Forty-four Democratic state lawmakers are asking the Minnesota Historical Society to modify Fort Snelling's name to reflect the area's significance to Native Americans by including the word "bdote" which in the Dakotah language means the "place where two rivers meet." Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, says the Historical Society's listening sessions are critically important: "The people who were here before anyone else -- the Dakotah people in particular -- need to be acknowledged and valued, and my hope is that that is what happens throughout this process." The Historical Society is holding statewide [...]
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Jacob Wetterling abduction near St. Joseph in central Minnesota. After years of searching for answers, in September of 2016, 53-year-old Danny Heinrich of Annandale admitted to abducting, sexually assaulting and shooting Jacob Wetterling.
Amy Klobuchar's campaign is trumpeting what it calls her "trouncing" of President Trump in the latest Minnesota Poll by 17 points -- more than front-runner Democratic rivals Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. But Carleton College analyst Steven Schier says although Klobuchar is known and liked by Minnesotans... "I can tell you, being a native Iowan, that Iowa is a very different state than Minnesota. And you can't necessarily expect that you can translate popularity north of the border to Iowa, south of the border." Klobuchar's poll numbers are strongest in central-city Minneapolis and Saint Paul. She's locked in [...]
Governor Tim Walz says he does not plan to do what fellow Democratic Governor Tony Evers did in neighboring Wisconsin: call the legislature into special session without prior agreement on passing controversial anti-gun-violence measures. Walz says: "I've received little indication that there's much appetite in the Republican Senate to do anything on that, so at this point in time I don't think calling a special session would move us any further along -- but it's our intent certainly to continue to ask to come together on this." Walz and Evers are both pushing in their respective states for universal background checks [...]
Nearly a thousand traffic safety experts are meeting in St. Cloud tomorrow (WED) and Thursday for a Toward Zero Death conference. "We battle four primary causes of the vast majority of serious and fatal crashes, speed, distraction, impairment and that very small percentage of people who still don't put that seat belt on, if we can solve those, we can make remarkable progress." Mike Hanson with the Office of Traffic Safety says the two-day conference will focus on the recently enacted hands-free smartphone driving bill and teen driving. Since the Toward Zero Deaths campaign's start in 2003, the state’s annual number [...]
Lawmakers hear more pitches this week from projects vying for state bonding dollars. House members are in southeast Minnesota today (Mon) and tomorrow, while senators travel southwest on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Governor Tim Walz is pushing for a robust bonding bill next year: "We were told that we couldn't do bonding in an odd-numbered year, so now we're in an even-numbered year (in 2020). Makes no sense not to fix the roofs that need to be fixed." Democrats are talking about a bonding bill as large as three billion dollars -- double to triple the usual number. Republicans will likely [...]
A top political analyst says the latest Minnesota Poll, showing all major Democratic contenders with substantial leads over President Trump, does not eliminate the president's chances to still win Minnesota. Carleton College Professor Steven Schier says in this poll it's essentially Trump versus a "generic Democrat" in many people's minds: "A lot of details about the other Democratic candidates will be filled in during a campaign.... I can tell you, the Trump campaign will be filling in a lot of those details, and that could also tighten the race." Schier says if a liberal such as Elizabeth Warren were the Democratic [...]
The ACLU-Minnesota today filed a lawsuit against Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon to restore voting rights to tens of thousands of Minnesotans with felony convictions who are barred from voting while they are on supervision or probation. "Given the facts, we believe the current system, created by the legislature, violates the constitutional right of equal protection, due process and the fundamental right to vote." ACLU-MN attorney David McKinney. The suit's four plaintiffs are among 52,000 Minnesotans who are not allowed to vote based on their past convictions. The Secretary of State has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
It was a deadly weekend on Minnesota roads. At least six people were killed. Mike Hanson is with the Office of Traffic Safety: "Unbelted occupants still make up about a third of our fatalities and every one of those is completely preventable and does not have to happen if people make sure that every trip, every ride, every occupant always has that belt on." Hanson says Minnesota has a statewide seatbelt compliance rate of 93.4 percent.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is emphasizing the benefits of hiring people with disabilities this month. Governor Tim Walz proclaimed October "Employers Hiring People with Disabilities Month." "We were super excited, we had been working on that for a couple of months, so we were really grateful because that hasn't happened in the past." DEED Assitant Commissioner Carol Pankow says businesses already employing people with disabilities have reported clear benefits to their operations. "There's been some pretty incredible retention rates that they're seeing. They've found that when they're hiring people with disabilities that whole loyalty piece. so people [...]