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—Farmers usually worry about the weather and how much they will be paid for crops and livestock, but this summer many have a bigger worry: What federal officials will do for—or to—them. Farm-state lawmakers who deal with federal agriculture policy every day can do nothing to relieve farmer concerns. "No one has any answers and no one knows what is going on because things change every day," said U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, who serves western Minnesota and is the top House agriculture Democrat. "Every single aspect of agriculture is up in the air."
WASHINGTON—Federal farm-state lawmakers say they are happy that final negotiations can begin on a farm bill that funds agriculture programs and food stamps. Senators passed their $428 billion farm bill 86-11 Thursday, June 28. The bipartisan vote contrasts with the House vote that narrowly passed last week with no Democratic support. U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., had said that the only good thing about the House bill's passage was that it paved the way for negotiations once the Senate passed its bill. He is the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee.
Communities outside of the Twin Cities look to capitalize on Super Bowl LII. A couple of Otter Tail County festivals and one in Duluth are timed to coincide with the Super Bowl, but state tourism officials say few other greater Minnesota events are connected directly with the game. However, hotels, motels and airports hope for a jump in business as the Twin Cities may not be able to accommodate all the activity.
MINNEAPOLIS—A side effect of any big event like the Super Bowl is sex trafficking. "We know that there's going to be a million-plus people coming into the Twin Cities," Minneapolis Police Sgt. Grant Snyder recently told a Minneapolis City Council committee. "Unfortunately, some of those people, and it has nothing to do with the Super Bowl, are going to engage in the purchase, or attempt to purchase, commercial sex."
MINNEAPOLIS—The Minnesota Vikings will not play in Super Bowl LII, but team officials say that merely hosting one in their home stadium will result in an off-field victory. "We will see the Vikings brand ... more prevalent than in any other host city," Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said, so Super Bowl television viewers will know that U.S. Bank Stadium is home to the Vikings.
MINNEAPOLIS—Jerry Williams and 10,000 other volunteers are ready to put Minnesota's best foot forward. The volunteers from around Minnesota will greet and help Super Bowl visitors for the 10 days leading up to the main event on Sunday, Feb. 4, with smiles on their faces and plenty of information to share. Williams, who retired as Rochester, Minn., school superintendent more than a decade ago, said that when he is at his downtown Minneapolis station he will jump into action "when I see people with that glazed-over look like, 'Where am I?'"
Opioid overdoses kill more Minnesotans than traffic accidents, and opioids are the leading drug killers.
WASHINGTON — Al Franken was one of the most recognized U.S. senators from the day he took office in 2009, thanks to fame he gained on the "Saturday Night Live" television show, and this year his political capital rose even more with Democrats across the country promoting him as a 2020 presidential candidate. But eight women came forward in the past three weeks alleging that Franken sexually harassed them, collapsing what had become a successful political career.
The announcement will be carried on all Forum Communication websites. U.S. Sen. Al Franken will address the Senate at 10:45 a.m. Central time today with what many say will be his resignation after sexual misconduct allegations.