Just over 60-percent of Minnesotans 16 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. Tomorrow the CDC is expected to announce the all-clear in allowing kids 12 and older to be eligible for the Pfizer vaccination. State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says this would mean an additional 300-thousand Minnesotans can roll up their sleeves for the shot: "It's going to take a lot of additional community-based strategies that we've talked about in the past couple of weeks. Mobile vaccination, we're looking forward to partnering with some of our great community events over the summer." Malcolm expects Minnesota [...]
Early recognition can be the key difference between life or death when it comes to suffering from a stroke. Strokes are a leading cause of serious and long-term disability and the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. Leah Roering a stroke specialist with CentraCare says there are several factors that can play into someone having a stroke. Roering says treatment may be available if you get to the emergency room at the first signs of stroke such as balance loss, face or arm weakness, and speech. May is Stroke Awareness Month.
The Federal Unemployment Supplement Insurance program is set to expire in September. Republican Congressman Tom Emmer says the $300 weekly federal supplement is causing many people to choose -- not to go back to work: "Is it their fault that the federal government decided to make unemployment insurance quite frankly more lucrative than going out and earning a wage? That's not their fault. Americans are smart and they're going to collect that money while it's there and then when it's gone, they will go back to work." Emmer is concerned Democrats will push to extend these payments beyond September.
GOP lawmaker says House Dems holding up business, individual tax relief over top-bracket income tax hike
Republican Representative Greg Davids from Preston says the state has permission to use federal "American Rescue" money to reduce state taxes for businesses and individuals who received assistance during the pandemic -- but he says House Democrats are holding that tax relief hostage because they want to increase taxes on wealthy Minnesotans. Davids says there's no way, when the state has a multi-billion-dollar budget surplus and a full "rainy day" fund... "...that you can ask for one nickel from the taxpayers. That's just unconscionable." House Democratic Majority Leader Ryan Winkler responds Republicans are threatening to shut down state parks and cut [...]
Hopes are starting to fade for the Minnesota Legislature finishing the state budget by next Monday's adjournment deadline, meaning a special session could be needed to avoid state government shutdown July 1st: Democrats propose additional police reforms, while Republicans are reluctant. Republicans demand the governor to give up his COVID emergency powers. Walz wants to keep that authority, but also plans to cancel all COVID restrictions by July 1st at the latest. Democrats propose tax increases on the wealthiest Minnesotans and large corporations. Republicans say no. And while lawmakers continue negotiations on some parts of the state budget, the tax issue [...]
The current state legislative session is due to end in less than a week, but lawmakers are far from agreements on several major issues and Carleton College political science professor Steven Schier says: "I think it's going to be hard to wind things up, the real deadline date is probably June 30th, which is the end of the fiscal year and a pending government shutdown then, there'll be negotiations between now and June 30th." Schier says disagreements on Governor Tim Walz's emergency powers, what to do with $2.6 billion in federal relief funding and police accountability remain the big sticking points. [...]
As Minnesotans consider whether to apply for REAL ID, Emma Corrie with the state Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) is encouraging everyone to take advantage of online tools to help make the process easier. "We are now well poised online to be able to help Minnesotans complete almost 3/4ths of their application right online." Minnesotans have until May 3rd, 2023, to be REAL ID ready, but Corrie says many are deciding whether to apply for a REAL ID or enhanced driver’s license or ID when they renew their driver’s license or ID card in the coming months.
State Representative Greg Davids says Minnesota has the okay from Washington to put "American Rescue" dollars toward tax relief for businesses and individuals hurt by COVID -- but the Preston Republican says Democrats are holding out for tax increases on wealthy Minnesotans and large corporations: "We're not gonna do the tax increases, so it's very unfortunate that we wasted this whole session for something that they knew wasn't going to happen." House Tax Committee Chairman, Dilworth Democrat Paul Marquart responds there are still unanswered questions, plus he won't move a bill forward without helping *all* businesses hurt by COVID: "And if [...]
After the contentious 2020 election, many election officials, including Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, are calling on Congress to pass legislation ensuring elections are safe, accessible and accurate in the future. "We secretaries of state are in the Democracy business and it's an important time right now to be in the Democracy business." Simon says the "For the People Act" under consideration in Congress aims to get dark money out of politics, crackdown on corruption and protect voting rights
Minnesota's hospitality industry is among those celebrating the coming end of COVID restrictions, but there will be challenges ahead... "There's a workforce shortage, well documented and it's not just here in MN, it's throughout the country and also the supply chain is going to need its time to ramp up, it's throughout the country all of these businesses can't turn on a dime to reopen or open more fully it takes time to call back employees and get them trained up." President of Hospitality Minnesota Liz Rammer says it's going to be especially challenging in Greater Minnesota where there are many [...]