A coalition of Minnesota business owners is urging state lawmakers to modernize "outdated" 3.2 beer laws. Minnesota is the last remaining 3.2 beer state in the country since Utah ended its 3.2 product laws in 2019. Lance Klatt with the Minnesota Service Station and Convenience Store Association says it's time to move past a prohibition-era law... "Minnesota convenience stores, grocery stores, resorts and other small businesses selling 3.2 beer are losing sales and customers as a result of dwindling availability as many manufacturers have ceased production or limited sizes of production runs." Business owners say Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota have [...]
Minnesota House Democrats are pushing ahead with bills for paid family and medical leave, plus sick time for all Minnesota workers -- measures that will meet resistance in the GOP-controlled Minnesota Senate. Duluth Democrat Liz Olson says employers would be required to provide a certain amount of "sick and safe time": "Your kid is sick, you have to stay home, you have a well-child visit -- those types of things. They're gonna be shorter instances -- where paid family and medical leave is going to be the longer-term absences, like you adopt a child, someone in the family is at [...]
Senate Republicans and a prominent Independent want businesses to *not* have to pay state tax on emergency COVID loans (Paycheck Protection Program) they got from the federal government. A top House Democrat, Representative Paul Marquart from Dilworth, says about that: "It's an important part, but you can't just do that all on its own." Marquart says *workers* also should not pay taxes on unemployment benefits. Senator Tom Bakk (BOCK) from Cook responds the state has a finite amount of money for tax relief -- and has needs in K-12 education, health and human services, transportation and other areas... "We can not [...]
Minnesota Senate Republicans are pushing to phase-out Governor Tim Walz's COVID moratorium on evictions -- after testimony Tuesday from landlords' groups about large amounts of unpaid rent that put building owners in tough financial straits. Senator Julie Rosen from Vernon Center supports the bill: "Putting something out there for the industry to hang on, 'cause it sounds to me like they're barely hanging on." But Sue Watlov Phillips with the group MICAH cautioned lawmakers when people are evicted, the first place they go is to move in with other family or friends: "And we are very concerned about the COVID-19, especially [...]
Minnesota law enforcement is conducting an extended campaign to keep speedy drivers off the road. "Speed is out of control and we're really seeing that not only in what our law enforcement partners are telling us that they're seeing out there, but we're also seeing large spikes in our crash data that is all speed attributed." Mike Hanson with the Office of Traffic Safety already in 2021 at least 13 people have died as a result of speeding. And so far, 114 citations have been issued to drivers going 100 miles per hour or more--compared to 59 this time last year.
The state of Minnesota is providing further clarity on who will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in future phases of the statewide rollout. "We have added type 1 diabetes to the list of qualifying conditions. So it is now both type one and type two diabetes. And for essential workers, two additional groups have been added to the third tier of phase one b, public health workers and judicial system workers." Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says this guidance will only come into play once they have completed the "phase 1-a" vaccinations. "We will continue this work and we won't be [...]
Republicans say the state Senate will pass a bill to exempt businesses from paying state taxes on loans they received under the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Rochester Senator Carla Nelson says unless the legislature acts, Minnesota will tax businesses for emergency loans that were forgiven: "To keep their employees employed, keep the paychecks going out -- even though there were no customers." Dilworth Democrat Paul Marquart, chair of the House Tax Committee, says any package must also exempt unemployment insurance benefits from state income tax, so workers get relief during the COVID pandemic as well as businesses.
A new report shows that for the first time since the Better Business Bureau (BBB) began reporting data, consumers ages 18-24 suffered the highest median losses--$150--to scams in 2020. Previously, older age groups consistently lost higher median dollar amounts to scammers year over year. "And more than 46,000 reports were submitted into Scam Tracker in 2020, that's a 25% increase from the previous year." The BBB's Bao Vang says online purchase scams were the most common scam reported to the BBB--making up just over 38-percent of all scam reports. Pet and PPE-related online purchase scams also spiked during the pandemic.
March is "Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month". Health officials say colorectal cancer is the nation’s number two cancer killer--but it is up to 95% preventable with proper screening. "Especially when it's caught in its earliest stages, colorectal cancer is up to 90% survivable when caught in stage 1 or 2, that percentage drops quite significantly by the time you get to stage four when we have only 14% survival rate for five years." Erin Peterson with the Minnesota Colon Cancer Coalition is urging anyone who's eligible to get screened and says there are a variety of ways to do so, including non-invasive [...]
Top officials say law enforcement is continuously monitoring for sources of trouble and is prepared to keep the peace while respecting First Amendment rights, when the first of the George Floyd officer trials get underway in just six days Michael Paul, special agent-in-charge of the F-B-I's Minneapolis office: "While I can't discuss specific intelligence assets or investigative methods or means, I can tell you the F-B-I is leveraging significant resources to ensure the safety and security of everyone involved in the trials." State Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington says there will be none of what he calls "silos" -- that all [...]