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
- 4 years 6 months
ST. PAUL — Molly O'Neill loves being back home, even though her home lacks running water. It is just that with $500 monthly college loan payments, she said that she cannot afford plumbing in her Lutsen home in far northeastern Minnesota. "This is a problem that is not going away in the foreseeable future," she told members of a Senate committee Tuesday, May 7, with the possibility of paying off loans until she is 48, which is 15 years distant.
Many Minnesota educators do not understand how to interpret scores of state and federal mandated tests. An Office of Legislative Auditor report released Monday, March 6, included a survey showing a lack of understanding. It also showed educators questioning the usefulness of the the best-known statewide test, Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, better known as MCA. How test results are used varies greatly from school to school, the auditor's office reported, but a statewide survey showed nowhere near half of principals or teachers see the tests as "very useful."
Minnesota representatives lifted their glasses to Sunday liquor store sales, the first time either chamber of the state Legislature has approved removing a ban that dates back to statehood. With an 85-45 Monday, Feb. 20 House vote, attention now turns to see whether senators also want to overturn the sales prohibition. House members voted 70-56 last year against dumping the law, giving supporters of the legislation hope because of the massive turnaround.
BLOOMINGTON, Minn.—Be honest. Know what you want to say. Talk to reporters. With that, Patty and Jerry Wetterling laid out their secret to dealing with the media in the 27 years between when their
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton collapsed during his State of the State speech Monday night, Jan. 23, but after a few minutes walked away with help. An hour later, he was playing a puzzle with his grandson at his official state residence.
Rural Minnesota may never have been mentioned so often in a state Senate debate not about a specific rural issue. Small towns and farmers were featured Thursday, Jan. 12, before senators passed 35-31 legislation to help Minnesotans afford individual health insurance policies. Rural residents like farmers tend to rely on individual policies more than do those living in cities.
ST. PAUL—A tweaked 2016 tax proposal that never made it into law is back. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said on Thursday, Jan. 5, that his plan calls for $230 million in a variety of tax cuts and $70 million in new spending for things such as increased state aid to local governments. It is based on a bill most legislators backed last year, but Dayton opted not to sign after a $101 million mistake was discovered in it.
Preferred One dropped out. So did UCare. Blue Cross Blue Shield stopped offering its regular policies. Medica says it no longer will supply insurance for a state-run health insurance program. "We almost lost all of the private insurers over the summer," Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL—Billions of dollars in state public works construction projects are on hold, and no one knows if the Minnesota Legislature will make money available for them in 2017. The 2016 Minnesota Legislature failed to fund projects like safer rail crossings, adding to and renovating existing college facilities, improving safety at state mental health hospitals, fixing or removing dangerous dams, constructing flood-prevention structures and hundreds of other projects state and local officials say are needed.
ST. PAUL—Rural Minnesotans are happy, to a point. They are optimistic, to a point. They see local jobs available, to a point. "It is kind of a mixed bag," Executive Director Brad Finstad of the Center for Rural Policy and Development said.