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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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.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota's minimum wage workers will receive a 15-cent-per-hour bump on Jan. 1. The state Department of Labor and Industry decided that is the size of the state's first automatic minimum wage increase. That will bring the current $9.50 hourly wage to $9.65 for more than 250,000 workers.
ROSEVILLE, Minn. — Minnesota students appear to be maintaining mostly steady standardized scores on reading, math and science, but whites continue to dramatically outscore minority students. Test scores are not rising much, state Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said Monday, Aug. 7, in releasing the annual Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment test results. "It's frustrating to see test scores slowly increasing over time, but there's more to providing a student with a well-rounded education than can be seen in a test," Cassellius said.
WADENA, Minn.—People from around the country, and beyond, are supporting a Wadena woman fighting the city's effort to remove one of her three basset hounds. As of Friday afternoon, she had obtained nearly 74,000 supporters on a petition to allow her to keep all three dogs. "This is so unreasonable," Marilyn F. from California wrote on the online petition. "They should have hearings and go on a case by case basis, from this point forward."
ST. PAUL — Minnesota leaders hope a lease they are offering to a new mining company will reverse a decade of frustrating failure in one area they felt held lots of promise. Officials who feel they were burned by Essar Steel Minnesota, which did not fulfill state taconite mining requirements, then declared bankruptcy, on Monday, June 19, folded what they hope are iron-clad guarantees into a new mineral lease. They hope the new mining company will produce taconite and turn it into an in-demand iron product where Essar Steel failed for years.
PAUL — The Minnesota Legislature is preparing to sue the governor. A legislative committee plans a Friday, June 2, meeting to consider hiring a lawyer after Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed legislative funding for the next two years.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a $46 billion, two-year state budget into law, except for one item: funding for the state Legislature. Dayton vetoed the Legislature's funding for the two years beginning July 1, which raised a many questions and created some confusion. Here are some questions and answers that may help clear up the issue: Does state government have a budget? Mostly. Dayton signed 10 bills that fund state government to the tune of $46 billion over the next two years. However, he vetoed about $130 million in funding for the Legislature.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota state government has a budget, other than for the Legislature. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the Legislature's budget Tuesday, May 30, because of what he called "a reprehensible sneak attack, which shatters whatever trust we achieved during the session." The action was a line tucked into one of the budget bills Dayton signed Tuesday that stopped Revenue Department funding unless another bill cutting taxes became law. That "poison pill," Dayton said, was "snuck" into a bill funding many state programs that he did not feel he could veto.
PAUL — Minnesota counties have a right to pick who audits their books, the state Appeals Court says, and the state's highest court also will have an opportunity to weigh in. State Auditor Rebecca Otto says she will appeal the Tuesday, May 30, decision to the Supreme Court.
ST. PAUL -- The $46 billion question remains unanswered. Minnesota legislators finished passing a two-year state budget of that size early Friday, May 26, after nearly five months in regular session and more than three days in special session, but now those interested in state spending will wait until Tuesday to see if Gov. Mark Dayton signs them into law.