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
- 6 years 3 months
ST. PAUL—There is no proof that state money to help low-income Minnesota families afford child care ended up in the hands of terrorists, but the mere mention of it causes concern among many legislators and the Somali community. "I think it has a national security implication, I really do," former state investigator Scott Stillman told a Senate human services committee Tuesday, May 15.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota House passage of a public works funding bill signals the beginning of the end to the 2018 Minnesota Legislature. The House voted 84-39 Monday, May 14, for a bill that would borrow about $1 billion for everything from fixing college buildings to building water-treatment plants throughout the state. "I cannot guarantee you are going to get another chance," Chairman Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, told fellow representatives as he urged support. Some of the major areas of spending include:
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans watching the final days of the Legislature need to remember one thing: There is nothing lawmakers must do. There is plenty they would like to do, but if they just go home today, little will change in the state. That is quite different from an odd-numbered year when they must approve a budget or state government would shut down. Perhaps the most complex issue is the one legislators will push the hardest to pass, a tax bill.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota would collect $20 million from opioid painkiller makers and distributors under Senate-passed legislation. "We cannot continue to go at this pace," Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, said about an epidemic of deaths due to opioid abuse. "We are losing people daily." Senators backed the bill 60-6 Thursday, May 10. It is one of the major bills in the Legislature this year, and one that especially rural Minnesotans say is at the top of their priority lists.
ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton needs to accept a smaller public works bill, the Minnesota Senate chairman in charge of the issue says. "I don't have a nickel more to spend on bonding," Sen. Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said Wednesday, May 9, after releasing his public works funding bill. Democrat Dayton earlier this year unveiled a $1.5 billion bonding bill, a proposal that did not include local projects that he said merit funding, leaving him supporting $2.3 billion in public works projects.
ST. PAUL — About two weeks remain in the 2018 legislative session, so it is time for the work to begin. At least it is time for the final work. Now is when the House, Senate and administration to sit down in conference committees and behind closed doors to reach deals. Even-numbered years like 2018 normally are centered on funding public works projects. This year, such work nearly has been an afterthought as so many other issues have shot to the top.
ST. PAUL—Taxes have taken over as the 2018 Minnesota Legislative session's No. 1 issue, thanks federal tax law changes that will affect most Americans. The House tax plan passed 90-38 Monday, April 30, and Senate Republicans announce their proposal Tuesday morning, making it the third plan as Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton announced his wishes weeks ago. The House Republican majority says its measure will provide 2.1 million Minnesotans tax cuts. If the Legislature and Dayton do nothing, about 300,000 would pay more.
ST. PAUL—A Minnesotan who national television cable news viewers know as a strong President Donald Trump critic is running as a Democrat for U.S. Senate. Richard Painter announced Monday, April 30, that he will run in the Aug. 14 Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party primary election against Sen. Tina Smith. Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Smith when Al Franken resigned; she says she is running for election this year for the last two years of Franken's term.
ST. PAUL — How to deal with opioid abuse is one of those issues that everyone agrees needs legislation, but they cannot agree on details. Many Democrats and at least some Republicans say drug companies that make and sell the powerful painkillers should pay for opioid abuse prevention and treatment. That does not fly well with many Republicans, although Sen. Julie Rosen of Vernon Center is continuing her fight to collect a fee (or tax, if you will) on opioids sold in the state.
ST. PAUL—What we have here is a failure to communicate. That is what Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt said on Thursday, April 26, about news coverage of gun legislation written from his comments a day earlier. "Obviously, there was some misunderstanding of our press conference," Daudt said late Thursday afternoon, after spending the day trying to make sure gun-rights advocates knew that he still supports them. "It is my fault too, because I wasn't as clear as I should have been," he added.