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 — Election day may be Tuesday, but 568,196 Minnesotans already have voted. That is the word this morning from the secretary of state's office and represents the most early voters ever. This is the first presidential election in which a state no-excuse, early-voting law is in effect. The figure represents the absentee vote count plus mail-in ballots used in some rural predicts.
ST. PAUL — A federal study of relations between Minnesota police and their communities has expanded from Hennepin County to statewide. A Minnesota advisory committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission Monday, Oct. 31, decided the discussion should not be limited to the state's largest county. "I would want to include folks from communities outside of the metro area," said Director Velma Korbel of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, who heads the 15-person advisory committee heavy with Twin Cities members.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton blames state House Republicans for blocking $105 million in federal highway funds, but the House transportation chairman said the governor's key aides said there would be no harm in delaying the money. The Democratic governor said on Wednesday, Oct. 26, that road and bridge projects in 28 communities across the state could have been completed with the federal funds, but now will be delayed. A project planned for 2017 in the Farmington area is affected by this decision.
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans who buy individual health insurance policies would get either state or federal aid to deal with soaring premiums under a plan Gov. Mark Dayton offered Thursday, Oct. 27. Dayton announced a proposal that would reduce premiums 25 percent for 123,000 Minnesotans who do not qualify for federal assistance provided Americans below specific income levels.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's top elected Republican says he will call for Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's resignation if he does not put in enough effort to solve what is widely regarded as a health insurance crisis. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said on Wednesday, Oct. 26, that the Dayton administration has thousands of workers who could work on improving the health insurance situation, in which people buying individual polices could see premiums rise up to 67 percent, coverage fall and deductibles soar to several thousand dollars.
RED WING, Minn. — Lisa Bayley laughs, halfheartedly, when talking about a political flyer showing her shoveling money into an incinerator. Then "there is one of me with a bunch of cows wandering around and it says that Lisa Bayley must think we are a bunch of cash cows," the Democratic candidate from Red Wing said. Her Republican opponent in the Nov. 8 election, Barb Haley, said a mailer about her claims "I have metro millionaires and skyscrapers who are backing me; I don't know any metro millionaires."
ST. PAUL — The two major presidential candidates appear to agree on something. Hillary Clinton: "America's rural communities lie at the heart of what makes this country great." Donald Trump: "Growing our farm sector and supporting our nation's farmers are absolutely critical steps to making America great again."
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's governor says a President Barack Obama inspired health-care law needs work. "The reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people," Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday, Oct. 12, while encouraging state and federal lawmakers to make changes. Soaring health insurance costs are a "very serious problem," Dayton told reporters seeking reaction to his administration's recent announcement that individual health insurance policies' premiums will jump 50 percent to 67 percent next year.
ST. PAUL—A conservative group says Minnesota's taxes are the 46th most competitive in the country. The Tax Foundation reported on Wednesday, Sept. 28, that when considering corporate, individual income, sales, property and unemployment insurance taxes, Minnesota finished near the last. Only Vermont, Washington, D.C., California, New York and New Jersey have worse business tax climates, the foundation reported.