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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BISMARCK, N.D. -- Award-winning author and Wahpeton native Louise Erdrich was named the 39th recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state's highest commendation. Gov. Jack Dalrymple will present Erdrich with the award April 19. Erdrich is the author of 14 novels, as well as volumes of poetry, children's books and a memoir of early motherhood. Her 1984 novel "Love Medicine" won the National Book Critics Circle Award. "The Last Report on Miracles at Little No Horse" was a finalist for the National Book Award.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Legislature is famous for deciding major issues near the end of each year's session. Expect 2013 to be no different. So far, Gov. Mark Dayton has signed just one major bill into law, and eight minor ones, out of 3,172 that the 201 lawmakers have introduced. That means there will be a lot of public and private debate by the Legislature's constitutionally mandated May 20 adjournment date. "The budget will be the big push," said Sen.
MOORHEAD, Minn. -- Frank Orton made sure Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton understands problems he faces in competing against North Dakota stores. "Minnesota must not adopt a tax policy that makes our businesses unable to compete," Orton wrote in a letter to Dayton in connection with a Monday night Moorhead town hall meeting. "At times those of us on the Minnesota-North Dakota (line) feel like we are playing with the deck completely stacked against us.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans will be able to shop for health insurance through a state marketplace beginning Oct. 1, but may not see savings for a couple of years. Minutes after Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday signed a bill into law establishing the marketplace, to be known as MNsure, he said that it eventually will save Minnesotans money, but not until 2015 or later. Many cost savings will come from a shift in how Minnesotans get health care, the governor said.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota schools would be the biggest beneficiaries of a state House Democratic budget proposal that goes beyond the governor's plan to increase taxes on the rich. Minnesota House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, unveiled a budget outline Tuesday that accepts Democratic Gov.
Mayo Clinic's request for state money to help Rochester prepare for a major medical facilities expansion could be updated after its original proposal ran into difficulties, the Post Bulletin of Rochester reports. House Tax Chairwoman Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, has concerns and asked the bill's sponsor, Democratic Rep. Kim Norton of Rochester, to come up with alternatives. "They are poised and ready to go," Norton said.
Cities across Minnesota agree on a new formula that would deliver a more predictable state aid to them. Coming together on a topic that usually divides urban, suburban, exurban, regional centers and rural communities comes at a time when Democrats in control of the governor's office, House and Senate want to increase Local Government Aid. The formula in a bill by Rep. Ben Lien, DFL-Moorhead, is simpler and city leaders say it gives them a better idea about how much aid to expect.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House will debate guns. The House public safety committee passed a watered-down gun regulation bill on a 10-8 vote Thursday night, with the House the next stop for the controversial issue. The bill contains several noncontroversial provisions to keep guns out of the hands of people who are not supposed to own them, but it also includes a contentious requirement that purchasers at gun shows must have background checks.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators approved 39-28 a health insurance marketplace along party lines Monday, leaving only Gov. Mark Dayton's signature as the final step. Dayton is expected to sign the measure that would give Minnesotans a mostly Web-based place to buy health insurance, as required by federal law. If Minnesota does not establish its marketplace, also known as an exchange, the federal government will. Republicans opposed the marketplace in the Senate, as well as when the House approved it 72-61 early Friday. Bill author Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Janet Thompson was being treated for terminal lung cancer, but her thoughts were about others. She lobbied people she saw to check their homes for radon, a colorless and odorless radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. Now, her sister has taken up the cause. Lori Thompson-Garry told a House committee Wednesday that she backs a bill that would require a radon test when a house goes on the market. "Lung cancer is very silent," said Thompson-Garry of Eagan.