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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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Trump running mate Vance to deliver 'the most important speech' of his career at Republican convention tonight; Alabama group receives grant to boost FAFSA submissions; Bilingual, multicultural staff needed for NJ addiction treatment; Toledo plant to manufacture EVs with federal funding.

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The Republican National Convention connects crime to migration. Kari Lake and delegates from Texas, Florida, and California talk about border issues. Desantis pokes fun at President Biden and Nikki Haley gives the night's big speech.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Several months in, Latino advocates assess MN's Driver's Licenses for All

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Wednesday, June 5, 2024   

Events are scheduled this month to inform more people about Minnesota's new law eliminating the need for proof of legal residence to get a driver's license. Advocates for Latino immigrants see some positives, along with a few hiccups to sort out.

Last fall, Minnesota launched its Driver's Licenses for All initiative, with supporters saying it would make roadways safer while removing transportation burdens for undocumented individuals.

Eduardo Peñasco, lead organizer for Communities Organizing Latino Power and Action, said in general, the policy change is still embraced by the populations he works with.

"People are happy about this and (are) making an effort to try to apply and go through the process so they can get their license," Peñasco observed.

At first, the group found many Spanish-speaking applicants were not passing the written exam, in part through not accessing valid information in the driver's manual. In partnering with the Department of Public Safety, it has been hosting orientations to help people prepare. The organization noted written exam passage rates are improving but there is concern some people are discouraged by early obstacles.

The Department of Vehicle Services has upcoming dates listed on its website for various outreach related to the program. The events are all in the Twin Cities, and the group hopes to beef up its informational approach elsewhere in Minnesota.

Peñasco indicated they want Latino communities to feel reassured about the option and recapture the enthusiasm seen when the initiative kicked off.

"It has been kind of a slowdown a little bit but still somewhat in demand," Peñasco pointed out. "Taking the first step is always the difficult part."

After focusing on helping with those first steps, Peñasco added the next challenge is the skills test behind the wheel. Staffing issues have led to delays in scheduling. Community partners also point out driving schools, prompted by a failed test, can be costly with information in English only. Peñasco feels the state is making a sincere effort to reduce headaches as all parties try to adjust.

Disclosure: COPAL MN contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Environmental Justice, Immigrant Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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