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ST. PAUL — Minnesotans could bypass the permit process to carry a gun if a House bill became law. Another bill would eliminate the legal requirements to retreat before implementing deadly force for self-defense outside the home. House Public Safety Chairman Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, will consider both bills while drafting his overall public safety legislation. Testifiers addressed a House public safety committee on both bills in a packed meeting room Wednesday, March 8.
ST. PAUL — Three sexual assault survivors told Minnesota legislators that current criminal sentencing procedures endanger children. They testified at a House public safety committee meeting Tuesday, March 7 in favor of a bill that would: • Eliminate some plea agreements that let sex offenders avoid prison. • Mandate minimum sentences for child pornography. • Require that some sex offenders remain under supervision for life, even after they get out of jail or prison.
ST. PAUL — Scrolling through a Sunday sales hashtag on Twitter, Minnesota Senate Democratic staffers briefly pondered a phrase that had been used to describe a bill that would allow Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota: "It's lit." "I feel like 'lit' is like 'on fleek,' but it would be a little more aggressive," said Ellen Anderson, digital media coordinator with the caucus.
ST. PAUL—A new form of health insurance could be available next year to Minnesotans in the individual health insurance market if a proposal by Gov. Mark Dayton gains approval of state legislators and the federal government. About 250,000 people buy health insurance from the individual market. Dayton's "public option" would allow those who do not receive federal subsidies to buy a plan based on MinnesotaCare, which provides subsidized insurance to the state's working poor.
ST. PAUL — Students and faculty of Minnesota State colleges and universities agree that state lawmakers should prioritize curbing tuition costs as they consider a request for additional funding. The school system is requesting $178 million in additional state funding, which would include $143 million in campus support that would allow another two-year tuition freeze across the system.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota State colleges and universities administrators say additional spending is needed to help the state keep pace with growing workforce needs. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development projects that more than 70 percent of jobs in the state will require postsecondary education by 2020. Laura King, chief finance officer with Minnesota State, said a requested $178 million in additional state funding over two years would help the state's "workforce engine" retain students and control rising tuition.
ST. PAUL — A new round of state grants could extend broadband to thousands of businesses and households throughout areas of rural Minnesota that now are without reliable internet access. A total of $34 million has been dedicated to 42 broadband infrastructure projects throughout the state aiming to chip away at the number of people left offline in greater Minnesota. The state's Border-to-Border Broadband Infrastructure plan adds state taxpayer dollars to funding from private and local sources and federal reimbursements from the Connect America Fund.
ST. PAUL — Students and faculty at the University of Minnesota say an inadequate number of advisors can add spendy years of school past the typical four years. More time spent in school can mean padding a recent graduate's debt by thousands of dollars. A new project in the university's two-year budget proposal aims to funnel a portion of the $147 million of additional spending into hurrying students' graduation and minimize student debt.
ST. PAUL—Chloride seeping from the Morris sewage treatment facility into the Pomme De Terre River will require a new facility to meet pollution-reduction requirements. A nearly $17 million bid for the new facility fell through after Minnesota legislators failed to agree on a 2016 public works bill that would have helped fund the project. Today, the west central Minnesota city faces an $18 million price tag on the project, and City Manager Blaine Hill said a new bid opening in February could increase the costs again.
Red Wing Downtown Main Street enjoyed a successful year in 2016. The local nonprofit geared toward revitalizing and sustaining the city's historic downtown business district helped usher in four new stores to the heart of Red Wing through its Retail Challenge competition — a feat the organization's newest leader hopes to build upon in 2017. "We want to keep what's great, and streamline where we can, to potentially bring in some more events and targeted work like the retail challenge," said Megan Tsui, who recently accepted a position as DTMS executive director.