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Farm Bureau takes annual leadership conference to South Dakota

By |2021-04-12T06:43:49-05:00April 12th, 2021|

This year's Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation leadership conference will cross the border into South Dakota. The bureau's annual LEAP Conference will be held in Sioux Falls on July 16th and 17th. Rachael Peterson with M-F-B says the move comes as part of a joint effort with the South Dakota Farm Bureau. "That’s giving us a great opportunity to add to our conference and have some different activities and speakers that we wouldn't normally have if we were just doing it on our own." Peterson says planning for the dual event started in 2019. The conference is designed as a networking opportunity [...]

Malcolm: Aside from periodic exceptions demand for vaccine remains higher than supply

By |2021-04-09T07:27:47-05:00April 9th, 2021|

This week the state topped more than 3-million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered. Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says that doesn't mean they're nearing a tipping point where demand for one of the various emergency use authorized vaccines has dipped. "I don't think we're close to that yet, perhaps in some demographics or in some particular pockets. But in general, we still have a lot of people eager to get the vaccine and we hope that eagerness frankly continues." Malcolm says there are instances where some vaccinators in the state reported needing less than their initial allocation because they have not filled all [...]

Top-income tax increase clears key MN House committee

By |2021-04-09T06:48:07-05:00April 9th, 2021|

Democrats as part of their state budget plan are moving forward with a tax bill, which Dilworth Representative Paul Marquart says... ..."provides over a billion dollars of tax cuts and aids to families and workers and businesses." But the money comes from a tax increase on top-income Minnesotans -- a non-starter in the GOP-controlled state Senate.   Republican Representative Greg Davids from Preston says with deep divisions between Democrats and Republicans there could be a state government shutdown in July: "I been doing this before a lot of members on this committee were born, and... at this time of year I [...]

Public safety funding bill with police reforms moves forward in MN House

By |2021-04-09T06:44:19-05:00April 9th, 2021|

A public safety funding bill that would also expand police reforms cleared a key committee late Thursday in the Democrat-controlled Minnesota House but faces opposition in the Republican-led Senate.   New Hope Representative Cedrick Frazier: "I'm never wanting to say that all cops are bad, but I am anti-bad-cops. And a lot of what I'm hearing is people are saying that we need to support law enforcement -- but it also seems at the expense of supporting bad law enforcement." Republicans warn the House public safety budget bill would put unfunded mandates on local law enforcement, automatically expunge numerous violent crimes, [...]

House Democrats move ahead with transportation bill, including gas tax

By |2021-04-09T06:30:15-05:00April 9th, 2021|

A transportation funding measure that would basically link the state's gasoline tax to inflation is moving toward a vote in the Minnesota House over Republican objections that it's a tax increase on working Minnesotans. Waseca Republican John Petersburg warns it's a blank check: "We need to hold agencies accountable for improvements, and we don't do that when everything is in auto-pilot." Minneapolis Democrat Frank Hornstein responds Republicans opposed any gas tax increase, so to move forward he suggested indexing: "And so now it's, well, a penny a year, we can't accept that, that's government on auto-pilot.... The only thing that is [...]

Key MN House panel to vote on proposed gas tax increase

By |2021-04-08T05:21:03-05:00April 8th, 2021|

A key committee in the Democrat-controlled Minnesota House votes this afternoon (1pm start) on a transportation funding package including a gas tax increase, which would index the fee at the pump to infrastructure construction costs. Hanska Republican Paul Torkelson objects the proposal was thrown in at the last minute with no chance for the public to review it or lawmakers to research it: "It's unconscionable. This is not the way the legislature is supposed to work." Bill sponsor, Minneapolis Democrat Frank Hornstein responds, with very few exceptions... ..."every single one of these provisions has been heard or introduced or is not [...]

Newly appointed education commissioner off and running

By |2021-04-08T05:19:28-05:00April 8th, 2021|

The Minnesota Department of Education has a busy summer ahead of them. Newly appointed Education Commissioner Heather Mueller says the goal is to help students recover from learning loss this year and transforming our education system for years to come. She says a large part of this summer will be working with the state's school districts to address what their needs are and how to approach them. "We know that this package is incredibly important because we want to maintain continuity for kids and their learning and provide opportunities not only when it comes to academics also in emotional health and [...]

Celebrity Chef Andrew Zimmern encourages all food service employees to get COVID Vaccination

By |2021-04-08T04:46:46-05:00April 8th, 2021|

Governor Tim Walz is teaming up with Twin Cities-based celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern in Minnesota's new campaign urging everyone working in the foodservice industry to get their COVID-19 vaccination: "Our industry has been asked to pivot more than anyone and creatively all the while the restaurant industry in America has represented the highest number of people on unemployment collectively as much as 25-percent at one point." Restaurant workers are the initial focus of the campaign, which is part of the broader statewide ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves, MN’ effort to connect frontline workers to the resources they need to get vaccinated at [...]

Key MN House committee to vote on proposed top-income tax increase

By |2021-04-08T04:43:13-05:00April 8th, 2021|

A bill to increase taxes on top-income Minnesotans will likely clear a key committee later today (1pm debate start) in the Democrat-controlled Minnesota House: The proposed legislation epitomizes deep differences between Democrats and Republicans, with about five-and-a-half weeks to the May 17th adjournment deadline for the regular session. If lawmakers haven't passed a new state budget by then which Governor Tim Walz can sign, he'll have to call them back to Saint Paul in late May or in June to avoid a state government shutdown on July 1st. House Democrats say wealthy Minnesotans and large corporations have done well during the [...]

Walz emergency powers cancellation in Senate G-O-P state budget bill

By |2021-04-07T06:56:11-05:00April 7th, 2021|

Senate Republicans are moving ahead with two controversial and high-profile measures as they begin assembling the next two-year state budget. One would cancel the governor's COVID emergency powers after 30 days unless both the Minnesota House and Senate agree to extend them -- something Democrats are unlikely to support. House Speaker Melissa Hortman: "If we can really knock COVID-19 on its ass, then the governor will have no further need to exercise the emergency power." The Senate bill would also provide 174-thousand dollars to repair and reinstall the Christopher Columbus statue on the State Capitol grounds that protesters toppled last summer. [...]

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