Christopher Magan / St. Paul Pioneer Press
PAUL -- Minnesota’s opioid epidemic was more deadly than ever in Ramsey County last year, taking the lives of 72 people, a 16 percent increase over the year before. The urgent need to address the crisis came into sharp focus again Thursday, April 19, as law enforcement officials announced a counterfeit prescription drug containing the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl killed the rock star Prince in 2016.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota House Republicans released a supplemental budget plan Thursday, April 12, that they say continues on the theme of tax cuts and "common sense" spending they set last year. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, called 2017: "the most productive legislative session in modern history." This year's proposal puts $107 million of the state's projected $329 million budget surplus toward tax breaks that will realign Minnesota's tax code with recent federal changes.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota's new way of licensing teachers is stumbling before it even gets started, frustrating supporters of the sweeping overhaul passed last year to fix a flawed system. Education officials say without more time to put the right procedures in place, the new Professional Standards and Educator Licensing Board will struggle to issue teaching licenses when the law changes July 1. "It opens the state of Minnesota up to some potentially serious liability issues," said Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul. "We want the system to work."
ST. PAUL—Pharmacies across Minnesota are making it easier to get the opioid antidote naloxone that reverses drug overdoses. HealthPartners and Park Nicollet pharmacies announced Wednesday, March 21, that they have started providing naloxone to patients who have opioid prescriptions and are at high risk of an overdose.
ST. PAUL—How much control should government bureaucrats have over what's created with state money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund under the Minnesota Legacy Amendment? State Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston, thinks there needs to be more oversight after a Michigan State University professor used a $3,290 grant from the Legacy fund to design a video game meant to raise awareness about why indigenous groups oppose pipelines.
ST. PAUL—They came to the Minnesota Capitol frustrated and angry. Many cried as they told their stories; some struggled to hold back sobs of grief. "I don't have politically correct words to say what I've seen," Corey Tanner told a Senate committee investigating the abuse of seniors and vulnerable adults. His mother, Mildred, was mistreated in a memory-care facility.
ST. PAUL—State leaders say they've tackled more than three-quarters of the backlog of maltreatment complaints from seniors and vulnerable adults at long-term care facilities. Minnesota began 2018 with 3,147 reports of abuse and maltreatment that needed to be reviewed or investigated. An intense triage effort at the state Health Department's Office of Health Facility Complaints, OHFC, has knocked that number down to 712 complaints that still need to be resolved.
ST. PAUL — More Minnesotans are overdosing on opioids than ever before and the death toll from the drugs continues to climb. In 2016, there were more than 2,000 opioid overdoses and 395 of them were fatal. That's a more than 1,000 percent increase in overdoses and a 600 percent increase in fatalities since 2000.
ST. PAUL — Monica Rudolph is a survivor. She's been sober almost a year. Ryan Anderson didn't make it. He died of an overdose in December. Both became addicts by taking prescription opioids. Rudolph was prescribed the powerful painkillers after a car accident. Anderson obtained them illicitly to experiment recreationally. They both ended up hooked on heroin. Rudolph and Anderson sought treatment for their addictions and had different experiences.
ST. PAUL — The federal overhaul of the tax code that Congress approved in December could have serious consequences for Minnesotans depending on how state leaders react to the changes. In exchange for cutting tax rates and doubling the standard deduction for individuals and families, Congress modified or eliminated many popular credits, exemptions and deductions.