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 marched on the state Capitol by the thousands this year seeking gun control legislation, always meeting with strong Republican opposition. At least until now. On Wednesday, April 25, House Speaker Kurt Daudt of Crown delivered the strongest GOP public comments in favor of enacting some form of gun restrictions.
ST. PAUL — Rural Republican Minnesota House members wanted to make the point that Democrats often ignore farmers. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party certainly did not ignore the group that is little more than a week old. A DFL lawyer sent a cease and desist letter to the Republican Farmer Labor Caucus, telling the RFL to change its name and logo. "This logo is confusingly similar to the longstanding logo of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party," attorney Charles Nauen wrote to the group. Nauen said the name also is too similar to DFL.
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 — 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—Kris Sundberg's story is tough to hear. Her father was in an assisted living center. Newspapers piled up outside his door and he did not go to the dining room for a week. Finally, a neighbor urged staff to check on him. Once they did, they found he was dead, apparently for seven days. It was so bad, Sundberg said, that a hazardous materials team had to clean the room before the family could remove belongings. Minnesota does not regulate assisted living facilities such as where her father lived.
ST. PAUL—Appropatiing nearly $1 million is a life and death matter, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says. The governor on Thursday, April 12, asked lawmakers to quickly find that money so a statewide suicide hotline can remain in operation. It was one of several topics he discussed during a session with Capitol reporters. Crisis Connection is the only center in Minnesota taking calls from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and it will be forced to start shutting down May 21 unless it gets funding help.
ST. PAUL — Jessie Diggins won a historic Olympic medal on Feb. 21, and Minnesota's leaders gave her a hero's welcome when she visited the "people's house." Diggins, from Afton, landed back in Minnesota for the first time since she won the first Olympic medal of any American woman cross-country skier and hours later was in the Capitol on Thursday, April 12. Holding her medal next to her face, she said: "I am here to celebrate this and cross country skiing in Minnesota."
ST. PAUL—Shauna Reitmeier sat at a Minnesota Senate committee table telling lawmakers the bill they were considering would hurt mentally ill patients she serves. Sitting inches to her right Thursday, March 29, was Sen. Mark Johnson, author of the bill she pleaded that senators defeat. It would require some able-bodied people to work if they receive government-funded health care.
ST. PAUL — A stick or rabbit dropping in the yard of a Minnesota child care center, or a crayon mark on a table, may be enough to get a citation from state regulators. That is going too far, child care center workers told a state Senate committee Wednesday, March 28, and senators agreed. "If you truly want to stop the child care crisis now ... then you need to hold the Department of Human Services accountable," Elizabeth Bangert of the Here We Grow child care center in Mankato told a Senate health and human services committee.
ST. PAUL — 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 Wednesday, March 28, standing alongside Gov. Mark Dayton and other broadband advocates.