Friday, October 22, 2021

Play

Some states entice people back to the workplace by increasing safety standards and higher minimum wage; Bannon held in Contempt of Congress; and the latest cyber security concerns.

Play

House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress; Trump announces new social media platform TRUTH Social; and the Biden administration says it will continue to expel migrants under Title 42.

Play

An all-Black Oklahoma town joins big cities in seeking reparations; a Kentucky vaccination skeptic does a 180; telehealth proves invaluable during pandemic; and spooky destinations lure tourists at Halloween.

From Status Quo to Policy Victories, MN Groups Review Special Session

Play

Friday, July 2, 2021   

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota has a new budget in place, after lawmakers finished a marathon special session as their deadline expired.

From rural areas to underserved neighborhoods, groups monitoring for helpful policies found things they like, but also some frustration. The two-year, $52 billion budget includes such items as direct aid for people affected by the pandemic, along with a boost in education funding.

Julie Tesch, president and CEO of the Center for Rural Policy and Development, noted investments in workforce development, and said enhancing job training in Greater Minnesota will be helpful.

"Even before we went into the pandemic, we had a worker shortage," Tesch recounted. "And there's a common misperception across the state, both urban and rural, that, you know, we need jobs, jobs, jobs; when in fact, we need workers, workers, workers."

There's nearly $37 million for employment and training programs for each of the next two years. She also cited efforts to improve the child-care system as a crucial need for many communities.

Police reform was included in the public-safety bill, but racial-justice advocates say the compromise left out key provisions. They also lament the budget's exclusion of a paid family leave program.

Elianne Farhat, executive director of Take Action MN, said those were among the priorities for her group. She added while the budget crafted by lawmakers wasn't a real setback for families and workers, it didn't propel them forward, either.

"The good news is that we didn't go backwards, and we maintained the status quo," Farhat acknowledged. "The bad news is that we maintained the status quo."

She added the state is investing significant money in addressing climate-change matters, but contended it is nowhere near enough to mitigate harmful effects.

Democrats and Gov. Tim Walz initially pushed for tax hikes on the wealthy to fund certain ideas, but it fell by the wayside as revenue projections improved, along with the arrival of more federal COVID relief. For GOP leaders, the budget highlight is a tax-relief package.


get more stories like this via email
California has collected more than 600 tons of unwanted prescription drugs since the Take-Back Day program began in 2010. (Dodgerton Skillhause/Morguefile)

Health and Wellness

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, when the Drug Enforcement Administration encourages everyone to clean out …


Health and Wellness

BALTIMORE - This month marks the four-year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, and an art project aims to help incarcerated survivors heal by telling …

Social Issues

OGDEN, Utah - Utah is one of only a handful of states that taxes food, but one state legislator says taxing groceries should become a thing of the …


In a new poll, 71% of all registered voters support strengthening rules to reduce oil and gas methane pollution, including 73% of Independents and 50% of Republicans. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

CASPER, Wyo. - A strong majority of voters across party lines say they want national rules similar to those passed in Wyoming to reduce methane …

Health and Wellness

ARLINGTON, Va. - Although COVID-19 rates have gone down, the virus continues to hit the Hispanic community especially hard. Now, a new campaign aims …

Gov. Tom Wolf already has increased the minimum wage for state employees and contractors, which is set to reach $15 an hour by July 2024. (Gov. Tom Wolf/Flickr)

Social Issues

PITTSBURGH - As businesses across the country deal with a massive labor shortage, Pennsylvania aims to entice people back to the workplace by …

Environment

ALBANY, N.Y. - Environmental groups want Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill that mandates monitoring the state's drinking water for "emerging …

Health and Wellness

BEND, Ore. - Veterans returning home sometimes struggle to find a place where they feel like they belong. In Central Oregon, a ranch is supporting …

 

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