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—The 250,000 Minnesotans who buy their own health insurance face rate increases that state officials say are unacceptable. The state Commerce Department announced Friday, Sept. 30, that premiums are going up 50 percent to 67 percent in 2017. The rate increases do not affect those who get insurance through their employers or state programs such as MinnesotaCare.
ST. PAUL—A Minnesota-based beauty school abruptly has closed all 79 campuses across the country. Regency Beauty Institute schools included five, serving about 430 students, in Minnesota: Duluth, Blaine, Burnsville, Maplewood and St. Cloud. "It is with great sadness that we announce that after more than 50 years of educating cosmetology students, Regency Beauty Institute is permanently closing on September 28, 2016," the for-profit school said on its website Thursday, Sept. 29. "We are truly sorry for the abrupt nature of this information," Regency's website said.
ST. PAUL—Unionized home care attendants want the state to increase their base pay to $15 an hour and fund for more training, even as some of their colleague seek to disband the union. Contract talks with the state begin Friday, Sept. 30. Workers and their clients told reporters on Wednesday that the improvements are needed to stop a home care crisis. "People with disabilities are not receiving all of the care they need," Corey Van Denburgh said. "Our loved ones' health is being put at risk."
ST. PAUL—A conservative group says Minnesota's taxes are the 46th most competitive in the country. The Tax Foundation reported on Wednesday, Sept. 28, that when considering corporate, individual income, sales, property and unemployment insurance taxes, Minnesota finished near the last. Only Vermont, Washington, D.C., California, New York and New Jersey have worse business tax climates, the foundation reported.
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans must be eager to vote in the Nov. 8 election. Nearly 47,000 registered to vote online last week, with about 27,000 on Friday, Sept. 23, alone, smashing the one-day record of 7,602. The big interest in registering, as well as early voting, bodes well for high voter turnout in the 2016 election. Secretary of State Steve Simon announced the figures on Monday, Sept. 26.
ST. PAUL—A new Minnesota presidential poll continues to show a closer contest than is common in the state, with Hillary Clinton up by 7 points. However, if Minnesota voters are like Americans in general, half were waiting for debates to begin to make up their minds. A just-released SurveyUSA poll from the Twin Cities' KSTP-TV indicates that if the election were held before the Monday, Sept. 26, opening presidential debate that 46 percent would vote for Democrat Clinton while 39 percent were behind Republican Trump.
ST. PAUL—A recent drive through Cheyenne, Wyo., included a familiar scene to a Minnesota Capitol insider: a Capitol building undergoing renovation. At least eight state Capitols, as well as the...
ST. PAUL—Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton declared a special legislative session dead just more than a month ago, but on Thursday, Sept. 22, legislative and executive branch staff members gather to discuss bringing legislators back this fall. The governor raised the possibility of resurrecting special session talks during a late-August State Fair interview and talked to House Speaker Kurt Daudt about it over breakfast earlier this month. At stake are hundreds of millions of dollars in public works projects, including road work, and tax breaks for many Minnesotans.
ST. PAUL—Rural Minnesota wind and solar farms likely will provide a third of the electricity for the state's 23-building Capitol complex near downtown St. Paul. State and Xcel Energy officials on Wednesday, Sept. 21, announced a 20-year deal to use power from North Star Solar Project in Chisago County and Odell Wind Warm in Cottonwood, Jackson, Martin, and Watonwan counties. Before the deal takes effect, it must be approved by the state Commerce Department and the Public Utilities Commission. State officials say the support is expected early in 2017.
ST. CLOUD, Minn.—No link has emerged between terrorist groups and the man who stabbed nine people in a St. Cloud mall Saturday night, Sept. 17. St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson told reporters Monday that he will let the public know quickly if investigators find a connection between the suspect in the stabbings, identified by fellow Somali-Americans as Dahir Anad, and terrorist groups such as ISIS. An ISIS-related news agency called Anad a soldier of the organization, but did not indicate he had prior contact with it.