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 5 months
ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton's action to ease problems that farmers report of getting propane brings back memories of the 2013-14 winter in which the gas was in short supply, but early indications are that this winter will not be as bad. Dayton issued an executive order this week to provide emergency relief to farmers who are having a tough time getting propane and diesel fuel delivered. The order allows trucking companies to extend their hours for the next month, although drivers cannot work longer hours than the law allows.
ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn.—Abby Haley "fell in love." Jen Jensen encountered "my own personal devil." The women were talking about their addiction to opioids, powerful painkillers that Minnesota and national officials say are taking taking over so many lives that the situation has become a crisis. Many who have become enveloped in the crisis are like Haley and Jensen, who hit the depths. The two women received treatment and say they have been clean for two years.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota state Sen. Dave Senjem held up his well-used black wallet containing his identification and credit cards, and explained identify theft so anyone could understand. "Last week I lost this," the Rochester Republican said recently. "We all do it. I could only hope the dog ate it."
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans have another year before they must get a new federally approved driver's license in order to board an airliner. Gov. Mark Dayton announced Wednesday, Oct. 18, that the U.S. Homeland Security Department had granted the extension for Minnesota to comply with federal Real ID rules for driver's licenses and other state-issued identification cards.
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—Minnesota can keep its program that indefinitely locks up sex offenders after they finish serving prison terms. The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday, Oct. 2, that it will not consider a case brought by patients of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, who claimed the state cannot keep them in a prison-like setting. That means the state program is constitutional and may continue. Still, state officials said that they will continue to find ways to release sex offenders from the program after years of no releases.
ST. PAUL—"A bridge in America just shouldn't fall down." The often-quoted comment by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was what Minnesotans thought 10 years ago when the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis did just that. But state leaders did not stop with talk, they began taking action to prevent more bridge disasters the day after the Aug. 1, 2007, collapse. They started inspecting every bridge in the state, then fixing and replacing those most in need.
ST. PAUL—A controversial northern Minnesota oil pipeline is not about to become the site of a protest like that seen for months in North Dakota. At least not yet. "We are still quite a ways away from that," Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday, July 6. Others agree, but there are no guarantees that if Enbridge receives permission to replace its Line 3 pipeline that everything will remain calm up north.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota counties have a right to pick who audits their books, the state Appeals Court says. The Tuesday, May 30, decision could save counties thousands of dollars, county officials have testified. But State Auditor Rebecca Otto says the state Constitution gives her office the job of protecting taxpayers by auditing county books. She sued Becker, Wright and Ramsey counties. Becker and Wright hired outside accountants; Ramsey refused to sign a three-year contract giving the state auditor sole authority to audit books.
ST. PAUL — A rookie Minnesota senator may have said it best in social media. "With less than a week left of legislative session, here's a list of what we still need to finish: 1. Everything." That Tuesday, May 16, summary of the Legislature by Sen. Matt Little, D-Lakeville, said it all, other than progress was being made at the highest levels.