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 — Minnesotans have another year before they must have a Real ID-compliant driver's license to board airliners. Gov. Mark Dayton announced Wednesday, Oct. 18, that the U.S. Homeland Security Department had granted the extension. "All Minnesotans should be assured that they can continue to board commercial airplanes and access federal facilities with their existing driver's licenses or birth certificates as we work to fully implement Real ID and comply with federal requirements," Dayton said.
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans can begin shopping for individual health insurance policies but only to window shop, not to buy yet. Since buying insurance for people not covered by employer or government programs can be complicated, state-run MNsure has opened its website for examining and comparing 2018 insurance plans. Minnesotans may buy 2018 policies Nov. 1 to Jan. 14. Most Americans only have until Dec. 15 to pick policies.
ST. PAUL — Most Minnesota farmers will meet the first deadline to put buffers between cropland and water. Executive Director John John Jaschke of the state Board of Water and Soil Resources announced Thursday, Oct. 5, that 94 percent of parcels will have pollution protections in place by the Nov. 1 deadline. The Department of Natural Resources has provided maps showing land that must meet this year's deadline, land adjoining rivers, many creeks and some other water. A 2018 deadline applies to public ditches, such as man made ones.
WASHINGTON — Two men with Minnesota backgrounds are set to move into their U.S. Department of Agriculture offices. The Senate late Tuesday, Oct. 3, approved the nominations of Steve Censky to be the No. 2 person in the department and Ted McKinney to become the first-ever undersecretary of trade and foreign agricultural affairs. The nominations by President Donald Trump were not controversial, but it took weeks for senators to give their blessing to the pair.
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 — 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.
Editor's note: This is one of several stories about what is called a rural Minnesota health care crisis. A mentally ill person should not be treated for the disease in an emergency room. Or sitting in a jail. But that is what often happens in rural Minnesota, where there are not enough health care professionals such as psychiatrists to treat them. And there are not enough psychiatric hospital beds even if the professionals were available.
ST. PAUL—Taxpayers will give 24,000 fellow Minnesota residents $8 million for working in Wisconsin. A new law provides Minnesotans tax credits beginning because income taxes they owe to Wisconsin for working there are higher than if they worked in their home state. On agreement between the states, known as tax reciprocity, used to do the same, with Wisconsin footing the bill. The tax credit "will help these workers keep more of their hard-earned money," Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn.—Mike Orbeck may be lucky: He pretty much knows what his health insurance will be next year. Many of his fellow farmers do not know what to expect as federal plans to overturn health care laws failed and the state says individual health insurance policy rates should remain about the same next year, if Minnesota gets federal approval for a new state program. Recent health insurance news, sometimes conflicting and always confusing, has those who rely on individual policies worried. Farmers are a major user of individual policies.
ST. PAUL — Maybe something will come of all the talk this time. We are hearing more about U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar visiting Iowa, which always brings up talk of presidential ambitions. But it is more than just Iowa trips. The Minnesota Democrat is being mentioned more and more by national media, many Americans see her frequent national television appearances and about 900 people like an "Amy Klobuchar for President in 2020" Facebook page. The latest is that she plans to attend a Hollywood fundraiser this weekend.