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 -- 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 — Minnesota law enforcement officers are not trigger happy, Gov. Mark Dayton says, but money lawmakers approved for police training earlier this year could help them react appropriately to instances like have resulted in civilian deaths in recent years.
ST. PAUL — A federal judge says he will decide whether to temporarily stop the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project within 30 days. After a three-hour hearing Tuesday, July 18, Chief Minnesota federal Judge John R. Tunheim announced his month deadline in a request to hit pause on the $2.2 billion project. Attorneys seeking the delay, representing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and areas south of Fargo-Moorhead, said the delay is needed because Minnesota has rejected a permit to build a dam that is part of the project.
ST. PAUL—Mia Morrison brought her 14-year-old enthusiasm to to a public meeting dominated by people much older. "My generation does not want to clean it up," the bubbly girl, waving her hands, told a U.S. Forest Service panel that on Tuesday night, July 18, was listening to Minnesotans, and one Wisconsinite, about whether the federal government should prevent copper-nickel mining near northeast Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. She spoke near the end of a two-and-a-half-hour meeting in downtown St. Paul, one of dozens who spoke against the mine proposal.
ST. PAUL—Two days does not a trend make, but to Christopher Arnold what happened in the first two days Minnesota liquor stores could be open on Sundays looks familiar. "It is basically follows what happened in Colorado," said Arnold, manager at Bagley's city-owned liquor store. Colorado allowed Sunday sales in 2008 for the first time since prohibition. Many stores opened to long lines, then sales leveled off. Or, as Arnold said in a phrase Coloradans may use, "it sort of mellowed out."
ST. PAUL — Minnesota government will not have much left over when the just-started two-year budget cycle ends, Dayton administration officials say. A new report shows there will be $163 million left from the new $45 billion budget in two years (although money the state already has in the bank still could be there). And that is if things go well financially. Officials like Commissioner Myron Frans of Minnesota Management and Budget, the state finance agency, always want to pump up reserves in case the economy goes south, taking state revenues with it.
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—A controversial northern Minnesota oil pipeline is not about to become the site of a protest like that seen for months in North Dakota. At least not yet. "We are still quite a ways away from that," Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday, July 6. Others agree, but there are no guarantees that if Enbridge receives permission to replace its Line 3 pipeline that everything will remain calm up north.
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."