Senator Tina Smith is working to advance a clean electricity standard in the infrastructure bill that would eliminate all net greenhouse gas emissions in the power sector. The CES would require utility providers to include more clean energy in their mix over time: "Renewable clean power is often the cheapest form of power. And the way we are structuring this for the infrastructure bill we believe it would hold rates that people pay on their utility bills even, your power wouldn't go up." Many providers are already shifting to cleaner energy sources. But rural co-ops, municipal utilities, national energy giants, and [...]
Minnesota soybean growers are “kicking the tires” on another use for soybean oil. The Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council kicked off its Driving Soy campaign. Minnesota Soybean executive director Joe Smentek says county soybean organizations from across the state are using Checkoff dollars to help promote Goodyear tires that feature soybean oil in the tread compound: "Goodyear has committed to replacing petroleum oil with soybean oil by 2040, and one of the lines of tires they have already accomplished that (with) their law enforcement performance tires. Our county organizations will be donating a set of tires, promoting the use of [...]
The DNR's Lisa Dugan says it's been a deadly start to the boating and water season: "And really looking into it, it's all age ranges. It's a lot of different factors that come into play and it comes back to one thing that the victims are not wearing a life jacket." Preliminary numbers show there have been at least 20 water-related deaths so far this season.
State and federal lawmakers continue to direct money toward the expansion of rural broadband. And University of Minnesota Duluth assistant professor of computer science Dr. Peter Peterson suggests the dollars better keep coming because burying cable gets really expensive: "DSL, cable internet, and fiber, those are all delivered via wires that someone has buried, usually along roadways. And it costs, the low end is $18,000 per mile to bury fiber." Peterson says this is the fundamental issue holding back rural broadband expansion and he is hopeful government subsidies and other incentives will help companies install the infrastructure needed to provide high-speed [...]
This year, Amazon isn’t the only retailer rolling out discounts for Prime Day. Walmart, Target, and Kohls, just to name a few, are running competing sales. But Bao Vang with the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota says more deals mean more chances for scammers to capitalize on the buzz and trick shoppers. "Online shopping is the number one riskiest scam for consumers in 2020--that was the latest report we have--and it comprised of 38% of all scam reports on our Scam Tracker." Vang is urging shoppers to be wary of phishing scams, misleading advertisements and lookalike websites. You can visit the [...]
Tuition increases in the state college and university system (Minnesota State) would be limited to three-and-a-half percent in each of the next two years -- one of a number of important features in a compromise higher education funding bill the Minnesota House passed over the weekend and the Senate votes on next. Lead D-F-L negotiator, Representative Connie Bernardy from New Brighton: "This is really important for our students and our state, to help our students now get through this pandemic and to prosper in the future so they have economic security for themselves and their families." The bill also has incentives [...]
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.