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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ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton delivers his annual State of the State speech Monday, Jan. 23, and is expected to emphasize the need to speed health insurance premium relief to Minnesotans. He also may provide a bit of a preview for a budget plan he will release the following day. The State of the State address, to be held in the state House chamber, will be live-streamed on Forum Communications Co. websites. It also will be aired on the Minnesota Channel, on public television stations throughout the state, and on Minnesota Public Radio.
ST. PAUL — A Republican presidential Cabinet veteran gives President Donald Trump mixed reviews on his picks for key positions. "I am relatively pleased with the folks he has nominated," said Ed Schafer, a former agriculture secretary and ex-North Dakota governor, during a Friday, Jan. 20, interview with Forum News Service. "By and large he has business people who run big organizations," added Schafer, who sports a long business background himself.
ST. PAUL — Many Americans have strong feelings about President Donald Trump's picks for his Cabinet, but not so much his pick for agriculture secretary.
ST. PAUL — A state-federal program supported by groups ranging from conservationists to farmers is designed to improve Minnesota water quality by paying landowners to preserve 60,000 acres. The land in southern and western Minnesota would be marginal farmland, state Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson said. But if it is preserved, state officials said, it can be used to protect the state's water and improve wildlife habitat.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House Taxes Committee chairman is tired of dealing with Wisconsin about income taxes. So Chairman Greg Davids, R-Preston, drew up a provision he plans to insert into his tax bill this year that would reimburse Minnesotans who pay higher taxes working in Wisconsin than if they worked in Minnesota.
ST. PAUL — The first new law of 2017 came nine days into the annual legislative session. Now, that's zippy in a process that often drags on until May, especially when the issue is taxes, like the legislation Gov. Mark Dayton signed Friday, Jan. 13. And a couple other issues are moving fast, sort of. A bill to provide relief to Minnesotans paying high health insurance premiums passed the Senate and should pass the House in a few days. However, it will probably will hit a speed bump because the Dayton administration says some of its provisions would delay the aid.
ST. PAUL—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 — More than 200,000 Minnesotans soon will receive tax breaks Minnesota senators passed legislation 66-0 Thursday, Jan. 12, to cut taxes by making state tax law conform with federal law. The House already took the same action to help Minnesotans who are beginning to file income tax returns.
ST. PAUL — Jose Sanchez says his immigrant community fears living without driver's licenses. "Our community needs licenses to get around, to get to work, to get to school," he told a Minnesota House committee Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. "I ask that you listen to us and deal with your heart," he pleaded before the Republican-controlled committee voted 8-6 along party lines to keep in a provision that would enact a law banning immigrants to the United States without legal documentation from getting a license.
ST. PAUL — The University of Minnesota's request to bump up its state funding $147 million comes at a tough time. The big university news over the past few weeks has been a football scandal, easily topping the team's Holiday Bowl victory. With that fresh in Minnesotans' minds, university officials are hitting up the Legislature for more money. "It doesn't help," said Jennifer Schultz, a Duluth legislator and University of Minnesota Duluth professor. "Timing wise, it is really bad to get when these fires happen. And we have really had a lot of fires."