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COVID-19 prompts a car insurance break for some drivers. Also, a push for postal banking, and for grocery workers to be treated as first responders.

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Wisconsin held its primary yesterday in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic. But a shortage of poll workers led to just five polling stations in Milwaukee instead of the usual 180.

Farm Bill Deal Near?

February 18, 2008

St. Paul, MN – Congress could get the Farm Bill back on track this week. Both House and Senate have their versions, with the White House expressing concerns over cost. Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson has just returned from a visit to Washington, DC. He's optimistic that all sides understand what's at stake for the nation's economy, and may be headed for middle ground.

"Farming can't wait. We're looking at farmers who are soon going to have to be purchasing their inputs. It is so terribly important that they know what they can or can't do, as far as decisions for planting this coming spring."

Peterson says stalled compromise negotiations have restarted, and he's hopeful there could be action before the present Farm Bill extension expires, on March 15. If there is no deal, he expects another extension, or a return to default farm policies put on the books 60 years ago. Either way, Peterson believes consumers have a huge stake in the Farm Bill negotiations.

"This Farm Bill is important for consumers. First, there is country-of-origin labeling, which means that foods imported into this country will be clearly labeled, so consumers will know where their food comes from. Another issue is having some market stability, so consumer prices don't dramatically rise."

Peterson believes the bill also will contain important environmental, energy and conservation initiatives. He notes the Midwest has plenty of allies in Congress supporting a compromise, including House Agricultural Chairman Colin Peterson of Minnesota and both Minnesota Senators, as well as lawmakers from the Dakotas, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN