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 — Republicans who will control the Minnesota House next year angered Democrats by leaving a strong environmentalist off the environmental committee. House Speaker-designate Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, released a list of committee members Thursday night, and the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee list did not include Rep. Jean Wagenius, D-Minneapolis.
ST. PAUL — It probably is no surprise the new Minnesota House Republican leadership team is packed with rural lawmakers. After all, Republicans regained control of the House in last month's elections because of rural wins. Speaker-designate Kurt Daudt of Crown and Majority Leader-elect Joyce Peppin of Rogers announced the leadership team, topped by Rep. Dan Fabian of Roseau as majority whip.
MINNEAPOLIS — Perhaps some rural hospitals could just provide emergency room services, and drop full hospital services. Maybe medical schools could recruit more rural students and government could increase money available to forgive student loans to people who practice in rural areas. And it may be a good idea to stop paying medical providers just for performing medical procedures and, instead, pay them based on their success with patients. Those and other ideas were the beginning of a conversation U.S. Sen.
ST. PAUL – Minnesotans may not want to hear the word, but it needs to be said: recount. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said that his office is ready to count ballots a second time if needed, as has been the case in recent Supreme Court justice, U.S. Senate and governor races. The secretary has appointed the state Canvassing Board to officially declare victors from Tuesday's election and to oversee any recount.
ST. PAUL – Political reporters often suffer from bouts of dizziness after listening to political spin they must endure, but perhaps nothing is worse than when MNsure is involved. No sooner than MNsure, an online health insurance marketplace, had announced that rates would rise an average of 4.5 percent than opponents claimed Minnesotans were being deceived. Of course, it all depends on how that and many other figures are, well, figured.
ST. PAUL – Minnesota's two major candidates for governor will debate five times before the Nov. 4 election, including a Forum News Service event in Moorhead. Campaigns for Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican challenger Jeff Johnson have been going back and forth about debates since shortly after Johnson won the Aug. 12 primary election. They reached agreement on the debates Friday.
ROCHESTER, Minn. – Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's chief challenger took health insurance cost information the administration released Wednesday and used it hours later against the governor during their first debate. Republican Jeff Johnson said MNsure and new federal health laws have hurt the state's insurance system, which he said had been best in the country. Turning to Dayton, Johnson said, "You wanted to be the first in the country to implement MNsure. ... It is hurting people."
ST. PAUL -- It is breathless time for political campaigns. In what reminds one of an old-time messenger trying to catch his breath when delivering urgent news, the campaigns fit in as much drama as possible during this time of a campaign. The term "breaking" is used in many an email subject line, followed by a comment in all capital letters that seems to indicate the sky is falling. Take, for instance, an email from Gov. Mark Dayton's campaign seeking money from supporters.
ST. PAUL -- A little known federal issue that has farmers riled came out of the U.S. House with a vote friendly to agriculture. The House voted 262-152 Tuesday to forbid the federal Environmental Protection Agency putting nearly all water in the country under its control. Farmers fear a proposed change in the Clean Water Act would give the EPA control of every body of water from puddles on up. There is little chance that the Democratic Senate will follow the Republican House's lead.
ST. PAUL – A dozen mostly rural Minnesota state House districts could decide which party controls the body the next two years. The Republican-oriented Minnesota Jobs Coalition Legislative Fund announced 12 districts Democrats now hold that it is targeting for the Nov. 4 election.