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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Minnesota's lieutenant governor has launched a state office that could draw Republican scorn. The Office of Enterprise Sustainability is designed to combat climate change, which many in the GOP deny is a problem. The new office is to provide agencies assistance to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water usage, increase energy efficiency and boost recycling.
Minnesota's minimum wage rises Aug. 1 and several new laws will hit the books. The state's large employers must pay at least $9.50 an hour, while smaller businesses will be required to pay $7.75. Training and youth wages also must be at least $7.75. In 2018, Minnesota minimum wages begin rising annually to match inflation. Monday is the first increase in three years as part of a 2014 law Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton signed after a Legislature controlled by his party passed it. The minimum wage's first increase under the law was to $8 an hour in 2014.
Light. Intimate. Loud. Purple. Welcome to the new Vikings stadium. Step inside during the day and the first thing most people will notice is how light it is. Natural light. More than 60 percent of the roof is made of high-technology pillow-like clear tiles, with most of the west side composed of clear glass walls and massive glass doors.
People often complain about what their elected officials do, or do not do, but the Catholic Advocacy Network is trying to drive home the point that Minnesotans in general have the real say in government. "Many Catholics are experiencing a sense of political homelessness," the group said in an email. "Neither major political party seems to embrace a consistent ethic of life rooted in Gospel values. And if we let the presidential race color our view of politics, it can be easy to think there's no room for Catholics of principle in the public square."
Minnesota officials released maps showing landowners what water needs plant buffers around it, and how deep the buffers must be. The long-awaited release came Tuesday morning. State law requires that buffers be placed around all public waters to help prevent runoff from polluting streams and lakes. The maps show whether buffers must be an average of 50 feet wide or 16.5 feet. More than 90,000 miles along state waters must have the buffers, a program pushed by Gov. Mark Dayton. Landowners may propose other forms of water quality practices instead of buffers.
The Rev. Charles Gill predicted a war. That was Thursday. By Friday morning, commentators around the country had joined him. St. Paul's Pilgrim Baptist Church pastor on Thursday spoke to protesters upset over a St. Anthony police officer shooting a black motorist, apparently as he was trying to retrieve his driver's license as the officer requested.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton promised protesters gathered after a second black man was killed by Twin Cities police in a year that there will be a thorough investigation. "Justice will be served in Minnesota," he told hundreds of people gathered outside his official St. Paul home Thursday morning in the aftermath of a shooting of a 32-year-old black man by police 12 hours earlier.
Contractors handed the new Minnesota Vikings stadium over to the state Friday, six weeks earlier than planned. Construction of U.S. Bank Stadium is considered "substantially complete," so main contractor Mortenson Construction gave the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority a large key during the state board's June meeting. The symbolic handoff means all but some detail work is completed on the $1.1 billion stadium. Mortenson had planned to turn it over July 29.
The big question politicos discuss these days is how a Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump presidential race would affect races such as for the state Legislature. The answer, of course, is that nobody knows, especially given the fact that the two are pretty unpopular. On Minnesota Public Radio on Friday, House Speaker Kurt Daudt said Republican polling shows expected GOP nominee Trump leads Democratic candidate Clinton in rural Minnesota. So if Trump sweeps rural Minnesota, does that mean rural districts will follow for Republicans?
Minnesota legislators introduced 7,763 bills in the 2015-2016 legislative period, most of which went nowhere. Here is a look at some of the bills that passed or did not pass this year, including some still awaiting Gov. Mark Dayton's approval. Animal trusts: Minnesotans will be able to put money away in trusts so after they die there will be money to care for pets. Autocycles: Law allows operators of a new type of three-wheel motorcycle that drives like a car to only need a car driver's license, not one for motorcycles.