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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Upper Midwest farmers were happy Thursday to learn the federal government will not cut crop insurance programs. A budget bill the House approved was to have contained a $3 billion cut to crop insurance. However, farm-state federal lawmakers pressured House, Senate and White House leaders to remove it as a budget vote neared Wednesday night. "I'm pleased that we have an agreement to fix the crop insurance cuts and not open the farm bill," said U.S. Rep.
Two Upper Midwest Republicans broke from their colleagues early Friday to oppose a budget deal that is headed to President Barack Obama's desk. Sens. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin opposed the bill that passed 64-35 after the House also approved the measure. Many of the "yes" votes came after House, Senate and White House leaders agreed moments before the House vote that $3 billion would be restored to the crop insurance program. U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., had called a crop insurance cut a "deal breaker" when he talked to reporters this week.
Gov. Mark Dayton was not happy Thursday. First, he questioned the wording in a federal judge's ruling that requires Minnesota to greatly speed up reforms in its sex offender treatment program. He felt Judge Donovan Frank threatened the state, not to mention that the governor disagreed with the judge's claim that the program is unconstitutional. Then there was a legislative panel's series of four 5-5 votes that killed or delayed raises for many state workers.
The Minnesota State Patrol reports that it appears more motorists are driving right on by when school buses are stopped, with lights flashing and stop arms extended. A one-day study in April showed a 65 percent increase in violations. Nearly 3,600 bus drivers participated in the survey. The patrol said that state requires drivers to stop for a school bus when lights are flashing and the stop arm is displayed. Traffic in both directions is required to stop, unless the lanes are separated by a median. College loans stop The Perkins loan program for college students ended Oct. 1 and U.S.
Leave it to "real people," as compared to lobbyists and government officials, to grab attention in legislative hearings. Youths, especially, get lawmakers' ears. At issue is a plan by the Higher Learning Commission, which accredits colleges in 19 states, to require each college instructor to hold a master's degree in the field he or she teaches or a master's degree in another field and 18 credits in the field he or she teaches by 2017.
Minnesotans who buy their own health insurance will pay more next year, in some cases a lot more. Officials of the state Commerce Department and the MNsure Web-based insurance sales site Thursday announced insurance rates for Minnesotans who buy their own policies will rise 14 percent to 49 percent. However, that only affects the 5.5 percent of Minnesotans who buy health insurance policies on the open market; most have employer-provided insurance or receive government-paid health care. The increase prompted strong reaction, ranging from Gov.
To someone walking in late, dozens of people sitting in folding chairs may have looked like they were part of a mime class. It would have been pretty obvious to the latecomer that each was pretending to hold a beach ball. But to those of us entering senior citizen status, as well as those well into that part of life, the exercise could be a lifesaver. Dr.
Flying a small drone around a bridge may be safer and less costly than traditional ways of inspection, with Minnesota officials planning more tests to gauge their usefulness. After a summer drone test, next up will be a fall test that will include inspecting the state's longest bridge, the 7,975-foot John A. Blatnik Bridge in Duluth.
Many rural Americans compare providing high-speed Internet connections to the years when telephones and electricity were moving into rural areas. "To me it is the rural electrification of this era," Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., told experts on the subject he gathered Thursday in St. Paul. "If you go to rural Minnesota ...
Communications is a key in preventing and battling oil train disasters, two U.S. senators learned last week from public safety officials. A forum convened by U.S. Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, both Democrats, produced requests for railroads to communicate better with officials and the public and to allow public safety personnel to better communicate via radio with each other. Much of the discussion followed the lines of what Minnesota Gov.