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Construction season brings cone zone reminder

By |2021-04-12T08:25:55-05:00April 12th, 2021|

This week MN-DOT announced their slate of projects for the 2021 construction season, and with it a reminder to drives to stay aware of the cone zone. Transportation Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher says in the last six years work zone traffic crashes led to 49 deaths. "And more than 4900 people were injured. Please slow down, put the phone away, keep your eyes on the road and look out for our crews." Anderson-Kelliher says you can easily know what construction you may encounter on your route by using Minnesota 5-1-1 on your computer or smartphone before you hit the road.

MN House Democrats unveil $1B bonding proposal

By |2021-04-12T08:24:16-05:00April 12th, 2021|

Minnesota House Democrats last night (Sun) unveiled their roughly one-billion-dollar bonding bill for state public works projects -- double what Governor Tim Walz proposed, and on the heels of last year's record-breaking 1.9-billion-dollar bonding package. House Speaker Melissa Hortman says "needs are still great" across Minnesota and investments are important to get the state's post-COVID economy moving.   Senator Tom Bakk, Cook Independent who chairs the Senate Bonding Committee, has a different view: "We've got all of this federal money... coming in, one-time money. I don't know why we would borrow." Bakk says he wants to minimize the amount of borrowing, and [...]

Health officials concerned about vaccination numbers among nursing home workers

By |2021-04-12T07:19:55-05:00April 12th, 2021|

State health officials remain concerned that, at last check, only 55 percent of nursing home workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says a national effort is underway in the long term care industry to encourage staff to get vaccinated: "Certainly unions have a role to play, the employers themselves as well as leaders from the different communities or interest groups that these staff come from." SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley says the union is "strongly recommending" its members be vaccinated and has had a number of informational forums: "We're gonna keep strongly advocating for our members [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

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