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 -- Presidential candidates have given Minnesota a bit more love than usual this year as the state holds its precinct caucuses on a day when more presidential nomination delegates will be picked than any other. It is a day that could make or break a campaign. As part of Super Tuesday with a dozen other states on March 1, Minnesota will play a larger role than most years.
ST. PAUL -- 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. This year, Minnesota joins a dozen states.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans who live part of the year in another state could find themselves paying income taxes as if they were full-year residents. Four Minnesota Supreme Court justices this week ruled that a couple who moved to Minnesota on Aug. 1, 2007, owed taxes to the state as full-time residents since they also had spent time at their Minnesota home before moving. In all, they spent more than half of the year in Minnesota.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton this morning ended his hopes for a special legislative session to extend unemployment benefits to Iron Rangers, begin the process of matching state identification cards with federal requirements and launch efforts to reduce a financial disparity between black and white Minnesotans. "It is with great regret I am announcing today that I will not be able to call for a special session of the Minnesota Legislature," Dayton told reporters.
ST. PAUL -- Every Minnesota legislative session seems to produce one issue no one saw coming, at least to the scale it reaches. Perhaps that issue this year will be privacy. When Minnesotans hear comments like from Rep. Peggy Scott, it could attract attention.
ST. PAUL -- Students' iPads and other technology devices may provide personal data that companies can use to target advertising at the youth. Minnesotans' emails more than 6 months old may be obtained by law enforcement officers without seeking search warrants from judges. Schools and employers sometimes force students and employees to give them access to social media accounts.
ST. PAUL -- It's a refrain often heard in the Minnesota Capitol complex: "There's nothing we have to do this year." The two-year state budget passed last year, so anything that happens in the legislative session starting March 8 is purely optional. There certainly are issues that many people want debated, but nothing is mandatory.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton wants to spend $1.4 billion on public works projects around Minnesota, one of the largest requests in history and a big target for Republicans who prefer spending much less. Dayton's biggest request is more than $70 million to improve security at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter. Other projects Dayton wants to fund range from establishing new sex offender treatment centers to fixing existing state facilities.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota communities and farmers would receive a $220 million boost in their efforts to clean up the state's water under a proposal Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled today. Much of the money would help cities, mostly in rural Minnesota, to improve water and sewage treatment facilities. Dayton sets aside $30 million to meet a new law requiring vegetative buffers between cropland and streams and lakes.
ST. PAUL -- Stay tuned: Minnesota's governor and legislators will continue to talk about three potential topics of a special legislative session. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk Friday decided to give committees more time to discuss Iron Range unemployment extensions, meeting federal identification guidelines and helping black Minnesotans to recover from financial problems.