ST. PAUL — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz this week sent Senate Republicans a Wall Street Journal story highlighting the national business community's support for a federal gas tax increase. The Democrat on Tuesday, March 19, held a press conference in Anoka to highlight one of the most dangerous intersections in the state.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday, March 21, advanced a bill that would add protections against sexual harassment in the workplace. On a 113-10 vote, lawmakers approved a change that would add language to the Minnesota Human Rights Act clarifying that harassment does not need to be “severe or pervasive” before it can be deemed actionable in court. The high legal bar has kept cases from being heard and denied justice to people who've experienced harassment, supporters said.
ST. PAUL — Dozens of advocates on Thursday, March 21, brought their message to the Capitol: don't let the sun set on the health care provider tax. The 2 percent tax on medical providers funds MinnesotaCare, a health program for low-income people, and Medical Assistance, the state's version of Medicaid. It's slated to expire at the end of the year if lawmakers don't act.
ST. PAUL -- An evaluation of the potential environmental impact of an Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline construction project left out "the elephant in the room," the potential damage it could cause to the St. Louis River and Lake Superior. That's according to attorneys that appealed the impact statement, arguing it's inaccurate. They, along with attorneys defending Enbridge's assessment and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission's process, presented their oral arguments to the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Wednesday, March 20.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Senate leaders say debates about Minnesota school funding should include tax breaks for groups that fund private and parochial school scholarships. At a news conference on Tuesday, March 19, Republican lawmakers said they'd again bring forward a bill that would fund up to $35 million in tax credits for people and organizations that fund scholarships for low- and middle-income families to send their kids to nonpublic schools.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House of Representatives on Monday, March 18, prepared to take up a bill that would ban holding a cell phone while driving. The push for the ban followed unsuccessful efforts a year earlier to pass a similar proposal and after more than a dozen families who'd lost a loved one to distracted driving-related crashes lobbied for a change in the Legislature.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota saw an increase in deaths stemming from preventable causes in 2017 state data show, and officials said that should fuel a push for change at the Capitol. State officials reported higher rates of opioid-related deaths and suicide deaths in 2017 as compared to the year prior, the Minnesota Department of Health reported on Monday, March 18. The statistics are the most recent available.
ST. PAUL — Spring flooding across the state is imminent and potential damage could rival that caused by historic 1965 floods, which are remembered as the worst in a century in Minnesota. Warming weather and resulting snowmelt along with possible snow and rain in the next several weeks will determine just how vast the damage could be, national weather experts said Friday, March 15. And in the meantime, state and federal officials said they're preparing to get ahead of possible overflows.
ST. PAUL — A Minnesota Senate panel on Thursday, March 14, voted to outlaw abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, paving the way for the proposal to advance in the Legislature. The bill would ban abortions on women who are past 20 weeks in their pregnancy except in cases of possible death or serious physical harm. Risk of substantial and irreversible psychological or emotional conditions would not be included.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota farmers hit by catastrophic winter weather could access zero-interest disaster loans through the state. The Minnesota Senate unanimously approved a bill Thursday, March 14, that would let the Rural Finance Authority offer loans through the Disaster Recovery Loan Program to farmers who've faced damages from snow and ice. Minnesota farmers have endured years of low commodity and milk prices and extreme winter weather has worsened problems for some as barns and other structures have collapsed under the weight of snow and ice.