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 8 months
ST. PAUL — Complaints that are pouring in about funding the Republican-controlled Minnesota House and Senate propose give an insight into the distance lawmakers stand from Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton whenever final negotiations begin. Many of the complaints come from Dayton commissioners and people who support his budget plan. Take, for instance, higher education spending. The GOP plan calls for $3.2 billion to be spent in state taxpayer money in the next two years, a $125 million increase.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota legislative negotiators powered through most of their proposed $46 billion, two-year budget Monday, May 1, afternoon and night as they aimed for negotiations with Gov. Mark Dayton they hoped would result in a framework of a final budget deal later this week. It was a busy day in the Capitol, with House Republicans releasing their $600 million public works finance bill and immigrants rallying under the dome.
ST. PAUL — The sky has not fallen since Donald Trump became president. But, opponents are quick to say, there still is time. Trump's 100th day in office, Saturday, April 29, arrived with too few concrete actions for most Minnesota leaders to give him a full grade.
ST. PAUL — Collin Peterson is running for U.S. House again, but Rick Nolan is waiting to decide whether to make a re-election or governor bid. And Tim Walz is giving up his House seat to run for governor.
ST. PAUL — State lawmakers begin the "Minnesota two-step." That is how Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, on Thursday, April 27, described the planned release of spending compromises key legislators have reached as they begin the real work of crafting a two-year state budget expected to hit $46 billion. The Friday announcement, the first step of the process, will be the most concrete sign of progress as lawmakers face a May 22 constitutional deadline to adjourn for the year, unless they need to return to finish the budget in a special session.
ST. PAUL—A new requirement for farmers to provide plant buffers around water has bubbled up to be a top rural issue in the Minnesota Capitol, and not necessarily politically partisan. Farmers need more information before the buffer law begins Nov. 1, a Democratic-leaning farm group reports farmers said during a series of 14 meetings around the state. One of the major topics the Minnesota Farmers Union meetings highlighted was Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's buffer initiative that lawmakers approved in 2015.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota court system's leader says she fears state residents will feel an impact if legislative budget proposes become law. Chief Justice Lorie Gildea of the Minnesota Supreme Court said she does not want to return to the days when criminals were set free because courts could not wade through cases quickly enough. "Justice delayed is justice denied," the Plummer native said, recalling tough budget times in 2011 when some criminal cases were stalled so long that suspects were released.
ST. PAUL — Transportation funding is confusing and controversial, and Minnesota state leaders say vital. Democrats and Republicans have remained so far apart on the issue for years that little has been done to plug what is called an $18 billion gap between current spending and what is needed over the next decade. The past week may or may not have clarified the situation.
ST. PAUL—A closed western Minnesota private prison would be allowed to take state prisoners under a proposal in front of legislative budget negotiators, but there would be no money to open it. "We still plan on Appleton, full speed ahead," House Public Safety Chairman Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, said, although there would be no money to open it. He said on Thursday, April 20, as public safety and courts funding negotiations began that money to open the prison would need to come from a future legislature.
ST. PAUL—Beth Hodgman pleaded that southern Minnesota's U.S. 14 be made safer. "Drivers make mistakes, but they shouldn't be life sentences," the West Concord widow told a Wednesday, April 19, rally seeking more state highway funding. Hodgman's husband, Scott, died in 2012 on the highway, which legislators in the area for years have put at the top of their priorities. "Scott's accident shouldn't have been fatal," Hodgman said. "If Highway 14 had been expanded to four lanes, it wouldn't have been."