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PNS Daily Newscast - November 25, 2020 


Feeding hungry families, on Thanksgiving and beyond; and is that turkey really from a family farm? (Note to Broadcasters: The newscast has been granted a holiday for Thanksgiving, but we'll return first thing Friday.)


2020Talks - November 25, 2020 


CORRECTED 2:30pm MST 11/25 - Linda Thomas-Greenfield would be the second Black woman in US UN Ambassador role, Susan Rice was the first. Biden nominees speak; how can social media spread less misinformation and be less polarizing. *2020Talks will not be released 11/26 & 11/27*

MN Bonding Bill: Help for State Workers, Affordable Housing

Minnesota's state budget and economy have taken a hit in the pandemic crisis, but a new public-works program could help jump-start economic activity. (Adobe Stock)
Minnesota's state budget and economy have taken a hit in the pandemic crisis, but a new public-works program could help jump-start economic activity. (Adobe Stock)
October 21, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS -- Despite the early arrival of snowy weather in Minnesota, supporters of public-works projects are looking forward to groundbreakings and other facets of a new statewide bonding bill. They say it will provide job relief and protections as the pandemic continues.

The Legislature approved the $1.9 billion plan last week after months of tense negotiations. It covers transportation improvements, water-treatment plant upgrades and other work.

Megan Dayton, statewide president of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, said through a supplemental spending bill, there's money to shore up funding deficits for Department of Human Services workers who provide direct care.

"It keeps our members safe while they're at work," she said. "It gives them COVID testing, PPE protection while they're at work, and it also continues the care for the most vulnerable Minnesotans."

There's also temporary job protections for workers at smaller state prisons in Togo and Willow River. Those facilities were slated for closure, but the package extends funding through next June. Some lawmakers expressed concern over the bonding bill's price tag, but it easily passed both chambers. Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill this week.

Dayton noted that the state still is under a hiring freeze, and many workers are performing extra duties in stressful situations -- so she said extra help for those employees needs to be considered.

The bill also sets aside $116 million for affordable housing. Rhonda Otteson, executive director of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, said a number of shovel-ready development projects have been waiting on the funding.

As more people lose their homes during the crisis, she said, getting new housing started can soften the blow, "whether it's supportive housing for people maybe transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing, or for people who are working in the community and at risk of losing their housing because they're paying too much."

Outside of the affordable-housing funding, Otteson said, homeless shelters need long-term investments from the state. She cited facilities across Minnesota in dire need of repairs and upgrades, as well as help with operational expenses.

The text of the bill is online at revisor.mn.gov.

Disclosure: Minnesota Association of Professional Employees contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Livable Wages/Working Families, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN