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 10 months
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans will be able to shop for health insurance through a state marketplace beginning Oct. 1, but may not see savings for a couple of years. Minutes after Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday signed a bill into law establishing the marketplace, to be known as MNsure, he said that it eventually will save Minnesotans money, but not until 2015 or later.
ST. PAUL -- Senate Democrats do not want to place an income tax surcharge on the richest of the rich, but they are looking into expanding a new tax the governor wants on the top 2 percent of Minnesota earners. “We are going to take a look at whether the top 2 percent is the right number,” Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said Wednesday after announcing a framework of the Senate Democrats’ budget plan.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota schools would be the biggest beneficiaries of a state House Democratic budget proposal that goes beyond the governor’s plan to increase taxes on the rich. Minnesota House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, unveiled a budget outline Tuesday that accepts Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan to boost taxes on the richest 2 percent of Minnesotans, and he went further by suggesting a temporary surcharge, probably on those earning more than $500,000.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators approved 39-28 a health insurance marketplace along party lines Monday, leaving only Gov. Mark Dayton’s signature as the final step. Dayton is expected to sign the measure that would give Minnesotans a mostly Web-based place to buy health insurance, as required by federal law. If Minnesota does not establish its marketplace, also known as an exchange, the federal government will. Republicans opposed the marketplace in the Senate, as well as when the House approved it 72-61 early Friday.
ST. PAUL -- Marilyn Geller loves taking care of young children. “They are so eager to learn,” the woman with a Bemidji child care service said. She could do a better job taking care of children, she told a Senate committee Monday, if she could work closer with other child care providers in a union. Trish Berger also loves her role as a child care provider. She told senators that many child care providers like her prefer their independence. “They don’t want to have to be regulated by a union,” the Esko child care provider said.
ST. PAUL -- Many Minnesotans may be perfectly happy to see sex offenders tossed behind bars, with jailers throwing away the keys. However, a federal judge says the system Minnesota uses is so close to the throw-away-the-key philosophy that it violates the U.S. Constitution. He threatens to take action if Minnesota leaders do not fix the system. If that change does not come in the legislative session that ends May 20, the judge could order the state to make expensive changes and order state officials to release offenders.
ST. PAUL -- It seemed as if pretty much no one liked Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposal to tax business services, prompting him to overhaul a budget plan he presented six weeks ago. Details of his new budget idea are due Tuesday. Dayton on Friday told a TwinWest Chamber of Commerce meeting about his decision to dump the business tax, leaving those in the Capitol wondering what he might do to increase revenue he wants for programs such as education and economic development, as well as filling a budget deficit.
ST. PAUL -- Dean Johnson’s first job after being re-elected a University of Minnesota regent Wednesday night was rushing to the state House chambers to thank lawmakers who voted for him. The ex-politician knows the importance of maintaining relationships. “I know 90 percent of these folks,” the former state senator said about lawmakers. Even so, the Willmar resident said, “this is more difficult to me than it was last time,” because legislators tend to ask tougher questions of those in office than challengers. The election was for his second six-year term.
ST. PAUL -- Scammers who convince older Minnesotans to send money to people they think they are helping are targeted by a new bill. “These scams continue to be a growing problem and we need to do all that we can to combat them,” said Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights. “This legislation is a great step forward and while it’s simple, it will make a huge difference in preventing these types of scams.” Atkins and Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, wrote the bill to protect senior citizens from what is known as wire fraud.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans either will get a better deal on health insurance or they will face problems if the Legislature and governor agree on a new way for 1.3 million Minnesotans to buy health insurance. That is how the debate boils down about a bill the Democrat-controlled House Monday night approved 72-58 over Republican protests. Rep. Jim Abeler of Anoka was the only Republican to vote for the plan, an attempt to be involved in a House-Senate conference committee that will craft the final bill.