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
- 5 years 2 weeks
ST. PAUL — Mrs. Smith is going to Washington. Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will replace U.S. Sen. Al Franken once he resigns after eight sexual misconduct allegations. Smith plans to run in the 2018 election to fill out the final two years of Franken's term. Franken has not said just when he will step down. Last week, he said he would resign in "the coming weeks."
WASHINGTON — Al Franken was one of the most recognized U.S. senators from the day he took office in 2009, thanks to fame he gained on the "Saturday Night Live" television show, and this year his political capital rose even more with Democrats across the country promoting him as a 2020 presidential candidate. But eight women came forward in the past three weeks alleging that Franken sexually harassed them, collapsing what had become a successful political career.
PAUL — It took only minutes after the first sexual misconduct allegation was waged against Al Franken for speculation to begin about who would replace him in the U.S. Senate. That was back on Nov. 16, and the top prospect for Gov. Mark Dayton to replace Franken was Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. Other names were added in the next three weeks, but Smith's name continues to rise to the top as the governor says he has not yet decided.
The announcement will be carried on all Forum Communication websites. U.S. Sen. Al Franken will address the Senate at 10:45 a.m. Central time today with what many say will be his resignation after sexual misconduct allegations.
ST. PAUL — The economy remains strong, but a new report indicates Minnesotans should not be overly confident. The Tuesday, Dec. 5, budget forecast, which state leaders release twice a year, showed a $188 million deficit out of a $46 billion, two-year budget. The forecast was based on economic predictions that contained a lot of uncertainties. State leaders were happy with what the 73-page report said about the economy.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Senate leaders say they are preparing to lay off their employees. If the courts do not decide a funding dispute between the Republican-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, Senator Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said on Wednesday, Nov. 8, that employees will receive furlough notices in December or January. "We don't take the suspension of operations of the Minnesota Senate lightly," Gazelka said. "This is not a game, but we really have no other choice today."
ST. PAUL—Minnesota farmers should not worry about buffer police. The key Minnesota lawmaker in crafting a law requiring plant buffers between farmland and water says he does not think authorities will slap fines on farmers who break the buffer law. "At the end of the day, it will not require enforcement," Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, said Monday, Oct. 30, as state officials announced a 95 percent statewide compliance rate. Even with lingering complaints about the buffer requirement,"for the most part, farmers are dealing with it," Torkelson said.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota can keep its program that indefinitely locks up sex offenders after they finish serving prison terms. The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday, Oct. 2, that it will not consider a case brought by patients of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, who claimed the state cannot keep them in a prison-like setting. That means the state program is constitutional and may continue. Still, state officials said that they will continue to find ways to release sex offenders from the program after years of no releases.
ST. PAUL — Kate Swenson says Americans do not understand what Medicaid does. For her family, "Medicaid means my son can live at home," the Cottage Grove, Minn., said Monday, Sept. 25, as Medicaid advocates gathered in Gov. Mark Dayton's office to say they worry about a Republican-written bill due to come up soon in the U.S. Senate. "If that goes away, I don't know what we would do," Swenson said. "Public schools cannot serve him. ... If we lost it, my son will regress dramatically."
Editor's note: This is one of several stories about what is called a rural Minnesota health care crisis. A mentally ill person should not be treated for the disease in an emergency room. Or sitting in a jail. But that is what often happens in rural Minnesota, where there are not enough health care professionals such as psychiatrists to treat them. And there are not enough psychiatric hospital beds even if the professionals were available.