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—Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton hopes 2017 will not be another 2011. "I am scarred by that experience," the Democratic governor said about the 2011 three-week state government shutdown after he and Republicans controlling the Legislature could not agree on a new two-year budget. He faces a similar situation in 2017, with Republicans gaining control of the state Senate in the Nov. 8 election and increasing their lock on the House.
RIGA, Latvia—Russia will pay the price for meddling in the American election, a trio of U.S. senators warned Wednesday, Dec. 28, while visiting countries on the country's western border. "We have all agreed to be pretty aggressive about an end to this Russian aggression," Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said about the Obama administration's claim that Russia hacked political groups' computers, including the Democratic Party, before the Nov. 8 election. Klobuchar, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen.
ST. PAUL—A former southwestern Minnesota Republican politician is slated to become the chief administrative state Senate official. If the full Senate agrees with Republican senators' initial decision, Cal Ludeman will return to be Senate secretary, a job he held in 2011-2013 when Republicans last controlled the body. He would replace JoAnne Zoff, who replaced him in 2013 when Democrats regained control. Ludeman is a former state representative from Tracy. He also was a Republican candidate for governor in 1986 and for Congress in 1992. He lost both races. For GOP Gov.
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans counting on tax cuts or state construction projects will be disappointed, but those who signed up for pricey individual health insurance policies can maintain a sliver of hope the state will help them afford premiums. No agreements were reached between Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders Thursday, Dec. 15, so a tax bill and public works funding measure will not be considered if there is a special session next week.
ST. PAUL — The state entity that owns the new U.S. Bank Stadium is moving in the right direction in banning free luxury suite tickets for its officials' family and friends in Gov. Mark Dayton's view. "I think it is a very responsible way to resolve the matter," he said Tuesday, Dec. 13, after the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority announced it is working on a revised policy following Minneapolis Star Tribune stories revealing family and friends of authority officials received free access to a pair of luxury boxes.
ST. PAUL—Minneapolis City Council members want the city to stop doing business with Wells Fargo, a bank founded in the Twin Cities, over its funding of a controversial pipeline. The council unanimously told city staff to look into how the city could quit dealing with institutions that finance the fossil fuel industry, including the Dakota Access Pipeline. Wells Fargo and Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank are among the financial institutions that have put money into the controversial pipeline.
WASHINGTON — Keith Ellison confirmed Wednesday, Dec. 7, that he would resign from the U.S. House if he is elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The Minneapolis Democrat earlier had said he has the energy to remain a congressman while running the party. In recent days, however, he backed down from that and on Wednesday released a statement saying that he would quit his congressional job if elected.
ST. PAUL—Agreement is at hand, it would appear, about a flare-up over a state agency's officials taking family members and others to watch Minnesota Vikings games for free.
ST. PAUL—What happens in Washington doesn't stay in Washington. A new president and a stronger Republican Congress are expected to make major changes in the federal budget, which Minnesota state budget writers said on Friday, Dec. 2, will affect their work. But they do not know how. "There is probably more than the usual range of uncertainty here," said Chairman Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud, of the House Ways and Means Committee as state officials reacted to news of a projected $1.4 billion budget surplus.
ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton walked out of a meeting he chairs Tuesday, Nov. 29, over a battle about whether Civil War paintings should hang in his office. "It has been a deeply distressing issue for me," Dayton said, claiming Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, wishes to return six paintings to the governor's office once the state Capitol building restoration finishes next year is rooted in political ambitions.