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 1 month
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota House Republicans want to keep the state's $42 billion, two-year budget -- passed last year -- pretty much as is, with any new spending coming out of existing programs. Unlike Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposal, the GOP plan released Thursday offers no new money for education. The proposal calls for $35 million to help expand broadband high-speed Internet statewide, compared to Dayton's $100 million proposal.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans who do not graduate from high school no longer must pay for GED tests to receive the equivalent of a diploma. The state began paying for the tests in February and on Thursday Gov. Mark Dayton announced the aid will continue through June and he has asked the Legislature to approve another $120,000 to keep the program funded next year.
ST. PAUL -- Essar Steel missing a payment to Minnesota is one thing, but Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday that even worse is skipping out on millions of dollars in bills owed to Iron Range businesses. Essar missed a $10 million payment to the state last week, but Dayton said estimates indicate the company owes $40 million to $50 million to area businesses. "I am very, very concerned," Dayton said. "I am extremely disappointed that Essar has proven to not be a good partner."
ST. PAUL -- Money is needed to end an epidemic of injuries being suffered in two state-run hospitals and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton puts the figure at $177 million. "We are walking around wounded and feel like punching bags," said Jackie Spanjers, a nurse at the Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has added Mississippi to North Carolina as off limits to most official state travel. "It is a step backwards for this country," Dayton said about new laws that he considers anti-gay in the two states.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators are more than a third of the way through their 2016 session and just beginning to talk about taxes, always one of the Capitol's big issues. Senators Tuesday began digging into a Gov. Mark Dayton plan that centers on cutting taxes for up to 126,000 families who need help affording child care. His proposal, offered weeks ago, touches on a range of other issues, including ramping up enforcement of cigarette tax payments.
ST. PAUL -- Child care providers say they face a myriad of problems the Minnesota Legislature needs to solve. Julie Seydel of the Minnesota Association of Child Care Professionals told a Senate committee Monday that her members face a range of issues: increasing paperwork, higher operating costs, increasing liability insurance premiums, ever-increasing regulations, changing interpretation of rules and a more adversarial relationship with state officials.
ST. PAUL -- The Polaris Slingshot, a three-wheeler looking like something out of a superhero movie, came under scrutiny Monday by Minnesota senators considering whether the relatively new vehicle should be treated like a car or motorcycle. Both, the Senate transportation committee decided
ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota Senate committee supported a pilot project for vehicles that drive themselves, but on the same day Reuters news service reported that things are not going well for some of the vehicles in California.
ST. PAUL -- Warning bells figuratively clanged Friday when a Minnesota state Senate committee held its first hearing on new legislation to force railroads to release more information about hazardous materials they haul. Even some Republicans who generally support railroads warned that railroads need to work better with public safety officials.