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
- 5 years 9 months
ST. PAUL—"A bridge in America just shouldn't fall down." The often-quoted comment by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was what Minnesotans thought 10 years ago when the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis did just that. But state leaders did not stop with talk, they began taking action to prevent more bridge disasters the day after the Aug. 1, 2007, collapse. They started inspecting every bridge in the state, then fixing and replacing those most in need.
WASHINGTON — Minnesota's two U.S. senators voted with all other Democrats against the Senate debating a federal health care law rewrite Tuesday, July 25, pleading to allow the two parties to work together, and a former Republican senator agreed with them. "We can still stop this," Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., declared shortly after the vote. "We can still put aside partisanship and instead work together on bipartisan solutions, like lowering the cost of prescription drugs and strengthening the exchanges."
ST. PAUL—A judge reached all the way to the Federalist Papers of 1787 to conclude Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton violated the state Constitution when he vetoed state House and Senate funding last spring. "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition," James Madison wrote in arguing in favor of the separation of powers doctrine that soon became the basis for the U.S. Constitution and was key in the Wednesday, July 19, Minnesota court decision.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota government will not have much left over when the just-started two-year budget cycle ends, Dayton administration officials say. A new report shows there will be $163 million left from the new $45 billion budget in two years (although money the state already has in the bank still could be there). And that is if things go well financially. Officials like Commissioner Myron Frans of Minnesota Management and Budget, the state finance agency, always want to pump up reserves in case the economy goes south, taking state revenues with it.
ST. PAUL—Frustrated families of people who have gone missing have a chance to help law enforcement officials find their loves ones remains: provide DNA. Authorities have taken DNA samples from remains of unidentified people around the country and entered results in a database. That DNA can be linked to close blood relatives' DNA. "While a result like this is not what families hope for, it can help them move forward," Superintendent Drew Evans of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Tuesday, July 11.
MINNEAPOLIS — James Robinson has no doubt federally funded programs saved him. "If it wasn't for the funding of these programs ... there wouldn't be programs that say, 'You deserve to live,'" the Minneapolis resident Wednesday, July 5, told reporters and a crowd supporting Medicaid and other federal programs they fear could be cut or eliminated by Republican-written federal health care legislation. "You haven't walked a mile in my shoes," he said to those who would cut health funding. "You don't know what it is like."
ST. PAUL — Legislation cutting several Minnesota taxes is law. Gov. Mark Dayton announced at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, that he would let the tax bill lawmakers passed in a special legislative session last week become law without his signature. However, by 11 p.m. he had changed his mind after it became unclear whether not signing the bill meant it would become law or it would be considered a veto.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota state government has a budget, other than for the Legislature. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the Legislature's budget Tuesday, May 30, because of what he called "a reprehensible sneak attack, which shatters whatever trust we achieved during the session." The action was a line tucked into one of the budget bills Dayton signed Tuesday that stopped Revenue Department funding unless another bill cutting taxes became law. That "poison pill," Dayton said, was "snuck" into a bill funding many state programs that he did not feel he could veto.
ST. PAUL—The $46 billion question remains unanswered. Minnesota legislators finished passing a two-year state budget of that size early Friday, May 26, after nearly five months in regular session and more than three days in special session, but now those interested in state spending will wait until Tuesday to see if Gov. Mark Dayton signs them into law.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota legislative leaders and the governor are back in negotiations to finish a $46 billion, two-year budget, but they are not telling the public about their decisions. Budget negotiations resumed Friday, May 19, but leaders were tight-lipped about their first closed-door meeting in two days. Late Friday morning, House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said they had placed a "cone of silence" on their discussions. However, KSTP-TV reporter Tom Hauser interviewed Dayton for his Sunday "At Issue" show before the cone was lowered.