The new chair of the Minnesota Senate Agriculture, Broadband, and Rural Development Committee expects members to work well together this session. D-F-L Senator Aric Putnam of St. Cloud says it's something he's been really "intentional" and "deliberate" about: "I won't hear a bill unless it's bipartisan. We won't even be having conversations about stuff unless everyone is on the same page. And so far that's the way it's been working out." Putnam says people in government kind of learn from farmers to "focus on the problem and shut up about the other stuff." He says one of the goals is to [...]
A bill passed by the House Public Safety Committee would require Minnesotans to report a stolen or lost firearm within 48 hours. Monica Jones of St. Paul lost her son, Daquan, to an accidental shooting in 2019: "The owner of this gun has still not been held accountable. The gun was not properly stored. There was no report made that it was lost or stolen." Republican Representative Patricia Mueller of Austin responds," a person who loses or has their gun stolen didn't do anything wrong": "The bills that you are bringing forward have good intentions and I understand what you're trying [...]
A quick look at what's on the agenda today (Mon) at the Minnesota Capitol: There's likely the final hearing before a not-yet-scheduled vote in the full Minnesota House on a bill that would repeal a number of abortion restrictions that Minnesota courts have struck down but which are still on the books -- including parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion, and requiring medical care be given to a fetus born alive due to an unsuccessful abortion. There are hearings in the Senate today (Mon)on paid family and medical leave and on legalizing recreational marijuana. And the House votes later [...]
Governor Tim Walz could sign a bill as soon as tomorrow (Tues) that requires 100 percent of Minnesota's electricity come from carbon-free sources by 2040, (meaning Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power would have to drop coal and natural gas 10 years earlier than planned.) North Mankato Democratic Senator Nick Frentz says: "We have not dealt with climate change effectively as a state and as a country and as a planet, frankly, and the things that they told us were gonna happen 30 years ago are happening right now." Republicans warn of skyrocketing electricity prices and "rolling blackouts" if technology can't deliver [...]
Senator Tina Smith has introduced a bill (Jobs Protection Act) that would expand access to family and medical leave for Minnesotans: "These are people that work for smaller companies or people who have maybe two or sometimes three part-time jobs and haven't been covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act before, that's upwards of 40% of American workers." Since its initial passage in 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act has offered important protections for American workers, but Smith says the time is now to update this legislation to meet the needs of the modern workforce.
U-S Senator Amy Klobuchar continues to go after Ticketmaster/Live Nation for alleged anti-competitive practices. The Minnesota Democrat tells CBS "Sunday Morning" they control 70 percent of the big concert ticket market and now "they've actually started buying arenas:" "But for the arenas that they don't own, they tend to lock in on three or five or seven-year contracts so those arenas are boxed out of using competitors. So picture this...there they are with the monopoly on the ticketing, then they've go the promotion, and then they've got the arenas." Klobuchar chaired a Senate anti-trust subcommittee hearing in response to Ticketmaster's botched [...]
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 -- [...]
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 [...]
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.
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 [...]