Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Texas lawmakers consider legislation to prevent cities from self-governance, Connecticut considers policy options to alleviate an eviction crisis, and Ohio residents await community water systems.


Gov. Ron DeSantis breaks his silence on Trump's potential indictment and attacks Manhattan prosecutors, President Biden vetoes his first bill to protect socially conscious retirement investing, and the Supreme Court hears a case on Native American water rights.


The 41st state has opted into Medicaid which could be a lifeline for rural hospitals in North Carolina, homelessness barely rose in the past two years but the work required to hold the numbers increased, and destruction of the "Sagebrush Sea" from Oregon to Wyoming is putting protection efforts for an itty-bitty bunny on the map.

Measuring Paid Leave Access in Rural MN


Thursday, January 26, 2023   

Researchers have said rural communities face a host of unique challenges, and access to paid leave is one of them. Advocates hope the needs of rural families are part of the debate, as discussion ramps up for a statewide program in Minnesota.

Gov. Tim Walz has included a paid family- and medical-leave program in his proposed budget.

Leota Goodney, activist and retired accounting firm operator from Northfield, said creating pathways for such a benefit could be helpful to small businesses in rural areas. She said it is a struggle everywhere, but is more profound in Greater Minnesota, where smaller firms and the self-employed are considered key drivers of local economies.

"There are not large employers like there are in the urban areas, and many of the large employers in the urban areas already offer some kind of paid family leave," Goodney pointed out.

A report by the think tank New America said only 61 % of women in rural communities have paid time off of any kind to care for a new child or an ill loved one.

The Walz plan calls for nearly $670 million to get the program started, with a less than 1% payroll tax to maintain funding. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce argued it would place too much financial stress on small businesses.

The organization estimates the plan would cost Minnesota businesses $1 billion, but Goodney countered having employers and their staff pitch in is a small sacrifice in establishing a benefit which can help recruit workers for rural areas.

"I definitely think that it makes living more attractive in rural areas," Goodney asserted. "This is a way to keep people from leaving rural areas to go somewhere else where they can actually make a living."

Nearly a dozen states have adopted paid-leave laws. Minnesota's plan would cover up to 12 weeks of medical leave and up to 12 weeks of family leave.

The state has a $17 billion surplus and Democrats feel optimistic about pushing proposals such as paid leave through because of their majorities. It remains unclear what will be in the final spending plans with several priorities announced in recent weeks.

get more stories like this via email
The VOTES Act also ensures the Commonwealth joins the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, a multi-state consortium which aims to keep voter registration rolls up to date, encourage voter registration and prevent voter fraud. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Voting rights advocates in Massachusetts are applauding Governor Maura Healey's budgetary backing of new policies stemming from last year's passage of…


Climate-change groups are calling attention to the environmental destruction linked to the wood pellet industry - even as California is considering a …

Social Issues

Many Nebraskans know how crucial a family caregiver is to one of their family members. Now AARP research has put a dollar value on that unpaid care - …

Going back generations, many Indigenous cultures developed strong ties with bison and relied upon them for sustenance, shelter, and cultural and religious practices. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

South Dakota is home to one of the nation's largest American Indian reservations, and the area is part of a movement among tribal nations to take …

Health and Wellness

As the cost of food, medicine and rent continues to climb, new data shows the benefits miners receive are now 40% less than what they received in 1969…

Stedman farmer Demi Tucker has been growing mushrooms on her family's land for the past few years. (Demi Tucker)


With the cost of farmland up by more than 8% percent in North Carolina, the state's Black farmers are struggling to purchase additional acreage or …


By Zachary Shepherd and Kelsey Paulus for Kent State News Lab.Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Co…

Social Issues

Republican-sponsored bills and amendments in the Legislature would eliminate the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. More than 1.5-million …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021