The federal subsidy for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, is going away at the end of this month. The subsidy has helped unemployed Minnesotans who chose to continue with their workplace health insurance plan stay covered during the COVID-19 pandemic. "So on September 30th, that subsidy is going to end and that means it's the perfect time for Minnesotans to come to MNsure and make certain they will be enrolled in comprehensive coverage where they can do it much more inexpensively than by continuing their coverage on their own." MNsure CEO Nate Clark says Minnesotans and their dependents currently [...]
Starting Thursday, Sept. 16 motorists will encounter a right lane closure on northbound Highway 169 along the Minnesota River south of Saint Peter as crews work to install riprap (rocks) to prevent erosion in this area, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Riprap will also be installed on southbound Highway 15 along the Cottonwood River south of New Ulm starting Monday, Sept. 27th requiring a closure of the right lane. The projects are expected to be complete by Oct. 30.
Representative Tim Miller of Prinsburg has introduced a so-called "heartbeat" abortion bill similar to the one going into effect in Texas. Miller says he has introduced his bill, modeled after one passed in Iowa, three times and plans to do so again in the next session, but he admits it has no chance of passage as long as Tim Walz is governor and the DFL party holds the majority in the House... The Heartbeat Bill would make it illegal to perform an abortion once a fetus heartbeat is detectable, usually after 6 weeks of pregnancy. Miller says the difference between his [...]
The leaves are beginning to turn colors across the state. Leann Kispert interim director of Explore Minnesota: "The fall colors this year might be a little bit unpredictable. Our friends over at Minnesota State Parks and Trails are saying because of the drought the time frames and color conditions might not necessarily be what we want." A few regions in the state are already reporting leaves at 25-to-50 percent peak. A fall color map can be found on Explore Minnesota's webpage or the DNR's.
Activists take to Zoom today (noon) to express frustration over deadlock at the legislature on COVID bonuses for front-line workers in Minnesota. They blame Republicans for not agreeing to the broader group of workers that Democrats propose. Republicans respond there's just 250 million dollars available, and to provide a meaningful bonus, only front-line workers exposed to the highest COVID risk should be included at this time. Another wrinkle: some Senate Republicans are talking about ousting Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, and Governor Tim Walz is reluctant to call a special session to approve COVID bonuses unless Republicans agree to leave Malcolm alone. [...]
Investigators from Minnesota and Wisconsin are trying to identify a suspect or suspects, and a motive, after four people from Saint Paul were found fatally shot in an S-U-V driven into a cornfield northwest of Menomonie, Wisconsin. Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd: "We can't suspect somebody locally of randomly killing four people from the Twin Cities. We are confident that this was a place that these victims were randomly brought to." The sheriff says they're still trying to figure out the validity of reports that a second dark-colored S-U-V was traveling with the vehicle in which the victims were found.
As of just past midnight, the Minnesota DNR removed fire restrictions in 14 counties as wildfire risk declines in northern Minnesota. "Most of the areas of Minnesota are receiving some rainfall on a regular basis and as we move into fall, we have shorter days, which lessens the drying that we get in the morning, and we have higher humidity, which gives us greater recovery at night." The DNR's Larry Himanga says the wildfire risk remains in the northeastern tip of Minnesota--so burning restrictions remain in effect for in Cook and Lake counties.
As the restaurant industry continues to try and bounce back from a year of government mandated restrictions in reaction to COVID-19, finding enough workers continues to be a barrier to that recovery. Kent Letnes operates two restaurants in the Twin Cities and is affiliated with more in greater Minnesota. "Staffing is definitely the biggest issue in the industry right now. Staffing and supply chain, but a lot of the supply chain issues are coming from staffing too." Letnes says none of his restaurants are what he would call "fully staffed" and many in the industry are facing even bigger worker gaps [...]
State lawmakers planned on a special session in mid-September to distribute 250 million dollars in COVID bonuses to Minnesota front-line workers. A special working group charged with making recommendations to the legislature has not announced an agreement, although some top lawmakers have said the panel is close. The issue is *which* front line workers would be eligible for bonuses. Democrats have been pushing for a broad group, arguing medical workers are not the only ones who have to report to work and be exposed to risk of COVID. Republicans respond, with 250 million dollars allotted, bonuses to be meaningful should go [...]
"Are you going to protect my reproductive rights? Ask them that question!" ...pro-choice activists addressing politicians, as they rallied Monday afternoon at the Minnesota Capitol against a Texas law banning abortions after six weeks, which they warn could also be attempted in Minnesota because the U-S Supreme Court let it stand in the Lone Star State. "There's a lot of work that needs to be done in Minnesota before we can get to the point where we actually restore protection like they've done in Texas." ...But Scott Fischbach with Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life says protecting life at conception is "where [...]