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MN Senate passes 2040 carbon-free electricity bill, sends to governor

By |2023-02-03T05:46:04-06:00February 3rd, 2023|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

100-percent of Minnesota's electricity will have to be carbon-free by 2040, under legislation the Minnesota Senate passed just before midnight and sent to Governor Tim Walz, who has said he'll sign it.  Pine City Republican Jason Rarick says Minnesota utilities will have no negotiating leverage, if they have to buy "renewable energy credits" from other states to meet the goal: "We know that's what is going to end up happening, and it is gonna drive prices through the roof." Electric utilities will have to stop using coal and natural gas a decade earlier than Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power planned -- [...]

MN House passes bill to restore felons’ voting rights after prison time completed

By |2023-02-03T05:41:56-06:00February 3rd, 2023|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

Democrats in the Minnesota House last night (Thurs) passed a bill to restore voting rights for felons who have served their jail or prison time.  Sponsor, New Hope Democrat Cedrick Frazier: "They are our neighbors, our friends.... They have jobs.  They help take care of their families.  They pay taxes, but in our representative government, they are deprived of the foundational right to vote." Republicans say felons' voting rights should not be restored until they've finished probation and paid all fines, fees and court-ordered restitution. Cambridge Representative Brian Johnson told Democrats the victims live with consquences every day from the acts [...]

Flu Activity Slowing in Minnesota

By |2023-02-03T05:11:23-06:00February 3rd, 2023|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

The flu season appears to be waning in Minnesota.  The latest update from the State Department of Health shows 19 people were hospitalized with influenza last week, down from 32 the previous week.  Seven Minnesota schools and one long-term care facility reported flu outbreaks.  There were four more flu-related deaths for a total of 142 since October. State health officials were hoping for an early peak in this year's flu season.

Bill awaiting vote in MN Senate would protect officers who call out bad behavior by fellow officers

By |2023-02-02T05:49:38-06:00February 2nd, 2023|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

A bill that would prohibit retaliation against peace officers who intercede or report when a fellow officer uses excessive force, awaits a vote in the full Minnesota Senate after clearing a key committee today (Wed).  Retired Saint Paul Police Officer Lucia Wroblewski, on the beat for 28 years in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood, told lawmakers: "Cops ...need to know that they can call out bad behavior when they see it." The Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board votes next week on a rule change that would allow the board to remove an officer's license if that person saw another officer using [...]

MN Senate to vote on goal of 100 percent carbon-neutral electricity production by 2040

By |2023-02-02T05:48:03-06:00February 2nd, 2023|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

One-hundred percent carbon-neutral electricity production in Minnesota by 2040 -- the goal in a bill the Minnesota Senate votes on today (11am floor debate start).  North Mankato Senator Nick Frentz says: "We are not telling investor-owned utilities, rural electric co-ops, municipal electric how to get to a hundred percent.  They have the ability to plan for themselves." Opponents warn technology isn't ready.  House G-O-P Minority Leader Lisa Demuth says families will be hit with a 16-hundred dollar increase on their electric bills in one year.  And Waconia Republican Jim Nash says: "I don't want Minnesota to be a blackout state -- [...]

MN House to vote on restoring voting rights for felons who have completed their prison terms

By |2023-02-02T05:46:11-06:00February 2nd, 2023|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

Restoring voting rights to felons who have served their prison time -- one of Democrats' signature initiatives for the 2023 legislative session -- is up for debate and a vote this afternoon (330pm start) in the Minnesota House.  The bill cleared its final committee Monday, chief author Cedrick Frazier from New Hope contending... "Individuals that are back in their communities, individuals that are working jobs, that are paying taxes, helping take care of their families -- as we've already deemed them safe to be back in the community, the one thing they're missing (is) to fully participate in our electoral process." [...]

House Ag Committee Chair Encouraged by Walz Budget

By |2023-02-02T05:43:39-06:00February 2nd, 2023|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

The chair of the Minnesota House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee is encouraged by the budget proposed by Governor Walz. Representative Samantha Vang says one of the recommendations is more funding for Ag BMP loans: "These are loans to support projects and practices to protect our air and water." Vang says there are also dollars for biofuels and Minnesota’s Rural Finance Authority: "With the increasing demand and popularity, they need more capacity to make sure they process these loans quicker and respond to the needs of farmers in a timely manner." The Governor’s budget proposal also includes investments in meat processing, [...]

Bill introduced at legislature to allow sports betting at Indian casinos, horse tracks, pro-sports stadiums

By |2023-02-01T06:34:19-06:00February 1st, 2023|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

Minnesota's eleven tribes, two horse tracks and all pro-sports teams could offer sports betting on-site, under a bill unveiled today by Republican Senator Jeremy Miller from Winona.  Efforts last year for sports betting only at Native American casinos fell apart at the end of session, and Miller says: "I don't think there are enough Democrat or Republican votes to pass a tribal exclusivity bill." Tribes could also have mobile sports betting, and/or partner with a pro sports team or horse track to offer it.  The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, representing nine tribal nations, says "tribes are best positioned to provide this [...]

Democrats continue pushing additional measures now that abortion rights are in state law

By |2023-02-01T06:30:39-06:00February 1st, 2023|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

Now that the "fundamental right" to abortion in is Minnesota law, Democrats continue pushing two related measures -- one of which would repeal a number of state laws that various courts struck down over several decades but which remain on the books.  House Speaker Melissa Hortman said Tuesday: "I believe both of those bills will be on the floor of the Minnesota House in the second week of February." Among the laws Democrats want to repeal:  parental notification for minors seeking an abortion... regulation of abortion facilities by the state Health Department... state-mandated information that women must receive at least 24 [...]

Final Listening Session Held on Proposed Merger of Fairview Health/Sanford Health

By |2023-02-01T05:50:28-06:00February 1st, 2023|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

Members of the Minnesota Attorney General's office held a final listening session Tuesday night in Grand Rapids regarding the proposed merger of Fairview Health and Sanford Health.  University of Minnesota Physicians C-E-O Bevan Yueh (BEV-un HEW) proposed more time to decide what part the Physician's school would play.  A group of U of M medical students asked how the hospital would work around South Dakota's restrictions on women's health under Minnesota's recent unrestricted law.  Sanford Health CEO Bill Gassen offered some promises: "The affiliation agreement will continue to be governed by a local Minnesota-based board and the university will continue to [...]

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