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 8 months
ST. PAUL — Once upon a time, Republican candidates would not speak ill of another candidate in the party. These days, forget that. Take the Tim Pawlenty-Jeff Johnson race for the GOP nomination for Minnesota governor. Here are two politicians who have been considered nice guys. But a month before the Aug. 14 primary election, they are treating each other like Republicans might treat Democrats. Or vice versa.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota officials have examined areas that were flooded earlier this week in the southwestern part of the state. In the meantime, officials announced that loans will be available for flooded farms and gave advice on how to make sure well water is safe. Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., led a delegation that visited several flooded sites on Friday, July 6.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota is a battlefield in a war pitting the United States against trading partners. President Donald Trump on Friday, July 6, tacked 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of goods China sells in the United States. Trump says the tariffs eventually may cover up to $550 billion worth of Chinese products. China responded by slapping its own tariffs on American goods to be sold in China. "It is certainly much more threatening situation than I have seen in my lifetime," professor Robert Kudrle of the University of Minnesota said.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton has declared emergencies in three dozen counties and the Red Lake reservation after a series of storms starting on June 9 caused damage across the state. Dayton signed the executive order Thursday, July 5, that gives the counties and reservation access to state disaster funds and state aid.
ST. PAUL—U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar left no doubt about what she thought of the federal Environmental Protection Agency administrator's resignation: "Finally." That was the Democrat's prompt Thursday, July 5, reaction on Twitter to President Donald Trump's tweet that he had accepted Scott Pruitt's resignation. U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., was almost as succinct: "Good riddance."
ST. PAUL — Minnesota is suing the maker of the best-known opioid painkiller, OxyCotin, claiming it mislead health care professionals and patients alike. "Prescription painkillers can be helpful in relieving pain when properly used and prescribed, but this company misrepresented and minimized the addictive nature of its drugs in order to sell more of them," Attorney General Lori Swanson said about Purdue Pharma on Monday, July 2.
WASHINGTON—Farmers usually worry about the weather and how much they will be paid for crops and livestock, but this summer many have a bigger worry: What federal officials will do for—or to—them. Farm-state lawmakers who deal with federal agriculture policy every day can do nothing to relieve farmer concerns. "No one has any answers and no one knows what is going on because things change every day," said U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, who serves western Minnesota and is the top House agriculture Democrat. "Every single aspect of agriculture is up in the air."
ST. PAUL — Most Americans don't think twice when they hear that an 81-year-old U.S. Supreme Court justice is retiring. But those in the political know realize Anthony Kennedy's departure has huge consequences. Democratic U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, running for election to fill the last two years of Al Franken's term, told supporters: "Republicans rewrote the rules and stole one Supreme Court seat in 2016 when they denied a vote to Merrick Garland. Now, with the sudden retirement of Justice Kennedy today, they are looking to take another."
WASHINGTON—Federal farm-state lawmakers say they are happy that final negotiations can begin on a farm bill that funds agriculture programs and food stamps. Senators passed their $428 billion farm bill 86-11 Thursday, June 28. The bipartisan vote contrasts with the House vote that narrowly passed last week with no Democratic support. U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., had said that the only good thing about the House bill's passage was that it paved the way for negotiations once the Senate passed its bill. He is the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee.
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans should get better service than last July, when the state introduced new motor vehicle license and title computer software, state officials say, but there is not enough money to make it work right. "It is way better than when it was rolled out in July," Commissioner Johanna Clyborne of the Minnesota Information Technology Service said Wednesday, June 27, after a legislative committee received an update. When asked if the state was running the system well, she said: "I think we could do this better."