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 -- The Minnesota Supreme Court is set to welcome its first American Indian member, who will give the court its second female majority. Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday announced his appointment of Anne K. McKeig, who has been a Hennepin County district court judge as well as presiding family court judge. A White Earth Nation descendant, McKeig was raised in Federal Dam, a small community southeast of Bemidji. White Earth is in northwestern Minnesota.
ST. PAUL -- The most positive description of a high-level Wednesday meeting to set up a Minnesota special legislative session was that it "it was not as productive as I would have liked." Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, also said that "the tone of the speaker's voice" was better than in previous meetings, even though no one could point to any progress made Wednesday.
ST. PAUL -- Greater Minnesota groups are asking Gov. Mark Dayton to sign tax-break legislation lawmakers passed last week. On Thursday, it was clear that Dayton signing the tax bill with aid for cities, counties, farmers, businesses, students, working families and others could be a longshot. Besides tax breaks and local government aids, the bill also contains a one-word mistake that would cost the state more than $100 million.
ST. PAUL -- A pension bill and parts of an outdoor-program funding bill received governor vetoes Tuesday. The pension bill would have cut payments to retired government workers, which Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton said he found unacceptable. He said that government employers and current employees should be responsible for paying into the pension fund, something he said that he will demand during the 2017 legislative session.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's legislative leaders often say that House-Senate conference committees should work out major legislation in public. That way, the logic goes, not only can the public watch the public's business, but more eyes on bills would mean fewer mistakes. But pretty much every year, those public negotiations never happen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota farmers driving 86,000 tractors do not have adequate safety equipment, some state lawmakers say, so legislation is being considered to provide them financial help to update their machines. "These would be the smaller, older tractors," Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, said. A state House agriculture committee Wednesday approved an Anderson bill to launch a $250,000 program to offer a combination of public and private aid to farmers to install roll bars and seat belts on tractors.
ST. PAUL -- More than 3,000 Minnesota child care providers have stopped providing the service in the past decade, and a bipartisan legislative panel says part of the fix to the problem is to make the system friendlier to providers. House Republicans say there were 14,481 child care providers in Minnesota in 2005, but 11,384 in 2014, a 21 percent decline.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is almost to the point where key state officials can begin talking about complying with federal identification card standards.
ST. PAUL -- There is no doubt Marco Rubio and Bernie Sanders won the presidential nods Tuesday from those who attended Minnesota Republican and Democratic precinct caucuses, but the victories may not have been as big as they appear at first glance. Headlines like "Rubio and Sanders win" do not tell the full story of what for Republicans was a record-setting caucus and nearly so for Democrats.
Minnesota joins Super Tuesday this year, but the question is whether the day will be super for any of the presidential candidates. It has not always been. Super Tuesday, March 1 this year, is the day when several states hold primaries or caucuses, in part to pick delegates to the two major parties’ national conventions. It is dubbed “super” because generally more states are picking delegates that day than any other.