Minnesota

License plate reader issue coming to a head at Legislature

A license plate reader (LPR) that many Minnesota law enforcement agencies have and the data it collects can know where you were five days, five weeks, five months, even 5 years ago. The data the LPR collects and disseminates can be used to get an individuals daily routine down pat. Just review the Star Tribune articles about former Mayor R.T. Rybak and reporter Eric Roper.

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Weigh in on statewide bike plan

Minnesotans are invited to weigh in on a forthcoming statewide bicycle system plan at nine public meetings around the state over the next several weeks. Public comments "will help us identify and recommend bike routes, improve existing facilities in the bike system and more effectively address the needs of bicyclists," says the state Department of Transportation.

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OPINION | Reducing income inequality doesn't end with minimum wage campaign

On Monday, progressive state policymakers and fair wage supporters were in a celebratory mood, as Governor Dayton signed into law the first Minnesota minimum wage increase in nine years. Under that law, the hourly minimum wage will be gradually increased to $9.50 ($7.75 for small employers) by 2016 and indexed for growth in the cost of living beginning in 2018. While the new minimum wage law is a big win, more needs to be done to reverse the tide of growing income inequality.

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Renters' Credit should be part of tax plan

When the Legislature comes back into session next week after the Easter/Passover break, we encourage policymakers to focus their final tax bill negotiations on tax policies that create a fairer tax system.

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Shortsighted cuts could hurt community health advancements

The Community Transformation Grant (CTG) program was initiated in 2011 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an attempt to address health disparities, help control health care spending, and create a healthier future. To this end, federal funds from the Affordable Care Act were allocated to select communities across the U.S. to help support community-level efforts to reduce chronic diseases by expanding efforts in “tobacco-free living, active living and healthy eating, and quality clinical and other preventative services.” Minnesota fared well in the selection process: the state was awarded $4.7 million per year (including $1.1 million for Hennepin County) for what was supposed to be a five-year program.

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Budget bills make additional investments in education

A quality educational system plays a critical role in a state’s economic success. For Minnesota to build an economy that works for everyone, all Minnesota children need access to quality education regardless of their race, income or where they live.

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University of Minnesota, Teach for America seek partnership approval, plan would create Minnesota's first alternative teacher licensing program

Minnesota’s first alternative teacher licensing program could begin as soon as June, pending Minnesota Board of Teaching approval of the University of Minnesota’s proposed partnership with Teach for America.

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Farmers markets, chili cook-offs will have specific food safety regulations

State food inspection law has been changed to specifically regulate farmers markets.

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Health and Human Services supplemental budget bills increase funding for health care workers

The Legislature made important progress in increasing access to health care for Minnesotans last session using limited resources, and the positive balance in the February Forecast has allowed policymakers to propose additional investments in health and human services this year.

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Smoke rings and mirrors: Are Minnesota Republicans pivoting on medical pot or just talking in circles?

With KSTP/SurveyUSA's polling showing that 68 percent of Minnesotans favor the legalization of medical marijuana, it's not surprising that Republican supporters of the legislation like Pat Garofalo are hoping to blame all DFLers for impeding passage of state representative Carly Melin's (DFL-Hibbing) HF1818 (and the overflow bill) and the companion bill offered by Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis).

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