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—Many Minnesota educators do not understand how to interpret scores of state and federal mandated tests. An Office of Legislative Auditor report released Monday, March 6, included a survey showing a lack of understanding. It also showed educators questioning the usefulness of the the best-known statewide test, Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, better known as MCA.
ST. PAUL—The Minnesota House wants to overhaul how U.S. Bank Stadium is governed. Representatives voted 122-7 Monday night, March 6, to change how board members who oversee the stadium are appointed and bans free use of stadium suites by family and friends of board members. "It was touted as a people's stadium, today we are returning it to the people," bill author Rep. Sara Anderson, R-Plymouth, said.
ST. PAUL—Many low-income Minnesotans cannot afford to go to a dentist and many dentists say they cannot afford to serve those who receive state assistance. For serving the poor, Minnesota pays dentists 27 percent of what other Minnesotans pay. Because of that, many dentists no longer accept patients on Medicaid, a federal-state medical coverage program for the poor known in Minnesota as Medical Assistance. Other dentists limit how many MA patients they serve.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's prostate-removal surgery was successful Thursday, March 2, his office reported. "Gov. Dayton's surgery went as planned," Dayton's Deputy Chief of Staff Linden Zakula said. "The procedure concluded at approximately 11:30 this morning. The governor is resting comfortably at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. As he recovers, he will be joined by his family and remain at the hospital overnight." Dayton was diagnosed with prostate cancer last month and opted to have the prostate removed over other treatment options.
ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton wants Minnesota schools to continue protecting transgender students' restroom rights. He urged schools to continue following Obama administration recommendations to allow transgender students to use restrooms matching their gender identity. The Trump administration on Wednesday, Feb. 22, withdrew that guidance, saying states and schools should make such decisions on their own. "This is not a state's rights issue, this is a human rights issue," Democrat Dayton said Thursday. "And it should be a constitutionally protected right."
Cindy Woldstad lived in pain, then became hooked on opioid painkillers.
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans are closer than ever to being able to buy from liquor stores on Sundays, but state senators still need to weigh in.
ST. PAUL — Unseasonably warm weather is making Minnesota farmers itchy to get into the fields, but some have not ordered seeds while they wait to know their financial standing. Soon, they should have that answer if Gov. Mark Dayton does as expected and signs legislation to pump $35 million into a farmer loan program. Minnesota senators voted 62-0 in favor of the bill Thursday, Feb. 16, following House members' action a week earlier.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota law enforcement officers, who have received minority community criticism after high-profile shootings and other incidents, likely soon will be required to take diversity training, partially at state expense. Police groups not only welcome the concept, but presented it to state legislators.
ST. PAUL—Educating the public about opioid drugs may be the best way to fight their dangers. That is what Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson hopes. On Monday, Feb. 13, she announced that she has adapted a year-old Wisconsin opioid public awareness campaign to counteract the growing addiction problem to opioid pain killers. Swanson said a website (doseofreality.mn.gov) is the centerpiece of the effort, with a brochure and public service announcement for television stations and movie theaters also available.