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 is bringing back a public works funding bill much like he offered last year, on Wednesday, Jan. 4, proposing to spend $1.5 billion on projects ranging from water treatment plants to fixing college buildings. "These projects have a direct economic benefit," the governor told reporters in a conference call, promising to fight for the projects.
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.
ST. PAUL—Turkey talk turned thoughtful Monday, Nov. 21, as a hunger fighter said she worries about feeding Minnesotans. Colleen Moriarty of Hunger Solutions Minnesota said the number of people in the state using food shelves has reached an all-time high, and now she is concerned about discussion in Washington to remove funding from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. "I am very worried," she said during the governor's office annual ceremony denoting Thanksgiving week and honoring the state's 450 turkey farmers.
MINNEAPOLIS—An oil pipeline protester was recovering in a Minneapolis hospital Tuesday, Nov. 22, after her arm was seriously injured during a confrontation between pipeline opponents and law enforcement officers. Injuries sustained by Sophia Wilansky, 21, of New York prompted thousands of people to donate money for her recovery, which was underway at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. Within 19 hours of a gofundme site being established, 8,000 people had combined to give more than $220,000.
ST. PAUL—Election day may be Tuesday, but 568,196 Minnesotans already have voted. That is the word this morning from the secretary of state's office and represents the most early voters ever. This is the first presidential election in which a state no-excuse, early-voting law is in effect. The figure represents the absentee vote count plus mail-in ballots used in some rural predicts.
GRAND RAPIDS, Minn.—Rep. Tom Anzelc sat in a coffee shop talking about his re-election campaign when a woman interrupted to say how good a job the Democrat has done for his northern Minnesota House district over the years. An hour later, first-time candidate Republican Sandy Layman was sitting in another Grand Rapids coffee shop when a woman came up: "Are you Sandy Layman? We are voting for you. You do a good job."
ST. PAUL—A new Minnesota Poll shows Donald Trump closing Hilary Clinton's lead in the state, which mirrors national polls showing the presidential race tightening. The Star Tribune's Minnesota Poll indicates Clinton would receive 44 percent of the vote and Trump 38 percent if the election were held now. North Dakota native Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate and former New Mexico governor, received 12 percent support, although more than a quarter of those surveyed said they did not know who he is.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn.—First it was an effort to keep agriculture runoff out of the state's waters by the use of plant buffers, then last week it was a restriction on the use of some pesticides. Many of Minnesota's farmers and farm organizations are not happy with Gov. Mark Dayton, who began both efforts without what farmers say was adequate consultation. Many say they agree with Dayton's desire to clean up pollution and protect bees, but disagree with how he approaches agriculture-related issues.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota will not appeal a federal court ruling that called unconstitutional a law restricting importing electricity from coal-fired electric generating plants. North Dakota filed the suit against the Minnesota Next Generation Energy Act and won in a federal district court. A federal appeals court panel in June agreed with the district court, leaving the U.S.