After the contentious 2020 election, many election officials, including Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, are calling on Congress to pass legislation ensuring elections are safe, accessible and accurate in the future. "We secretaries of state are in the Democracy business and it's an important time right now to be in the Democracy business." Simon says the "For the People Act" under consideration in Congress aims to get dark money out of politics, crackdown on corruption and protect voting rights
Minnesota's hospitality industry is among those celebrating the coming end of COVID restrictions, but there will be challenges ahead... "There's a workforce shortage, well documented and it's not just here in MN, it's throughout the country and also the supply chain is going to need its time to ramp up, it's throughout the country all of these businesses can't turn on a dime to reopen or open more fully it takes time to call back employees and get them trained up." President of Hospitality Minnesota Liz Rammer says it's going to be especially challenging in Greater Minnesota where there are many [...]
A coalition of local organizations today is calling on state lawmakers to pass meaningful police accountability legislation before time runs out on the current session. Jaylani Hussein is Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Minnesota. He says more than 60,000 Minnesotans have signed a petition to get the bill passed... "Yet today, we are seeing the politics being played. we are reminding Chairman Mariani and Chairman Limmer that if they do not bring us forth meaningful police accountability that we will see that not only a failure of them, but a failure of the state of Minnesota." Hussein [...]
A criminal complaint against the man charged with holding several people hostage at a bank in St. Cloud shed more light on what happened during a more than eight hour standoff. 35-year-old Ray Reco McNeary allegedly threatened the lives of his 5 hostages several times during his standoff with police. According to a criminal complaint McNeary told them he wanted to put on a "big show" and be "a martyr." He now faces multiple charges including five counts of kidnapping. The most violent incident detailed in the complaint comes when McNeary allegedly held a pair of scissors to the neck of [...]
Fans of the State Fair were excited earlier this week when organizers announced a "Kickoff to Summer at the Fair" event on Memorial Day weekend (May 27-31). The Great Minnesota Get Together was canceled last year due to COVID and fair spokesperson Danielle Dullinger says: "We definitely are striving to have a fair, we definitely would not say this is replacing the fair in any way, this is basically to have an event because we haven't had one in quite some time." More information about tickets for the "Kickoff to Summer at the Fair" can be found at mnstatefair.org.
If you haven't already filed your 2020 income tax returns, the deadline is right around the corner, May 17th. Minnesota Revenue spokesman Ryan Brown encouraged you to e-file: "Filing electronically and choosing direct deposit is the most convenient and secure way to file your return and get any refund you are due. Last year we had about over 90-percent of taxpayers file electronically and about three of four chose that direct deposit." Again the filing deadline to submit 2020 Minnesota income tax returns is Monday, May 17th.
Republican leaders say Governor Tim Walz is not relaxing COVID restrictions fast enough and Minnesota should fully re-open immediately. The governor responds: "The politics of COVID has overshadowed a lot. That's not a time for this today. Minnesotans have worked hard. They deserve to have some joy and look to the future, and my job now is get back in there and continue to finish this thing off and work with them (Republicans) on a budget." Republicans want Walz to relinquish his emergency powers, which would immediately end COVID restrictions. How much that demand factors into end-of-session budget negotiations remains to [...]
With just over one week remaining in the legislative session, Republican and Democratic leaders have set today (Fri) as their deadline to agree on dollar amounts for major budget categories -- but whether they can do it remains to be seen. Senate G-O-P Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says Democrats need to put federal stimulus money on the table in negotiations: "If there's not offers using federal stimulus money -- that's the 2.6 billion dollars of extra money that we could use in many of our budget categories -- it will be more difficult to get done." At least as big a [...]
As Minnesota aims to vaccinate 70 percent of those age 16 and over, state Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says it will be a while before vaccinations are available for very young children, however -- "Pfizer authorization for vaccinating 12 years of age and up is expected to come even next week." Malcolm says the state is working to be ready as vaccine expansion opens to new populations.
Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says it's time to drop Governor Tim Walz's mask mandate, and told fellow lawmakers next week the Senate will lead: "We are gonna allow everybody to be back on the Senate floor in your normal seat, if you want to. So we're not gonna require it, but if you want to you may, and masks will be optional." Senate Democratic Minority Leader Susan Kent says she's "very disappointed that... Gazelka decided to prematurely lift the safety protocols on the Senate floor before the new guidelines go into effect for all Minnesotans." Kent says, "The Senate should [...]