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 11 months
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans have marched on the state Capitol by the thousands this year seeking gun control legislation, always meeting with strong Republican opposition. At least until now. On Wednesday, April 25, House Speaker Kurt Daudt of Crown delivered the strongest GOP public comments in favor of enacting some form of gun restrictions.
ST. PAUL — Scientific and cultural discussions overlapped as the Minnesota House approved a bill to start over on water regulations protecting wild rice. Representatives voted 78-45 Monday, April 23, to dump a law in place since 1973, but never enforced, that regulates how much sulfate may be in water of wild rice beds.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota livestock regulators are not doing all they could to protect deer and elk from disease, a state audit shows. "We found that the Board of Animal Health has failed to enforce some laws relating to deer and elk farms," the Office of the Legislative Auditor wrote in a letter to legislators. "The board has not established clear expectations for deer and elk farm inventories, nor has it systematically analyzed compliance with state laws requiring chronic wasting disease testing."
ST. PAUL — About 450 sex offenders and mentally ill and dangerous Minnesotans could be released from state custody before they are fully treated, lawmakers and the Dayton administration say, so state leaders are rushing through legislation to keep them supervised. "It could be days or weeks" when offenders would be released, Acting Human Services Commissioner Chuck Johnson said Monday, April 23, before senators unanimously approved the bill. The House still must take up the measure.
ST. PAUL — A former Minnesota Republican chairman and lawmaker has ended his campaign for governor, saying Tim Pawlenty's entrance in the race means he cannot win. "The opportunity for me to win in November has closed," Keith Downey wrote to supporters Wednesday, April 18. Downey said the endorsement race is "wide open" and his campaign is sound but he is "unable to see a path to victory now."
ST. PAUL — A former Minnesota House speaker will become Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's fifth justice on the seven-member state Supreme Court. Dayton announced Tuesday, April 17, that Rep. Paul Thissen will become justice. He has been in the state House 16 years and a lawyer 25 years. Dayton and Thissen said the Minneapolis man's time in the Legislature means he has traveled the state, talking to thousands of people, which will help him as justice.
ST. PAUL — Legislative Republicans are fighting a Dayton administration proposal to restrict farmers' use of nitrate fertilizers. The GOP-controlled Minnesota House voted 69-56 Monday, April 16, to require legislative approval before nitrate limits proposal by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton can be adopted. Dayton he wants the rule because "clean and safe drinking water is the right of every Minnesotan."
ST. PAUL—Millionaire Rob Undersander sat at a Minnesota House witness stand saying he received food stamps for 19 months to prove a point: Not everyone who gets the aid needs it. Democratic legislators did not like his Wednesday, April 11, testimony, particularly Rep. John Considine, D-Mankato. "You knew this was wrong and you did it anyway," Considine said while staring at Undersander. "I find it pretty despicable. .... I am just sorry there is no way we can prosecute you."
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's lieutenant governor, who says her main job is state senator, is being sued a second time for holding both positions. A constituent of Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, filed suit, saying the state Constitution clearly says that one person cannot hold offices in two branches of government. The lieutenant governor is in the executive branch with the governor, while a senator serves in the legislative branch as one of 201 lawmakers. Fischbach is Senate president.
ST. PAUL — Mexicans eat nearly $23 million worth of Minnesota turkey products a year, and Canadians consume about half that. The two United States neighbors and Hong Kong are, by far, the major importers of Minnesota turkey. At the same time, Canada sells $364 million of wood to Minnesota and Mexico collects $365 million from Minnesotans for electrical machinery. The state has strong economic connections with Canada and Mexico, with a large variety of goods going back and forth across the borders.