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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Farmers who worry that the federal government wants to regulate mud puddles on their land are examining a 297-page rule the Obama administration released Wednesday. The new water quality rule was not well received in farm country, but agriculture groups' attorneys need time to study the document from the Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency to know its full impact. The administration wrote the rule to protect streams and wetlands
—A North Dakota oil train derailment reinforces the fact that Minnesota legislators have a week and a half left in their 2015 session but have not settled on what they would do to improve rail safety. "It accentuates why we have to do this," House Transportation Chairman Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing, said of Wednesday's derailment. Kelly and fellow Republicans have no specific oil rail safety plan although the chairman s
By Don Davis / Forum News Service - Minnesota's poultry death toll went beyond 5 million birds Monday when state officials announced 80 farms in 21 counties have been hit by the H5N2 avian influenza.
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans deserve a $2 billion tax break, House Republicans say, while admitting they will not get their way. A plan the GOP laid out Monday features a provision to give Minnesotans $539 million in income tax cuts with another $453 million for beginning to phase out the statewide business and cabin property tax.
By DON DAVIS FORUM NEWS SERVICE A Minnesota official who took five days of testimony and received 2,000 letters about the proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline recommends its construction. Administrative Law Judge Eric Lipman on Monday also recommended that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission place some conditions on its approval and said the case is complex and “this one is a lot harder than it ought to be.” The PUC now again will consider Sandpiper, which would transport North Dakota oil through new Canada-based company Enbridge facilities from south of Tioga, N.D., to Clearbrook, Minn
By DON DAVIS Forum News Service Minnesota state legislators are taking a break from legislating for an Easter-Passover recess. The 201 lawmakers have finished a dozen weeks of their year’s work, with six remaining when they return to St. Paul on April 7. With the break, it seems like a good opportunity to answer some questions about the time legislators have remaining to complete their work for the year. With just six weeks left in the legislative session, is there much left to be done? Oh, yes. Lots.
By Don Davis St. PAUL -- Minnesota Senate Democrats' budget plan falls between higher-spending Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and big-tax-cut House Republicans.
BY don davis MINNESOTA CAPITOL BUREAU KLN Family Brands in Perham has more than 100 job openings, but the western Minnesota community has no homes for people the company hires. Similar stories came from far-flung parts of Minnesota, such as Willmar, Roseau, Cook County and Red Wing, before a state Senate committee on Monday approved a series of bills designed to help pave the way for homes to be built, as well as for would-be workers to receive adequate training. “In rural Minnesota, we have an absolute crisis in terms of our workforce,” said Steve Renquist of the Kandiyohi County
ST. PAUL -- The national debate about how much police body camera video is public landed in the Minnesota spotlight Thursday. A bill a Senate committee considered would make most of the video private. "Given the sensitivity of some of the data that is going to be on the cameras ...
Many resort owners and boaters strongly object to a new law written to stop invasive species from spreading through Minnesota waters, and they have been heard. Legislators are looking into whether to scuttle the law, passed in 2012, or to tweak it into something more acceptable. The existing law requires boaters and others who tow boats and other trailers carrying water equipment to take classes, beginning this year, about how to avoid transferring aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels from one water body to another.