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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MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota's politics is in high gear as the state attorney general said she wants to become governor, the governor picked who he wants to replace him, a lieutenant governor candidate said she misspoke about E85 and a Democratic governor candidate formally suspended her campaign. Monday, June 4, was one of the wildest days Minnesotans have seen in politics. Tuesday, the deadline for filing for state office, could be even wilder if only a portion of the rumors are true.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Every election year comes the same rote statement: "It is the most important election in a generation." Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton admits that is a cliche. But, this time at least, he said it is true. "I'm not running for office, but I think this is the most important election in my time," said Dayton, who early in January will leave public life after more than 40 years in politics. That is what he plans to tell fellow Democrats when he speaks to their state convention in Rochester on Saturday, June 2.
ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign or veto a public works funding bill for projects around Minnesota on Wednesday, May 30. If he signs the bill, he could eliminate some of the projects lawmakers approved. Also, his office says he will sign a pension-protection bill Thursday in a public ceremony. A number of other bills await his signature or veto, but he indicated they were not controversial.
ST. PAUL — Super Bowl visitors left $400 million in the Twin Cities. The Feb. 4 event, preceded by 10 days of organized partying was a success, organizers and the governor declared Tuesday, May 29, when they released an economic impact report. "The success of the enterprise was just phenomenal," Gov. Mark Dayton said. And, perhaps more importantly, 83 percent of Super Bowl visitors on their first Minnesota visit said they will be back.
ST. PAUL -- The veto pen found found most legislation Minnesota lawmakers passed this year. Gov. Mark Dayton announced Wednesday, May 23, that he vetoed the session's major legislation, citing numerous problems with the Republican-written bills. He said he hopes to decide by Friday on the final major bill of the session, funding public works projects. "Very irresponsible" was how Dayton described the legislative session.
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—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.