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
- 4 years 11 months
ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota House committee approved the use of marijuana to help suffering patients after 7-year-old Amelia Weaver provided an example Tuesday night of why some want the practice legalized. The girl suffered a seizure, one of about 30 she suffers a day, while her mother told the Minnesota House Health and Human Services Policy Committee on Tuesday night that marijuana could help her daughter.
ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota car owner who wants a massive bright yellow bug deflector, with purple polka dots, could install one under a provision Gov. Mark Dayton proposes. Now, state law regulates bug deflectors' size and color. Dayton also wants to eliminate a law that specifies the size of containers in which fruit is sold and one that requires the state agriculture commissioner to round up any wild boar that gets loose in Minneapolis or St. Paul.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota property taxes did not fall as much as the Dayton administration said they would. A one-page report that appeared without notice on the state Revenue Department website late Friday afternoon indicated the property taxes fell $8 million in 2014, far short of the $121 million the governor and his revenue commission predicted at the end of July. Republicans, on the other hand, call it a tax increase.
ST. PAUL -- An additional $20 million is on its way to Minnesotans who can’t afford to pay for heat this winter. After legislators unanimously passed the heating aid increase in the first days of the 2014 session, Gov. Mark Dayton signed it Friday. The money goes into the state's program to help low-income Minnesotans pay for heat.
ST. PAUL -- Providing financial aid to Minnesotans struggling to pay heating bills in this polar vortex of a winter came first as the state Legislature launched its 2014 session Tuesday, with work also beginning on an effort to cut $600 million in taxes. The session's opening day brought hundreds to rally in favor of a Democratic plan to raise the state minimum wage to $9.50 an hour. The House and Senate acted Tuesday to restart negotiations on raising the wage from the current $6.15 after their efforts failed last year.
ST. PAUL -- Expect a minimum wage increase, but no tax increase, when Minnesota legislators return to St. Paul for the year at noon Tuesday. Expect widespread agreement on borrowing $840 million for public works projects, but not so much agreement on where to spend that money. Expect movement toward increased long-term care funding, but not a requirement to pay bottle and can deposits.
ST. PAUL -- Being a vital cog in passing a major U.S. House bill generally is an exhilarating experience. But for U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, passing the farm bill may have been less excitement and more relief. “Today, after nearly four years of work, the House is finally considering the 2014 Farm Bill conference report," the western Minnesota Democrat said as debate opened on the bill Wednesday. "It’s been a challenging and, at times, frustrating process. ..."
ST. PAUL – Bees are tiny, but are big players in crop production, so the growing problem of them dying off is creating a huge concern throughout the Upper Midwest. Minnesota leaders are looking at ways to help because bees are chief pollinators of many crops throughout the region. More than a third of crops depend on bees to produce food.
WASHINGTON -- Congressional negotiators agreed to a farm bill on Monday that they think finally will pass the House and Senate. It is a compromise package that pleases neither side, with food stamp cuts and farm subsidies continuing.
ST. PAUL -- Meteorologists say that what they call a “polar vortex,” and the rest of us call bitterly cold weather, is beginning to ease up in the Upper Midwest. That means the region may reach temperatures Alaskans have been enjoying.