Christopher Magan / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Is the Minnesota Legislature serious about giving the public more insight into how lawmakers decide how to spend their tax money? State Rep. Gene Pelowski hopes so. The Winona Democrat is leading a House special committee while the Legislature is out of session to explore ways to make lawmakers’ work more transparent to the public.
Minnesotans in assisted living facilities lost more than $117,000 to theft over the past five years, according to an analysis of state data. Eilon Caspi, a research associate at the University of Minnesota school of nursing, examined confirmed reports of theft between March 2013 and August 2018. He found 116 residents were victims of theft and $1,130 was the average amount lost by the 104 residents who provided that information to investigators.
Residents of the Twin Cities metro area are not the only ones whose health is affected by air quality. A new analysis by the Minnesota Department of Health found in 2013 that as many as 10% of deaths and 5% of hospital visits statewide were due in part to air pollution. That means polluted air played a role in up to 4,000 deaths, 800 visits to the emergency room and 500 hospital stays statewide. The “Life and Breath” report looked at the two main types of air pollution: fine particles and ground-level ozone. The 2013 data is the latest available.
ST. PAUL — A nearly 30-year-old tax on medical providers is at the center of increasingly tense negotiations between Democrats and Republicans for the next state budget. The 2% provider tax will sunset at the end of the year if lawmakers do nothing. It currently raises about $700 million for a Health Care Access Fund that is spent on a variety of programs to keep health care accessible and affordable.
Minnesotans know it’s impolite to brag, but that didn’t stop us in 2017 when trying to lure Amazon’s second North American headquarters to the Twin Cities. Instead of getting out taxpayers’ collective wallet to entice the online retail behemoth, state boosters tried more of a humble brag — Minnesota Nice. While other communities offered huge amounts of money — more than $1.5 billion in the case of New York City’s now infamous bid — to attract the retailer, Minnesota’s 122-page bid for the company, released Monday after months of secrecy, leaned heavily on the state’s quality of life as a s
Republicans in the Minnesota Senate hope to wipe out city-specific labor rules, like the $15 per-hour minimum wage, in the name of protecting the state’s economy. A provision in the Senate jobs, energy and commerce budget would stop cities from requiring higher minimum wages or sick time for workers that are different than what is already in state law. The proposal would be retroactive to 2017 and would undo minimum wage and other laws passed in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
ST. PAUL — Should the public know if a voter’s eligibility has been challenged? How about if they’ve been convicted of a felony? Secretary of State Steve Simon doesn’t think so and he’s planning to challenge his second legal defeat on the matter. But the Minnesota Voters Alliance says that type of information and other data the state collects would help prove voter fraud is more pervasive than many think.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota is one of 20 states suing President Trump’s administration to block a new rule that would bar Planned Parenthood and other federally funded health clinics from talking with patients about abortion. The lawsuit, filed in an Oregon U.S. District Court, alleges that a new “gag rule” imposed on recipients of federal Title X family planning funding is an overreach of power and will deprive women of “medically sound, unbiased and affordable health care.”
ST. PAUL — As many as 800,000 low- and middle-income Minnesotans could get free help filing their taxes, but don’t take advantage of it. Tax-preparation companies and nonprofits offer free software and services that nearly 65 percent of Minnesota taxpayers may qualify to receive. Services are income dependent and available across the state.
St. Paul -- Several Minnesota lawmakers think the state constitution needs an update. The 2019 legislative session is not even a month old, but there’s already a handful of bills in the Minnesota House and Senate to amend the state’s founding document. Several of them deal with enshrining gender equality in the state’s legal framework. The rest would make marijuana legal, protect against unwarranted digital searches, cut the size of the Legislature and impose term limits on those elected to serve there.