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Walz Bonding proposal includes 221.4 million in DNR investments

By |2022-01-27T06:56:52-06:00January 27th, 2022|

The final piece of the Walz-Flanagan bonding proposal includes 221.4 million dollars in DNR investments. Commissioner Sarah Strommen: "The largest element of the proposed bonding investments for the DNR is 110.8 million to care for existing assets including buildings, water, and wastewater systems, roads, trails, and bridges. Public water access sites and water control structures." The proposal also includes 42 million in funding for climate adaptation and mitigation, along with drought relief.

Public safety, education, tax relief are MN Senate GOP’s top priorities for 2022 session

By |2022-01-27T05:30:52-06:00January 27th, 2022|

Minnesota Senate Republicans say their top priorities for the fast-approaching 2022 session are public safety and education -- plus major tax relief: "The proposal from the governor is insulting.  It barely covers the monthly cost of diapers in my house." ...Chanhassen Senator Julia Coleman.  Majority Leader Jeremy Miller from Winona says Republicans will roll out details of their plan in the next couple of weeks: "You can expect a very large tax relief package coming from the Senate Republicans." The state has a big budget surplus and Senate Republicans are drawing sharp battle lines with Governor Tim Walz.  He and fellow [...]

Walz rolls out anti-crime package much different from Senate Republicans’

By |2022-01-27T05:29:51-06:00January 27th, 2022|

300 million dollars over three years -- a quarter-million dollars annually for an average city -- what Governor Tim Walz proposes to help fight the crime wave in Minnesota.  He also wants 45 million dollars for various community-based programs, including community policing -- much different from Senate Republicans who are focusing on more police and tougher sentences: "We will put forward proposals to hold violent criminals accountable for their actions." ...says Majority Leader Jeremy Miller.  The governor responds accountability needs to be part of it, but... "We've been down this round before in this country, that if it's simply about higher [...]

MN Senate GOP: Focus on basics in public school classrooms

By |2022-01-27T05:28:38-06:00January 27th, 2022|

Concentrate on basics in Minnesota public school classrooms, say state Senate Republicans as they outline top priorities for the soon-to-begin 2022 legislative session.  Senator Roger Chamberlain from Lino Lakes says the state shouldn't throw money at new programs until there's full reading proficiency for every student: "They need to be in school, they need normal structure, they need their friends, they need the schools -- and they need to be out of masks." But will Chamberlain introduce a bill to ban any mask mandates in Minnesota schools? "No.  No.  We're focused on... the test scores.   We're focused, all our effort, on [...]

Another push by Republicans this year to eliminate all state tax on Social Security benefits regardless of income

By |2022-01-27T05:26:11-06:00January 27th, 2022|

Another round this year in a perennial battle at the Minnesota Legislature.  Majority Leader Jeremy Miller says: "Senate Republicans will make it a priority to repeal the tax on Social Security income.  No more taxes on Social Security income." Democratic Governor Tim Walz responds 60 percent of Minnesota recipients pay zero tax on their Social Security benefits and 80 percent pay on only a small portion -- so Republicans he says want to remove a tax on millionaires: "When they're saying, boy, you're taking grandma's Social Security money and taxing it.  If grandma's making a couple million dollars a year in [...]

Walz renews push to legalize recreational marijuana, virtually no chance in GOP-controlled Senate

By |2022-01-27T05:24:49-06:00January 27th, 2022|

Governor Tim Walz is renewing his push to legalize recreational marijuana in Minnesota, even though it has almost zero chance of passing the Republican-controlled state Senate, particularly in an election year.  Walz says about recreational cannabis that he's "not encouraging people to do this", any more than over-indulging in alcohol  -- but prohibition hasn't worked: "It's taken huge amount of police resources away from things that they should be doing, of fighting violent crime, and it's had a disproportionate impact on communities of color." Opponents say legalizing recreational marijuana will make Minnesota roads and workplaces less safe.  Ryan Hamilton with the [...]

DFL Chair hopes rule changes brings more people into caucus process

By |2022-01-27T05:23:52-06:00January 27th, 2022|

A rule change by the Minnesota D-F-L will now allow people ineligible to vote to participate in the party's caucusing process. A group that includes non-citizens, ex-felons who have completed prison terms and those on probation can now hold positions within the party organization, vote for party leadership and help shape the platform of the D-F-L. "These are people who are already contributing in so many valuable ways, but not able to have that right to participate in this most important part of democracy, the selection of the candidates and the shaping of our party's values and party platform." D-F-L Party [...]

New FSA director, looks forward to new role

By |2022-01-26T05:41:19-06:00January 26th, 2022|

The new Minnesota Farm Service Agency director looks forward to working through pandemic-related challenges to effectively deliver programs that help farmers succeed.  Whitney Place, who most recently was an assistant commissioner with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, says offices are doing what they can to be accessible: "I know it’s frustrating for some folks who can’t get into their offices, but it’s a priority to keep all of our staff safe and our customers safe. So we’re working through all those issues and have been for a while to make sure that we’re available via phone or email." Place says conservation [...]

Gov Walz rolls out $5.1 billion family-student budget plan

By |2022-01-26T05:38:06-06:00January 26th, 2022|

Governor Tim Walz today announced a $5.1 billion plan to support Minnesota children and families. Walz's proposal would expand pre-kindergarten throughout the state for 23,000 kids. The plan also calls for a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program... "Families shouldn't have to choose with being home with a sick child, or being able to be there on leave the birth of their child to spend those incredible first weeks and months of bonding together." The plan would invest an additional two percent on the general education formula and reduce cross-subsidies for special education and English language learners. And the governor's [...]

MN Rental Assistance Program running out of money, no applications accepted after 9pm Friday

By |2022-01-26T05:30:43-06:00January 26th, 2022|

Minnesota Housing Agency officials announced that the state's emergency rental assistance program, set up in response to the COVID pandemic, will not be accepting any more applications after 9pm Friday (1/28) because the program is running out of federal funds.  Democratic Representatives Alice Hausman from Saint Paul and Michael Howard from Richfield are calling on the governor, House and Senate to work together to provide assistance for renters.  Hausman says: "The eviction moratorium helped for a little while, the eviction notice (requirement) helped for a little while, but this isn't going to go away.  This is going to be with us." [...]

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