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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WASHINGTON — Tina Smith raised her right hand and swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution, replacing Minnesota U.S. Sen. Al Franken after a series of allegations that he engaged in sexual misconduct. She took her oath at 11:04 a.m. Central time Wednesday, Jan. 3, becoming the 22nd female senator. That is a record number of women serving at the same time in the 100-member body. Smith was sworn in along with Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat elected in a special election last month.
Drug addicts may be able to partially blame their ancestors. "Genetics has a huge amount to do with who has a problem and who ends up getting addicted," said Dr. Sheila Specker, a University of Minnesota psychiatrist.. While genetics may not push someone into opioids instead of, say, cocaine, they can be a factor in just being hooked. Doctors cannot predict who will be most vulnerable to addiction, Specker said. Some people can take an opioid or other drug and not be affected, while others declare: "This is great, I feel wonderful."
Opioid overdoses kill more Minnesotans than traffic accidents, and opioids are the leading drug killers.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Al Franken's office says he will make an announcement on Thursday, Dec. 7, a day after women colleagues called for him to resign. While speculation was that the Minnesota Democrat would resign as allegations of sexual misconduct piled up, his office gave no indication about what his announcement would be or where it would come. Franken apparently has not been in Minnesota since allegations began a week before Thanksgiving. Several women say he inappropriately touched them during USO tours, at the Minnesota State Fair and in a radio studio.
ST. PAUL -- A former Minnesota woman says U.S. Sen. Al Franken grabbed her buttocks while her husband was taking their photo at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair. Lindsay Menz, who now lives in Texas, said on Twitter: "In August 2010, @alfranken grabbed me while taking a photo together at the Minnesota State Fair. I felt violated & embarrassed." Tweeting to radio host Leeann Tweeden, she added: "I 100% believe your account of him & his actions, ... Thank you for sharing your story."
WASHINGTON -- Republican-written federal health care legislation that appeared lacking enough votes to pass is proof a bipartisan effort is needed to fix the issue, U.S.Sen. Amy Klobuchar told a national audience. "Put politics aside and put the people first," the Minnesota Democrat said during a 90-minute CNN health care legislation debate with three Senate colleagues Monday night, Sept. 25. Klobuchar used her national pulpit to urge bipartisan work to fix the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
Ann Daley needs to know the "full skinny" about what is happening in her community. So she turns to her local newspaper for everything from city council decisions to where there is a taco feed. "It is local events that I like to know about," the 86-year-old woman said about what she has found in the Bemidji Pioneer since she and her husband moved the community in 1976.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton collapsed during his State of the State speech Monday night, Jan. 23, but after a few minutes walked away with help. An hour later, he was playing a puzzle with his grandson at his official state residence. "He quickly recovered, walked out of the Capitol, and returned home," his chief of staff, Jaime Tincher, said an hour and a half after the incident. "EMTs joined the governor there, and performed a routine check. He is now spending time with his son and grandson."
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota House Taxes Committee chairman is tired of dealing with Wisconsin about income taxes. So Chairman Greg Davids, R-Preston, drew up a provision he plans to insert into his tax bill this year that would reimburse Minnesotans who pay higher taxes working in Wisconsin than if they worked in Minnesota. For decades, the states had an agreement that made tax time simpler — and in many cases cheaper — for people living in one state and working in the other, but efforts to reinstate that have failed.
The Line 3 pipeline would replace a nearly 60-year-old one. The new one would run either in the same area of the existing pipeline or along other utility corridors.