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
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ST. PAUL — Many students say gun restrictions can help keep them safer in schools, but the Minnesota legislative conversation on safe schools has broadened to other issues, some of which bring tears when people talk about them. "We are facing a public health crisis," Carol Quinn told the state House Education Finance Committee Wednesday, March 21, with tear-filled eyes.
Ice seems simple enough: Get water cold enough and it freezes. True, but the science of ice is much more complex, especially when it is in real world bodies of water. Scientists agree on a couple of things: No ice is fully safe and the thickness, and thus safety, of ice can vary greatly in a very short distance. There is general agreement on one other fact, too. The ice season is getting shorter. One study shows a typical Upper Midwest lake will be covered with ice more than a week later than 150 years ago, and will be ice free nearly a week and a half earlier.
ST. PAUL—Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty took a major step forward to run for his old job on Monday, March 19, in announcing he filed campaign committee paperwork. That makes it all but certain the Republican is seeking the governor's office again. A written announcement he distributed, while refusing media interviews, follows a series of speeches in Minnesota that made it sound like he was running.
ST. PAUL—It's a safe bet that few Minnesotans knew about fake service animals until recently. Some national news about people trying to take what they call service animals onto airplanes attracted attention, followed by Minnesota legislative hearings in which people who use service dogs told lawmakers that untrained dogs other owners pass off as "service dogs" distract trained animals and force people who manage buildings to think their real service dogs could cause trouble.
ST. PAUL — A long-standing method of protecting wild rice from toxic water, which has not been enforced, may be on its way out for a new method. A Minnesota House committee Thursday, March 8, voted to dump a 1973 rule that limited sulfate in water to 10 milligrams per liter. Instead, bill author Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, said, wild rice would be protected from a variety of threats, not just sulfate. Also, his bill would establish a working group to deliver suggestions to legislators early next year about how state law should be changed to protect wild rice.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota lawmakers will be drawn into a gun debate that has blossomed since last week's Florida school shooting that left 17 dead. Protect Minnesota, an anti-gun violence group, will lead a Capitol rotunda rally at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22. Among legislation those art the rally will oppose are giving gun owners more freedom to defend themselves and to carry guns without permits.
ST. PAUL — Last week's precinct caucus governor straw poll has taken its second victim: former St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. "I am grateful for the support and encouragement I have received," the Democrat said Monday, Feb. 12. "So, it is with a heavy heart that I announce today the suspension of my campaign for governor of Minnesota." State Rep. Paul Thissen of Minneapolis dropped out of the race the day after the Feb. 6 caucuses.
ST. PAUL — It is dangerous to draw too many conclusions from precinct caucuses, especially from non-binding straw polls conducted there, but one fact stands out from this week's caucus night: Almost three times as many Democrats showed up at the Tuesday, Feb. 6, caucuses than Republicans. That could be a scary fact for the GOP, whose loyalists are known for turning out.
ST. PAUL — Former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann said she does not feel God has called her to run for U.S. Senate, so is staying out of the race. Bachmann told a Minnesota radio host during the weekend that she asked God for guidance. "I just took it to the Lord in a very quiet way." But, she said, God did not tell her to run.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota precinct caucus leaders ran out of ballots as long lines of people waited to get into the political meetings, with drivers in blocks-long traffic jams not even there yet. About 300 showed up at a Willmar site that hosted 75 four years earlier. That was 2016. Don't expect the same turnout at the 2018 caucuses on Tuesday, Feb. 6. Chairman Ken Martin of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party said the caucuses will draw thousands, but short of the record 321,354 that came two years ago.