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 2 months
ST. PAUL—Midwestern members of Congress worry about what the Trump administration may do about agriculture-related issues, especially a law requiring use of crop-based fuel. U.S.Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said she drove home that point during a recent meeting with agriculture secretary nominee Sonny Perdue. Also, a bipartisan group of representatives sent a letter to President Donald Trump saying the Renewable Fuel Standard law is critical.
ST. PAUL — Unseasonably warm weather is making Minnesota farmers itchy to get into the fields, but some have not ordered seeds while they wait to know their financial standing. Soon, they should have that answer if Gov. Mark Dayton does as expected and signs legislation to pump $35 million into a farmer loan program. Minnesota senators voted 62-0 in favor of the bill Thursday, Feb. 16, following House members' action a week earlier.
ST. PAUL — It is not fair that three counties are funding a fight to allow all 87 Minnesota counties to save money, a Becker County commissioner says. "It is a bigger issue than just our county," Commissioner Barry Nelson told a state House committee Wednesday, Feb. 15, but so far a lawsuit by State Auditor Rebecca Otto has cost Becker $41,990.56 with only two other counties also funding the battle. "It is very hard for counties of our size to continue on with litigation with the state," Nelson said. "It is not Minnesotan."
ST. PAUL — Minnesota law enforcement officers, who have received minority community criticism after high-profile shootings and other incidents, likely soon will be required to take diversity training, partially at state expense. Police groups not only welcome the concept, but presented it to state legislators.
ST. PAUL—Most Minnesota teachers do not get master's degrees in the subjects they teach. That, state Rep. Dean Urdahl says, needs to change so students get better education. If teachers know more about the subjects they teach, students would learn more, he said Tuesday, Feb. 14. The Minnesota House Education Finance Committee Tuesday approved Urdahl's legislation to provide tax credits of $2,500 to teachers who earn master's degrees in their fields. It is expected to become part of an overall tax bill lawmakers consider later this spring.
ST. PAUL—Educating the public about opioid drugs may be the best way to fight their dangers. That is what Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson hopes. On Monday, Feb. 13, she announced that she has adapted a year-old Wisconsin opioid public awareness campaign to counteract the growing addiction problem to opioid pain killers. Swanson said a website (doseofreality.mn.gov) is the centerpiece of the effort, with a brochure and public service announcement for television stations and movie theaters also available.
ST. PAUL — A third job probably would have meant Madilyne Wegener needed more than four years to graduate from St. Cloud State University. State and federal college grant programs made the difference for her, she said, and she expect to graduate in May after four years. "Honestly, I either would have had to take out a lot more loans than I have or I would have had to take less credits because it is cheaper..." Wegener said. "Or maybe gotten a third job, but that may have been too much."
ST. PAUL — Pat Lunemann said he looks over his dairy farm employees and sees "a sea a multiple colors." Many workers come from close to his Clarissa, Minn., farm, but quite a few are Latino and others bring with them various ethnic backgrounds. Immigrants are important to his farm and agriculture in general, he said. "All the people in rural America who can work already are working," he said. "If we don't have these immigrants, I don't know how we are going to function."
ST. PAUL — A third as many trains haul North Dakota crude oil across Minnesota as two years ago. Falling oil prices forced a drop in oil output in the Bakken region in western North Dakota, which meant a dramatic drop in the number of trains needed to haul the oil to refineries to the east and south. Most North Dakota oil trains go through Minnesota.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's prostate cancer can be cured, a Mayo Clinic official said on Thursday, Feb. 2, and he can continue his state chief executive duties. The governor visited the Rochester, Minn., clinic Tuesday and Wednesday to get information about the cancer diagnosis he received last month.