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A health-care reform proposal passed the Senate over some opposition. Senate Minority Leader David Senjem, R-Rochester, complained that a fee placed on health insurers and hospitals will hurt rural Minnesotans especially hard. It passed 39-23 on Monday after a preliminary vote last week. Among other things, the bill creates a statewide health improvement plan providing grants to local communities to curb obesity and tobacco use.
A legislative committee praised Gov. Tim Pawlenty's new health commissioner Monday, making Dr. Sanne Magnan's chances at final confirmation by the Democrat-controlled Senate favorable. The Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee approved Magnan's appointment. Linda Berglin, a top senator on health care and frequent Pawlenty adversary on health-care issues, enthusiastically backed Magnan. "Her experience, her background, her knowledge in a variety of areas is very timely in terms of the kinds of things we need to do moving forward as a state," said Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis.
Senators are considering a bill designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions from state buildings. "This proposal will result in a reduction of 11.1 million metric tons of carbon equivalent emissions by 2050, and will save Minnesotans approximately $296 million," Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon, DFL-Duluth, said. The Sustainable Buildings 2030 proposal would result in new buildings being essentially carbon neutral by the year 2030, she said. However, the bill only applies to buildings constructed with state money.
ST. PAUL - A federal grant could make it easier for roughly 7,500 Minnesotans facing foreclosure this year to keep their homes. State housing officials and Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday a $4.3 million grant will double the number of counselors available for a mortgage counseling program. The grant to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency will provide an additional 37 counselors statewide, bringing the total number to 76.
A bill has been introduced at the state capitol that would put color-coded signs on Minnesota's worst bridges in an effort to educate Minnesota drivers about the condition of the bridges they use every day. The bill, introduced by District 67 Sen. Mee Moua, DFL-St.
Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki is not in the camp of those who think that "earmark" is a dirty word. Earmarks, according to the federal Office of Management and Budget, are funds Congress provides for projects or programs in which the congressional action "circumvents the merit-based or competitive allocation process, or specifies the location or recipient." But to Harycki, earmarks are what will provide funds to pay for a new St. Croix River crossing. Harycki was in Washington, D.C., last week for a conference sponsored by the National League of Cities.
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ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants legislators to approve a plan transferring land in a northeastern Minnesota state park for a new state veterans' cemetery. Pawlenty on Tuesday proposed using 60 acres in Jay Cook State Park south of Duluth to construct Minnesota's second veterans' cemetery. The parcel in the 8,781-acre park would be transferred from the state Department of Natural Resources to the Veterans Affairs Department. Pawlenty said there is a lack of access to military veterans' cemeteries in northern Minnesota, as the state has an aging and growing population of veterans.
Five years after Congress approved the popular Do Not Call List to limit unwanted telephone calls, environmental groups and activists are calling for a national Do Not Mail List to slow the flood of junk mail. The group ForestEthics on Tuesday said that Americans receive about 105 billion pieces of junk mail every year -- about 392 pieces each year for each person in the country. The group said junk mail also contributes to identity theft and takes time to sort, shred and toss or recycle junk mail. But the group also claims junk mail is more than an inconvenience for consumers -- that it's
Here are structurally problematic bridges Minnesota lawmakers say could be repaired or replaced with money included in a recently approved transportation funding plan. The spending package did not identify the bridges, but they meet qualifications outlined in the new law. -- Minnesota 65, Little Fork River, Koochiching County -- Minnesota 1, Kawishiwi River, south of Ely, St. Louis County -- Minnesota 1, Pike River, west of Tower, St.