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.
- Member for
- 5 years 4 months
ST. PAUL—Kris Sundberg's story is tough to hear. Her father was in an assisted living center. Newspapers piled up outside his door and he did not go to the dining room for a week. Finally, a neighbor urged staff to check on him. Once they did, they found he was dead, apparently for seven days. It was so bad, Sundberg said, that a hazardous materials team had to clean the room before the family could remove belongings. Minnesota does not regulate assisted living facilities such as where her father lived.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's lieutenant governor, who says her main job is state senator, is being sued a second time for holding both positions. A constituent of Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, filed suit, saying the state Constitution clearly says that one person cannot hold offices in two branches of government. The lieutenant governor is in the executive branch with the governor, while a senator serves in the legislative branch as one of 201 lawmakers. Fischbach is Senate president.
ST. PAUL—No one argues about one aspect of a proposed change to the Minnesota Constitution. "If it goes forward, it will affect every single person in Minnesota," Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, said about his proposal to dedicate sales tax revenue collected on vehicle parts and repairs to road and bridge programs. The two sides argue how the proposal would affect Minnesotans. Newman says the amendment, which would go in front of the public at the Nov. 6 general election, would help all Minnesotans.
ST. PAUL—Shauna Reitmeier sat at a Minnesota Senate committee table telling lawmakers the bill they were considering would hurt mentally ill patients she serves. Sitting inches to her right Thursday, March 29, was Sen. Mark Johnson, author of the bill she pleaded that senators defeat. It would require some able-bodied people to work if they receive government-funded health care.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota farmers are committing suicide in numbers that rival the low days of agriculture during the 1980s farm crisis. "Unfortunately, there is no end in sight," Meg Moynihan of the state Agriculture Department told the House Agriculture Finance Committee Tuesday, March 27. Moynihan coordinates the Farm and Rural Helpline, (833) 600-2670, which provides rural residents a place to call when they experience mental health problems.
ST. PAUL—Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty took a major step forward to run for his old job on Monday, March 19, in announcing he filed campaign committee paperwork. That makes it all but certain the Republican is seeking the governor's office again. A written announcement he distributed, while refusing media interviews, follows a series of speeches in Minnesota that made it sound like he was running.
ST. PAUL—Democrats and Republicans are getting together to bolster Minnesota's response to serious lapses in care delivered to senior citizens. State legislation to be considered soon was written to improve care already regulated by the state and to require assisted-living and dementia care facilities be licensed. Gov. Mark Dayton said he will ask legislators to appropriate nearly $15 million to make improvements in the rest of the current two-year budget; then, $25 million would be needed in the following two years.
ST. PAUL—Some lawmakers fear state agencies will drain funds away from a lawsuit settlement with iconic Minnesota business 3M, which is accused of dumping dangerous chemicals in the southeastern Twin Cities. The state sued 3M for $5 billion, and last month settled on an $850 million payment to the state Department of Natural Resource and Pollution Control Agency. "My No. 1 concern is that the dollars being put into this fund are dollars that actually get out to projects on the ground in this area," Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau, said.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota officials say they are catching up on a backlog of cases alleging elderly people have been abused. Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm on Thursday, March 1, said all 2,321 cases that had piled up in the Office of Health Facilities Complaints have been reviewed. Of those, officials decided further investigations are needed for 89 cases. Those probes will be added to 430 investigations already underway. In December, 826 investigations were being conducted.
ST. PAUL — A former Olympic hockey player led the Minnesota Senate Monday, Feb. 27, in honoring the U.S. gold medal curling team. State Sen. David Tomassoni, D-Chisholm, and his colleagues gave Team Shuster a standing ovation. John Shuster, the skip of the team, learned how to curl a half block from Tomassoni's home, and Shuster's father and Tomassoni graduated together from Chisholm high school. "This is really a special gold medal, not only for Chisholm, but for the United States and myself," said Tomassoni, a player on Italy's 1984 Olympic hockey team.