BEHIND THE STORY | Ensuring legacy funds serve all communities

More than five years after Minnesotans voted to pass the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, I think we can look back and say the sales tax revenue generated has been a boon to our arts economy

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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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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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Advocating for good urbanism at City Hall: 2320 Colfax

I have been spending a lot of time recently thinking about how to advocate at City Hall for good urbanism. We spend a lot of time writing good posts on Streets.MN and debating in online chatrooms, but does that really move the needle at City Hall? Meanwhile, those of a preservationist mindset are always emailing City Council members and showing up to testify at public hearings.

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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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Activism, innovation and pragmatism: Andrew Johnson's first 100 (and a bit) days

Andrew Johnson is the youngest member of the Minneapolis City Council at only 29 years of age. (“Also the only single one,” he reminds me to mention.) One of seven (of 13) CMs newly elected in November 2013, he is also one of the ones most likely to succeed Gary Schiff in being the leftward pull of DFL progressivism on the Council. Johnson says it has always been his dream to be an actual politician, but not one he expected to attain, nor did he have a master plan to get there. He says circumstances just “opened a path” and he took it. Before that he had made his living as an IT systems engineer, while working tirelessly in his spare time as a neighborhood and environmental activist. His style is robust activism, with an emphasis on innovation, yet tempered with a keen pragmatism beyond what is expected with his youth and inexperience.

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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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Pension subsidies pass the House

The long-term financial outlook for Minnesota pensions would improve if a bill that passed the House Thursday becomes law.

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