An appeal is planned after a judge threw out a lawsuit by American Civil Liberties Union claiming officials are not properly protecting prisoners from COVID-19 at the state prison in Moose Lake. The court says A-C-L-U did *not* prove corrections officials "have been deliberately indifferent" to risks of COVID-19 -- but attorney Dan Shulman (SHOOL-man) says affidavits from 14 inmates show differently: "There was no social distancing. They haven't been testing,... not been applying proper sanitary procedures,... not requiring guards and inmates to wear masks." In a statement Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell responds his department "has taken a serious, adaptive, and [...]
Food shelf use across the state has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Colleen Moriarty, executive director of Hunger Solutions feels what's kept many Minnesota families stay afloat with their basic needs, is the extra 600 dollars on unemployment checks: "When and if that goes away it will have tremendous input into how many people are visiting food shelves around the state of Minnesota." The extra 600 dollars is set to expire on July 31st.
Another attempt by Republicans to end Governor Tim Walz's COVID emergency powers failed last night (Tues) on the second day of this second special session -- with House Democrats refusing to pass a resolution that the Republican-controlled Senate approved the day before. Prior Lake Republican Tony Albright said to the governor, consider the continued economic damage: "The repercussions will last, for some, a lifetime! Do you really want to live with that? Do you want that to be your legacy?" Saint Paul Democrat Dave Pinto responded Governor Walz is not the cause of economic losses -- COVID-19 is: "We [...]
Senate Republicans have a third day of hearings today (10am) on what they label state and local officials' sluggish response to Twin Cities riots after the death of George Floyd. House Speaker, Democrat Melissa Hortman says about that: "Unless the inquiry is centered in understanding what happened to Philando Castile, what happened to George Floyd and so many other people like them, the Senate is completely missing the point." Senate Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says at this point he does *not* expect extensive hearings in the Senate on why George Floyd died in police custody: "The governor and the House [...]
Even more politics are swirling around a 1.8-billion-dollar bonding bill that awaits a vote in the Minnesota House after clearing a key committee. To attract Republican votes, House Democrats are apparently willing to include business tax relief -- something Speaker Melissa Hortman isn't enthusiastic about doing: "It is not our first priority to cut taxes for businesses that are making money. It is our first priority to help Minnesotans improve their lives, and by that we mean individuals and families." A small number of Republicans are reportedly interested in Democrats' offer, but the mainstream caucus says they're not: "It's becoming a [...]
The top Republican in the Minnesota Senate says he does not support federal disaster aid to help rebuild riot-torn areas of the Twin Cities. Majority Leader Paul Gazelka: "I don't know that FEMA has ever considered riots as a disaster." House Democratic Majority Leader Ryan Winkler responds those who protected their homes, businesses and community assets during the riots... ..."those people were not at fault. It was as though a tornado or... wildfire came through their neighborhoods." The Trump administration late last week denied Governor Walz's request for a federal disaster declaration. There's a 30-day deadline to appeal.
Starting tomorrow (WED), Split Rock Lighthouse will once again welcome visitors seven days a week--after a months-long closure due to COVID-19. "What we're doing now is everything is a self-guided tour we have guides that are stationed throughout the site to answer questions or share a story or two with people, we've also installed informational signs for people to read on their own." Site manager Hayes Scriven says guests can explore the grounds and the fog signal building--from a safe social distance--and get an up-close look at the light station from the outside while taking in the grand views. Other indoor [...]
Will Democrats and Republicans be able to agree on a package of police reforms as they try again in this second legislative session of 2020? House Speaker, Democrat Melissa Hortman says: "More rules and more training are not going to change lives. What we need are consequences for failure to live up to the standards." Senate Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka won't say how close the two sides are in negotiations -- but he does say Republicans will not agree to de-funding or dismantling the police, increasing the attorney general's power or allowing felons to vote. Gazelka says Republicans *have* offered [...]
Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says they continue to monitor the surge in COVID-19 cases in other parts of the country where re-openings happened much faster. She says here in Minnesota: "We've taken a pretty measured approach to re-opening in phases and we're not as wide open as some of the states that are having the more significant outbreaks. So we're definitely mindful of the speed of with which those trajectories can change." The test positivity rate in Minnesota is currently 4.7%, and Malcolm said when it gets to 5% for more than five days in a row, they start to [...]
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Minnesota is warning homeowners about "storm chasers"--who try to take advantage of those who have been impacted by natural disasters like tornadoes, flooding, and wildfires. "Some of these scammers may lack proper licensing or offer quick fixes or make big promises that they are unable to deliver." The BBB's Bao Vang says if you've been impacted by a natural disaster, contact your insurance company. And she says resist high-pressure sales.