ST. PAUL -- Republicans in the Minnesota House of Representatives said the state needs to do more to detect, prevent and investigate fraud in the state's child care assistance program. At a news conference on Monday, March 25, GOP lawmakers presented a package of bills they plan to move forward that would increase penalties for committing fraud and block those who've abused the program from re-enrolling.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota House Democrats want to grow the state budget to boost funding for education, health care and road and bridge repairs. The plan will require an "aggressive" change to the state's tax laws, a 20 cent per gallon increase on the tax on gasoline and the retention of a 2 percent tax on medical providers, Democratic leaders said Monday, March 25.
ST. PAUL -- A proposal to ban holding a cell phone while driving in Minnesota remains on track to become law. The Minnesota Senate on Monday, March 25 voted 56-10 to advance House File 50 with an amendment that would exempt those who place a phone to their ear using a scarf, hijab or another article of clothing from the penalty. Families who'd lost loved ones to distracted-driving-related crashes cheered from the Senate galleries at the result. The group spent years urging change at the Capitol.
ST. PAUL -- Members of the Minnesota Senate re-wrote their rules on harassment and discrimination for the first time in almost two decades. The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration on Monday, March 25, voted unanimously to advance changes to the body's non-discrimination and harassment policies. The vote allowed the rules to take effect immediately, replacing ones in place since 1990.
ST. PAUL -- An evaluation of the potential environmental impact of an Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline construction project left out "the elephant in the room," the potential damage it could cause to the St. Louis River and Lake Superior. That's according to attorneys that appealed the impact statement, arguing it's inaccurate. They, along with attorneys defending Enbridge's assessment and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission's process, presented their oral arguments to the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Wednesday, March 20.
ST. PAUL — Spring flooding across the state is imminent and potential damage could rival that caused by historic 1965 floods, which are remembered as the worst in a century in Minnesota. Warming weather and resulting snowmelt along with possible snow and rain in the next several weeks will determine just how vast the damage could be, national weather experts said Friday, March 15. And in the meantime, state and federal officials said they're preparing to get ahead of possible overflows.
ST. PAUL -- Fraud exists in the state's child care assistance program, but investigators can't put a number on just how much it has cost taxpayers. The nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor on Wednesday, March 13, released a report that showed some level of fraud exists in the program aimed at helping low-income people afford childcare, but they can't substantiate a claim that that fraud came out to $100 million.
ST. PAUL -- A group of Minnesota lawmakers doesn't want taxpayers to foot the bill for the state's appeal of the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline construction project. A Senate panel on Tuesday, March 12, passed a bill that would prevent the Minnesota Department of Commerce from putting state funds toward an appeal of the construction project. The proposal comes after the Walz administration last month announced that it would renew an appeal of the pipeline replacement project planned for northern Minnesota.
ST. PAUL -- Dozens of stakeholders cast opposing predictions Tuesday, March 12, about what the passage of a proposal to bring Minnesota's electric sector to 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2050 would mean for the state. At the bill's first hearing, supporters said the plan could help curb the impacts of climate change in Minnesota while opponents said it would pose a "first-order threat" to the stability of the state's electric grid.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Senate on Monday, March 11, advanced a proposal to keep subsidizing health insurance companies for three years, setting up a conflict with Gov. Tim Walz and Democrats. The proposal would maintain the reinsurance program, which lets the state absorb some of the expense to private health insurers to offset the cost of care for some of the pricier claims they cover.