For the 5th straight month, Minnesota gained jobs. DEED (Department of Employment and Economic Development) Commissioner Steve Grove says the unemployment rate dropped from 4.1 percent to four percent in May: "We see from these numbers Minnesotans are getting back to work. Our unemployment rate is dropping for the right reasons. And there is a lot of opportunity in the Minnesota economy as we come out of this pandemic and move into the next chapter of our state's growth." Minnesota added 12,300 jobs in May the private sector added 14,800.
Why is "reinsurance", to hold down health insurance premiums, *not* in a major commerce budget bill -- the question Republicans are asking during today's (Thurs) House floor debate. Minority Leader Kurt Daudt says leaders emerged from "super-secret... back-room negotiations"... "And they emerge with a deal, and that deal doesn't include the most successful health insurance program in the last four years?" Democrats say reinsurance will cost Minnesotans 415 million dollars, and the state doesn't get that amount of return from the program. Under reinsurance, the state picks up the cost of health care for the most seriously-ill Minnesotans, with the goal [...]
The Supreme Court is again upholding the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The decision was 7-2. It's a move that gets the support of the Minnesota Medical Association (MMA). "I think I can speak for pretty everybody, pretty much all of the physicians within the MMA that we applaud the Supreme Court's decision to dismiss this last challenge to the Affordable Care Act. " MMA President Marilyn Peitso (PATE-so) says the decision preserves life-saving healthcare coverage for thousands of Minnesotans and millions of Americans.
The United States has a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery, Juneteenth, after President Biden signed the bill into law today at the White House. Senator Tina Smith, among those there: "Juneteenth celebrates freedom and it celebrates the emancipation of people who were enslaved in our country." Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas about two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln in the Emancipation Proclamation declared slaves in the Southern states to be free.
Parliamentary calisthenics on the Minnesota House floor last night (Thurs), as Republicans used filibusters to delay votes on the first round of state budget bills that they say they had no voice in. Democratic Majority Leader Ryan Winkler broke in. But the filibuster continued when Republicans used another motion to regain the floor. They say budget deals were made behind closed doors with no public input. Democrats respond there's been ample opportunity during the regular session and in the weeks before the special session.
Cases of COVID are consistently down in Minnesota, and most restrictions are gone, but Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) President Dr. Marilyn Peitso says while things are looking good... "We all have to be mindful of our younger children and also those with immune deficiency's and other reasons that they cannot get a vaccination." Dr. Peitso wants Minnesotans to be mindful that there are still COVID variants around --and that most of the world is not as fortunate as we are in the United States with vaccination availability.
A compromise higher education budget bill ready for a final vote at the Minnesota Legislature is getting good marks from both sides of the aisle, including the Walz administration. Office of Higher Education Commissioner Dennis Olson: "A strong higher ed bill here.... A strong compromise for all." The bill caps annual tuition increases at three-and-a-half percent in the state college and university system, increases grants to low- and middle-income families, ups funding for scholarship programs -- and backers say it will reduce textbook costs. Minnesota State and the U-of-M get a smaller funding increase than requested, but key lawmakers appear satisfied [...]
A higher education funding measure is in the first round of state budget bills the Minnesota House is expected to take up today (10am start) on day four of the special session. It caps annual tuition increases at three-and-a-half percent in the state college and university system, increases grants to low- and middle-income families, and ups funding for scholarship programs. Democratic Representative Connie Bernardy from New Brighton: "It's a(n) excellent higher education bill, and we really are helping our students get through this pandemic and thrive afterwards." Bernardy says there's also a "hunger-free campus" program, and grants to get more teachers-of-color [...]
A new analysis of nearly 136,000 women who are pregnant showed that just 16.3 percent had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy. HealthPartners' Dr. Malini DeSilva says that's despite evidence of safety and efficacy of the vaccines. "There was likely some concern about whether or not they were safe and at this time we have much more data to say that they are safe, there's not a higher risk of any of the adverse side effects." The data, published in the Centers for Disease Control, also show that vaccination rates are lower among younger people who are pregnant and [...]
Minnesota law enforcement agencies cited nearly 21-hundred motorists for seat belt violations, plus 91 child safety seat citations during a two-week campaign ending June 6th. Mike Hanson with the state Office of Traffic Safety says those numbers are "pretty consistent with what we've seen in the past": "When we look at the big picture, (it) tells us we still have some work to do educating every Minnesotan on the importance of getting them to buckle up that seatbelt -- every seat, every trip, every time." Hanson says decisions to *not* buckle-up are contributing to traffic deaths in Minnesota being 40 percent [...]