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 — The Mille Lacs Indian Reservation is becoming a haven for drug dealers and other criminals, band members say. "People now show up on our reservation because they believe it is a police-free zone," band Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin told about 100 at a Minnesota State Capitol Rally Monday, Nov. 20. Mille Lacs County and the band disagree whether tribal police should have jurisdiction on most of the reservation. In June of 2016, the county ended a police cooperation agreement with the band, an action Benjamin and other band supporters want reversed.
ST. PAUL — One moment at Minnesota's Great Get Together was not so great, a woman says about her photograph with U.S. Sen. Al Franken. Franken's hand "was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek" as her husband snapped a photo, Lindsay Menz said. "Like ew, I want to wash that off of me." Menz told CNN for a story that ran Monday, Nov. 20. The former Minnesotan, now 33, said the incident occurred at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair.
ST. PAUL — Al Franken has faced allegations of improperly treating women before. In 2008, just before Franken won his first Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement to be U.S. senator, complaints arose about his writing objectionable jokes and book passages, including jokes about rape. The state party convention in June of that year endorsed him with 62 percent support, but some delegates were concerned. "They don't like distractions," then-state Sen. Keith Langseth, D-Glyndon, said of his constituents. "I'm a little uneasy about it."
ST. PAUL — Minnesota House members who refuse to take sex harassment prevention training may have a whole lot of time on their hands. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said on Thursday, Nov. 16, that while he cannot fire House members, he will remove their committee membership if they do not get take the training. Without committee work, members would have little to do for most of a legislative session since committee meetings eat up most of lawmakers' time.
ST. PAUL—A former Minnesota woman says U.S. Sen. Al Franken grabbed her buttocks while her husband was taking their photo at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair. Lindsay Menz, who now lives in Texas, said on Twitter: "In August 2010, @alfranken grabbed me while taking a photo together at the Minnesota State Fair. I felt violated & embarrassed." Tweeting to radio host Leeann Tweeden, she added: "I 100% believe your account of him & his actions, ... Thank you for sharing your story."
ST. PAUL — Minnesota state Sen. Dave Senjem held up his well-used black wallet containing his identification and credit cards, and explained identify theft so anyone could understand. "Last week I lost this," the Rochester Republican said recently. "We all do it. I could only hope the dog ate it."
ST. PAUL — Minnesota state Senate leaders say they are preparing to lay off their 205 employees and shut down the Legislature's upper chamber.
ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn.—Abby Haley "fell in love." Jen Jensen encountered "my own personal devil." The women were talking about their addiction to opioids, powerful painkillers that Minnesota and national officials say are taking taking over so many lives that the situation has become a crisis. Many who have become enveloped in the crisis are like Haley and Jensen, who hit the depths. The two women received treatment and say they have been clean for two years.
ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton's action to ease problems that farmers report of getting propane brings back memories of the 2013-14 winter in which the gas was in short supply, but early indications are that this winter will not be as bad. Dayton issued an executive order this week to provide emergency relief to farmers who are having a tough time getting propane and diesel fuel delivered. The order allows trucking companies to extend their hours for the next month, although drivers cannot work longer hours than the law allows.
ST. PAUL — The political rhetoric has been much more substantial than changes coming to Minnesotans' 2018 health plans. The federal Affordable Care Act, known to most Americans as Obamacare, remains the law of the land. Although Minnesota officials have made some changes they say will help their constituents, most people probably will not notice a huge health insurance change.