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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PAUL — Minnesotans who do not have employer or government funded health insurance received good, but not great, news when state officials released 2018 premiums rates they will pay. Most individual insurance premiums will remain about the same as this year when Minnesotans can start buying them in a month, but many say the rates already were not affordable.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota can keep its program that indefinitely locks up sex offenders after they finish serving prison terms. The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday, Oct. 2, that it will not consider a case brought by patients of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, who claimed the state cannot keep them in a prison-like setting. That means the state program is constitutional and may continue. Still, state officials said that they will continue to find ways to release sex offenders from the program after years of no releases.
ST. PAUL—Police should interact more with their communities. That is an often-preached conclusion of the Governor's Council on Law Enforcement and Community Relations, which Friday, Sept. 29, released a report about how law enforcement-community relations can improve after controversial police shootings of black men in the Twin Cities and elsewhere in the country.
ST. PAUL — Pipelines are safe. Pipelines are dangerous. Oil that moves through pipelines is needed. Oil is not needed. Warm cookies are good. An apple is healthy. Those diverse views are, in short, what state officials must sort out as they decide whether a northern Minnesota oil pipeline should be rebuilt, a Thursday, Sept.28, afternoon and evening public hearing in downtown St. Paul showed.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Board of Teaching has not been reporting teachers' sexual misconduct or inappropriate behavior with students that it uncovers. KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities reports it has found at least 17 times the board has not reported such instances since the 1980s. Board officials said they have no legal obligation to report the incidents, but political leaders say they should.
WASHINGTON -- Republican-written federal health care legislation that appeared lacking enough votes to pass is proof a bipartisan effort is needed to fix the issue, U.S.Sen. Amy Klobuchar told a national audience. "Put politics aside and put the people first," the Minnesota Democrat said during a 90-minute CNN health care legislation debate with three Senate colleagues Monday night, Sept. 25. Klobuchar used her national pulpit to urge bipartisan work to fix the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
ST. PAUL — Kate Swenson says Americans do not understand what Medicaid does. For her family, "Medicaid means my son can live at home," the Cottage Grove, Minn., said Monday, Sept. 25, as Medicaid advocates gathered in Gov. Mark Dayton's office to say they worry about a Republican-written bill due to come up soon in the U.S. Senate. "If that goes away, I don't know what we would do," Swenson said. "Public schools cannot serve him. ... If we lost it, my son will regress dramatically."
ST. PAUL — Federal officials appear ready to approve Minnesota's request for money that would lower individual health insurance premiums, but at the same time take money away from the MinnesotaCare state-subsidized insurance program for the poor.
WASHINGTON — The Minnesota native who appears about to become deputy U.S. agriculture secretary says one of his priorities is to help farmers and ranchers adapt to changing weather and climate. Steve Censky, who grew up near the southwest Minnesota town of Jackson, did not use the term "climate change," but in Tuesday, Sept. 19, testimony to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee he made it clear that dealing with the controversial issue could be key to agriculture's success.
WASHINGTON — A southwestern Minnesota native goes in front of a Senate committee Tuesday, Sept. 19, as nominee for the No. 2 man of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Senators will consider whether to accept President Donald Trump's nomination of Jackson-area native Steve Censky as deputy secretary. Also on the 8:30 a.m. agenda will be confirmation of Indiana Agriculture Director Ted McKinney as undersecretary of trade and foreign agricultural policy affairs.