in our history," MNsure executive Allison O'Toole told reporters Thursday, Nov. 3.