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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ROSEVILLE, Minn. — Minnesota students appear to be maintaining mostly steady standardized scores on reading, math and science, but whites continue to dramatically outscore minority students. Test scores are not rising much, state Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said Monday, Aug. 7, in releasing the annual Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment test results. "It's frustrating to see test scores slowly increasing over time, but there's more to providing a student with a well-rounded education than can be seen in a test," Cassellius said.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn.—Mike Orbeck may be lucky: He pretty much knows what his health insurance will be next year. Many of his fellow farmers do not know what to expect as federal plans to overturn health care laws failed and the state says individual health insurance policy rates should remain about the same next year, if Minnesota gets federal approval for a new state program. Recent health insurance news, sometimes conflicting and always confusing, has those who rely on individual policies worried. Farmers are a major user of individual policies.
ST. PAUL — Maybe something will come of all the talk this time. We are hearing more about U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar visiting Iowa, which always brings up talk of presidential ambitions. But it is more than just Iowa trips. The Minnesota Democrat is being mentioned more and more by national media, many Americans see her frequent national television appearances and about 900 people like an "Amy Klobuchar for President in 2020" Facebook page. The latest is that she plans to attend a Hollywood fundraiser this weekend.
ST. PAUL -- A judge reached all the way to the Federalist Papers of 1787 to conclude Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton violated the state Constitution when he vetoed state House and Senate funding last spring. "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition," James Madison wrote in arguing in favor of the separation of powers doctrine that soon became the basis for the U.S. Constitution and was key in the Wednesday, July 19, Minnesota court decision.
ST. PAUL—Frustrated families of people who have gone missing have a chance to help law enforcement officials find their loves ones: provide DNA. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension plans four opportunities around the state, starting Saturday, July 15, in St. Paul, for people to provide DNA that authorities will put into a nationwide database to see if it matches unidentified remains that could be anywhere in the country. In Minnesota alone, more than 100 unidentified bodies are buried, BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said Tuesday.
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans in Congress generally applauded the Trump administration's announcement about the amount of biofuels that must be produced, although it cut requirements for advanced fuels and kept them constant for corn-based ethanol.
ST. PAUL—Average Minnesotans should be involved in training police officers to deal with tense racial situations, Gov. Mark Dayton says as $12 million heads to police departments across the state. "It is only by them coming together and working together and recognizing the common cause we all have" that the new training program will be successful, Dayton said Thursday, July 6, the first anniversary of the fatal shooting of Philando Castile by a St. Anthony police officer. "We all need to learn to live together."
MINNEAPOLIS — James Robinson has no doubt federally funded programs saved him. "If it wasn't for the funding of these programs ... there wouldn't be programs that say, 'You deserve to live,'" the Minneapolis resident Wednesday, July 5, told reporters and a crowd supporting Medicaid and other federal programs they fear could be cut or eliminated by Republican-written federal health care legislation. "You haven't walked a mile in my shoes," he said to those who would cut health funding. "You don't know what it is like."
PAUL — The Minnesota Legislature is preparing to sue the governor. A legislative committee plans a Friday, June 2, meeting to consider hiring a lawyer after Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed legislative funding for the next two years.
ST. PAUL—A gentle harmonica concert by Rep. Bob Loonan did not provide quite enough calm late Thursday, May 25, as a relatively minor issue stalled the Minnesota Legislature's drive to finish passing the state budget. The second-term state lawmaker from Shakopee played his harmonica as lawmakers gathered for what they hoped was the third and last day of what was supposed to be a one-day session. But instead of harmonica calm, lawmakers heard a screech as work stopped over a Bloomington walking and biking trail.