Monday, January 30, 2023

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Massachusetts could restrict police use of facial recognition technology, Wyoming mulls more health coverage for workers, and a report finds low salary contributes to social workers leaving the field.

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Civil rights activists push for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act following the killing of Tyre Nichols, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he can reach a deal with President Biden on the debt ceiling, and election experts say 2023 could shape voting rights across the country.

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"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

Settlement Work Viewed as Big Part of MN AG's Office

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Tuesday, November 1, 2022   

This fall, initial payments from Minnesota's settlement with opioid manufacturers began flowing to communities to help with fallout from the epidemic. The effort is overseen by the state attorney general's office as candidates compete for votes. With the election close, the nominees continue to spar over matters such as crime. But sorting out matters such as large settlements is another duty of the office. Like other states, Minnesota had to come up with a plan to distribute hundreds of millions of dollars so that cities and counties could address prevention and treatment needs.

Julie Ring, Executive Director of the Association of Minnesota Counties, suggested it was a fair and productive process.

"Most of the money in Minnesota will actually go out to counties and cities [for] health, human services, public health, law-enforcement programs," Ring said.

She acknowledged some small counties might receive little money but said the formula was adjusted for population and that the funding is still significant and flexible. The agreement between the state and local leaders happened under D-F-L incumbent Keith Ellison, who supports these efforts, along with consumer protections.

His Republican opponent, Jim Schultz, said Ellison has been soft on crime and that office resources should be mainly focused on prosecutions.

Mille Lacs County was estimated to receive roughly $2-million as part of the settlement. Mille Lacs County administrator Dillon Hayes admitted settlement work is an attorney general's duty he did not think too much about. But he said the extra resources are welcome.

"We have a very limited pool of resources to draw from, when at the same time we're trying to keep less than that burden or minimize that burden on our taxpayers," Hayes said. "That's been huge for us, and I think that's one of the things that this will help with."

While the settlement money is expected to help many rural counties
struggling with high rates of opioid addiction, the Association of Minnesota Counties says methamphetamine abuse has been a bigger problem in some areas.

The agreement gives those jurisdictions flexibility to confront issues with that drug.


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