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 — A letter to the editor could lead to ethics charges against a Minnesota state senator. Sen. Kent Eken, D-Twin Valley, said on Thursday, March 9, that he is considering asking the Senate Ethics Committee to find that Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen violated rules that ban misleading or untrue comments about a colleague.
ST. PAUL—Many low-income Minnesotans cannot afford to go to a dentist and many dentists say they cannot afford to serve those who receive state assistance. For serving the poor, Minnesota pays dentists 27 percent of what other Minnesotans pay. Because of that, many dentists no longer accept patients on Medicaid, a federal-state medical coverage program for the poor known in Minnesota as Medical Assistance. Other dentists limit how many MA patients they serve.
ST. PAUL—Steve Sviggum is about to rejoin Dean Johnson, but the pair from opposite political parties who held the top legislative positions a decade ago say it will be different this time as they work together as University of Minnesota regents. A joint session of the Republican-controlled Minnesota House and Senate elected Sviggum, a former GOP House speaker, to the university Board of Regents Wednesday night, Feb. 22. That means he will join a board where Johnson serves as chairman.
ST. PAUL — Ethics discussions moved beyond the troubled U.S. Bank Stadium governing authority after its two top officials resigned. While allowing family and friends into U.S. Bank Stadium free has been center of a controversy, the Thursday, Feb. 16, resignation of the facility's chairwoman and executive director spurred discussion about other venues, too. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, said they would like to expand the freebie ban to other public facilities.
ST. PAUL—Most Minnesota teachers do not get master's degrees in the subjects they teach. That, state Rep. Dean Urdahl says, needs to change so students get better education. If teachers know more about the subjects they teach, students would learn more, he said Tuesday, Feb. 14. The Minnesota House Education Finance Committee Tuesday approved Urdahl's legislation to provide tax credits of $2,500 to teachers who earn master's degrees in their fields. It is expected to become part of an overall tax bill lawmakers consider later this spring.
ST. PAUL -- Farmers can forget about tax breaks to lighten their burden in funding new schools. Drivers on some of Minnesota's most dangerous highways will not see immediate safety improvements. New state aid cities expected is not coming.
ST. PAUL — Local government officials across Minnesota need to know if a special legislative session will be called to pass a tax bill. They are nearing a deadline to plan for money the bill would provide them, but Friday is the earliest state leaders will meet about the issue.
ST. PAUL — A lack of heated races kept many Minnesota voters home from Tuesday's primary election, but those who did show up helped set the plate for the Nov. 8 general election. In the 7th Congressional District, Dave Hughes, a political unknown, will take on 26-year veteran U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson in the Nov. 8 election. Hughes beat another political newcomer, Amanda Lynn Hinson, in Tuesday's primary election. With about two-thirds of the precincts reporting, Hughes had 60 percent of the vote to Hinson's 40 percent, according to unofficial returns.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota's minimum wage rises August 1 and several new laws will hit the books. The state's large employers must pay at least $9.50 an hour, while smaller businesses will be required to pay $7.75. Training and youth wages also must be at least $7.75. In 2018, Minnesota minimum wages begin rising annually to match inflation. Monday is the first increase in three years as part of a 2014 law Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton signed after a Legislature controlled by his party passed it. The minimum wage's first increase under the law was to $8 an hour in 2014.
ST. PAUL — It's not the heat, it's the corn. Well, it's the humidity, but that is increased by corn and other crops. Americans throughout the central part of the country cannot put all the blame on corn for muggy conditions they are experiencing this week, but crops "add an additional boost" to humidity that is making this heat wave worse than some, Minnesota State Climatologist Pete Boulay said Wednesday. Thursday likely will be the worst in Minnesota this week, with high humidity and temperatures near 90 in the north to almost 100 in the Twin Cities.