PLATO, Minn. — Gov. Tim Walz on Monday, Sept. 16 signed an executive order establishing a Minnesota Biofuels Council, a body that will assess growth opportunities in the industry and advise the administration on potential policy changes. Surrounded by agriculture officials at a farm an hour outside the capital, the first-term governor said the state needs to take the lead in discovering new uses for Minnesota corn and expand ones that have been successful.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota homebuilders urged lawmakers on Tuesday, Sept. 10, to probe the way cities and counties collect inspection fees, alleging some have illegally used the source the revenue as a "cash cow" for local projects at the expense of homeowners.
ST. PAUL — The state's infamous vehicle licensing and registration system is set to get the boot. And with a replacement set to roll out over the next two years, state lawmakers on Monday, Sept. 9, said they were hopeful about the fresh start. Lawmakers and IT experts on the Legislative Driver and Vehicle Systems Oversight Committee got an update from state public safety and IT officials as well as the new contractor set to run the replacement for MNLARS, the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System.
ST. PAUL — Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead held up a granite plaque that read "trustworthy" and set it before her as she stared down more than a dozen lawmakers before her in a crowded hearing room. On her second day in the new position, Harpstead, a former Lutheran Social Services and Medtronic executive, committed to delving into the goings-on at the state's troubled social services agency that takes in more than $18 billion every two years.
ST. PAUL — The U.S. Census Bureau is looking to hire thousands of census takers, supervisors, clerks and recruiting assistants later this year ahead of the 2020 census. Rather than driving for a ride-hailing service, those working for the Census Bureau hope they can convince Minnesotans, along with people all over the country, to apply to help count all those living in the United States next year.
ST. PAUL — Cities, counties and townships that charge building fees on new homes banked $78 million more than what they needed for inspection costs over the last five years, a study released Tuesday, Aug. 20, showed. The fees are supposed to offset the cost of the inspection expenses at the municipal level. But affordable housing advocates and state lawmakers worry that gap could be a key factor in why the cost of a new home has become out of reach for many Minnesotans.
PIERRE, S.D. — Noem administration officials on Monday, Aug. 19, warned South Dakota lawmakers of the implications of legalizing industrial hemp while officials running pilot programs in Montana and North Dakota said their efforts had gone off without a hitch. As legislators met for an Industrial Hemp Summer Study meeting, they got a strong message of warning from Gov. Kristi Noem and officials in her Cabinet along with hundreds of questions they ought to answer as they move forward.
ST. PAUL — Advocates pushing for emergency access to insulin sent a clear message to Minnesota lawmakers on Wednesday, Aug. 14: get it done. The human toll of delaying the approval of the program that would provide a free short-term supply of insulin to Minnesotans with Type 1 diabetes who couldn't afford it is mounting, they said, and it will continue to grow with no legislative intervention.
ST. PAUL — The state shouldn't look to the Legislature to help it pay a $25 million bill to the federal government, the chair of a key committee said Tuesday, Aug. 13. Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and she said lawmakers shouldn't have to allocate $25 million in additional funds to cover overpayments to two tribes.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Monday, Aug. 12, announced his pick to lead the Department of Human Services following top-level turnover there in recent weeks. Walz at a news conference said Jodi Harpstead would take over as DHS commissioner beginning Sept. 3. Harpstead serves as president and CEO of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and has a background working in senior leadership ranks at Medtronic.