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 -- Two Iron Range senators made emotional pleas Thursday to extend unemployment benefits for thousands of men and women who have lost jobs due to a steel price crisis, and senators responded by passing the legislation 62-3. "I wish we weren't here with this bill," Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, said because it means his Iron Range is in trouble.
ST. PAUL -- A new effort to require background checks on all Minnesota gun buyers began Thursday, but gun owner groups, Republicans and some rural Democrats may have difficulty backing it. Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and the Everytown Survivor Network gathered Democratic lawmakers, law enforcement personnel and prosecutors to promote the attempt. "We are not targeting the Second Amendment," said Democratic Rep. Dan Schoen, a Cottage Grove police officer.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton laid out a plan for the 2016 legislative session Wednesday night, ranging from expanding broadband high-speed Internet to increasing education funding to cleaning the state's water. The Democrat said little new in his annual State of the State speech, delivered at the University of Minnesota, but he clearly showed his differences with Republicans on many fronts.
ST. PAUL -- Nearly all Minnesota lawmakers say the state should extend unemployment benefits to laid-off Iron Range workers, but the state House failed to provide the help on its opening day Tuesday It was a raucous first day as greater Minnesota stepped into the spotlight minutes after the House and Senate were gaveled in on the latest day a Legislature ever has begun its regular session. The House spent nearly three hours debating the unemployment issue, while senators argued about whether a new committee yanks authority away from greater Minnesota.
ST. PAUL -- Construction workers in hardhats roved around the Minnesota House chamber Tuesday morning, less than an hour before the 2016 session began, conducting last-minute checks on microphones and voting buttons. It was a sign of a House meeting in a construction zone this year. The Rev. Richard Buller of Valley Community Presbyterian Church in Golden Valley offered the opening prayer, urging God to give representatives "a big dose of patience."
ST. PAUL — Transportation. Taxes. Public works projects. Education. Water quality. That is merely the beginning of the list of topics Minnesota lawmakers want to consider when they return to session Tuesday. It is not a much different list than other years, but the time to accomplish anything is limited, mostly because of a $304 million Capitol renovation that has closed everything but the House chamber, one elevator and hallways allowing people to get to the chamber.
ST. PAUL — It appears two issues will be up for debate almost as soon as Minnesota legislators return for their 2016 session Tuesday: extending Iron Range unemployment benefits and overturning a gag rule preventing key state officials from working toward making Minnesota identification cards meet federal standards. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, has promised to pass legislation to give miners 26 more weeks of unemployment benefits.
ST. PAUL -- Packed precinct caucuses, and reports that thousands left in frustration due to overcrowding, are leading more Minnesota political leaders to push a presidential primary election. The latest is Chairman Ken Martin of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, who on Friday said he would support a modified primary system, connected to the state's traditional caucuses. Republican state Chairman Keith Downey said he is open to looking at change.
ST. PAUL -- More than 250,000 Minnesotans could show up at precinct caucuses Tuesday to pick presidential favorites and make other political decisions.
ST. PAUL -- Anti-pipeline protesters interrupted Gov. Mark Dayton Saturday as he spoke to more than 800 Minnesotans at a summit about how to clean the state's water. A half dozen people representing environmental and American Indian groups carrying signs saying "Love water, not oil" went up on stage, while others stood in front of Dayton holding a similar banner. They criticized him for supporting oil pipelines across northern Minnesota.