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 7 months
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans should be able to use their existing driver's licenses and identification cards until 2020 to board domestic airline flights and enter some federal facilities. State officials announced Monday, May 7, that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has informed them that since the state is making progress in meeting federal Real ID standards, the deadline may be extended. While not an official deadline extension, Minnesota officials said they expect that to be granted.
ST. PAUL — Rural Minnesota legislators say the most-heard needs from their constituents is lack of affordable child care, and now senators have approved legislation they hope helps. On Monday, May 7, senators overwhelmingly approved three bills written to help reduce regulations home-based child care providers say could drive them out of business. "In rural Minnesota, the lack of child care has become a crisis," Sen. Bill Weber, R-Luverne, said.
ST. PAUL — Republicans who control the Minnesota House and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton do not agree on many aspects of tax policy, but they do agree tax laws need to change before lawmakers end their 2018 session in less than a month. House Tax Chairman Greg Davids, R-Preston, named his bill after the Brothers Osborne country song "It Ain't My Fault," which expresses the feeling of Minnesota leaders. The name, which he announced Tuesday, April 24, is in response to new federal legislation that without state action would raise income taxes on 900,000 Minnesotans.
ST. PAUL — Scientific and cultural discussions overlapped as the Minnesota House approved a bill to start over on water regulations protecting wild rice. Representatives voted 78-45 Monday, April 23, to dump a law in place since 1973, but never enforced, that regulates how much sulfate may be in water of wild rice beds.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota livestock regulators are not doing all they could to protect deer and elk from disease, a state audit shows. "We found that the Board of Animal Health has failed to enforce some laws relating to deer and elk farms," the Office of the Legislative Auditor wrote in a letter to legislators. "The board has not established clear expectations for deer and elk farm inventories, nor has it systematically analyzed compliance with state laws requiring chronic wasting disease testing."
ST. PAUL — About 450 sex offenders and mentally ill and dangerous Minnesotans could be released from state custody before they are fully treated, lawmakers and the Dayton administration say, so state leaders are rushing through legislation to keep them supervised. "It could be days or weeks" when offenders would be released, Acting Human Services Commissioner Chuck Johnson said Monday, April 23, before senators unanimously approved the bill. The House still must take up the measure.
ST. PAUL — Tim Pawlenty could change almost everything in 2018 Minnesota politics. Or voters may consider him a politician of the past and his candidacy for governor will only make a ripple. His campaign created more than a ripple when it announced he had raised $1 million after just three weeks as a candidate. Pawlenty's campaign distributed a news release that proclaimed: "In less than a month, Pawlenty raised more than twice the amount all other remaining GOP candidates combined raised in all of 2017."
ST. PAUL — Time is running out on the Minnesota legislative session, and one of the issues hanging over lawmakers remains unresolved. Even as House and Senate Republicans released overall transportation bills Tuesday, April 17, many questions remained on how they will handle the troublesome vehicle license, title and registration system known as MNLARS.
ST. PAUL — A wealthy Minnesotan who signed up for food stamps to prove people could get them even if they did not need assistance should be ashamed of himself, Gov. Mark Dayton said. "He finagled the system," Dayton said Thursday, April 12, about Rob Undersander of Waite Park, who says he is a millionaire and took food stamps for 19 months to make a point. "How easy it is? He's a smart guy, a millionaire, he obviously figured out. I mean, one person can game the system."
Minnesota's broadband situation is better than some other states, but 12 percent of Minnesotans, mostly in Greater Minnesota, have internet connection speeds slower than the state standard. "We're not taking the elevator, we are taking the stairs on this one," General Manager Dave Wolf of Gardonville Telephone Co-op of the Alexandria area said March 28, standing alongside Gov. Mark Dayton and other broadband advocates.