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
- 5 years 9 months
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.
ST. PAUL -- Americans may board commercial airlines for at least two more years with state identification cards that do not meet new federal guidelines, but it was not clear after Friday's announcement if a rush to change Minnesota law will continue.
ST. PAUL -- There is no statewide Minnesota election this year, so naturally politicos turn at least some of their attention to 2018. Eric Ostermeier of the University of Minnesota's Smart Politics blog feeds some of that need with an entry that reminds readers: "Gopher state Democrats have never won back-to-back gubernatorial elections with different nominees."
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's economy is a study in contradictions. So much of the news looks good: near record-low unemployment, overall wage payments rising, few signs of the recession remain. But there also are warning signs: manufacturing, mining and farm economies lag; some parts of Minnesota enjoy better economies than others; home construction is slowing; finding people for some jobs is becoming difficult.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton fared well in the first year of his second and final term. When asked about the past year, he immediately turned to the economy: "Overall, three and a half percent unemployment and projects being announced every day, we have made good progress."