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 11 months
ST. PAUL — A deadly Texas school shooting has turned Minnesota safe school legislation into a top priority. The Friday, May 18, shooting prompted Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders hours later to push legislation that would provide money to school districts to spend as they think is most appropriate to make their buildings safer.
ST. PAUL — The radio host asked a reporter: "What do we know about things happening at the Legislature?" Simple question. Not such a simple answer. The fact is that political reporters know as much as anyone other than high-level legislators, and rank-and-file lawmakers often come to reporters for information as a legislative session winds down. But, frankly, closed-door meetings among legislative leaders and the governor near the end of nearly every legislative session means the public is left in the dark until the legislative deed is done.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Legislature has three days left to pass bills, and nearly all major legislation remains in limbo. On Thursday, May 17, a Republican-written tax bill received a veto stamp, in front of a couple dozen school children, as Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton fulfilled a promise to reject the bill until lawmakers approve $138 million in school aid.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota House passage of a public works funding bill signals the beginning of the end to the 2018 Minnesota Legislature. The House voted 84-39 Monday, May 14, for a bill that would borrow about $1 billion for everything from fixing college buildings to building water-treatment plants throughout the state. "I cannot guarantee you are going to get another chance," Chairman Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, told fellow representatives as he urged support. Some of the major areas of spending include:
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans watching the final days of the Legislature need to remember one thing: There is nothing lawmakers must do. There is plenty they would like to do, but if they just go home today, little will change in the state. That is quite different from an odd-numbered year when they must approve a budget or state government would shut down. Perhaps the most complex issue is the one legislators will push the hardest to pass, a tax bill.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota would collect $20 million from opioid painkiller makers and distributors under Senate-passed legislation. "We cannot continue to go at this pace," Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, said about an epidemic of deaths due to opioid abuse. "We are losing people daily." Senators backed the bill 60-6 Thursday, May 10. It is one of the major bills in the Legislature this year, and one that especially rural Minnesotans say is at the top of their priority lists.
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans should be able to use their existing driver's licenses and identification cards until 2020 to board domestic airline flights and enter some federal facilities. State officials announced Monday, May 7, that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has informed them that since the state is making progress in meeting federal Real ID standards, the deadline may be extended. While not an official deadline extension, Minnesota officials said they expect that to be granted.
ST. PAUL — About two weeks remain in the 2018 legislative session, so it is time for the work to begin. At least it is time for the final work. Now is when the House, Senate and administration to sit down in conference committees and behind closed doors to reach deals. Even-numbered years like 2018 normally are centered on funding public works projects. This year, such work nearly has been an afterthought as so many other issues have shot to the top.
ST. PAUL—Taxes have taken over as the 2018 Minnesota Legislative session's No. 1 issue, thanks federal tax law changes that will affect most Americans. The House tax plan passed 90-38 Monday, April 30, and Senate Republicans announce their proposal Tuesday morning, making it the third plan as Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton announced his wishes weeks ago. The House Republican majority says its measure will provide 2.1 million Minnesotans tax cuts. If the Legislature and Dayton do nothing, about 300,000 would pay more.