Christopher Magan / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — A nearly 30-year-old tax on medical providers is at the center of increasingly tense negotiations between Democrats and Republicans for the next state budget. The 2% provider tax will sunset at the end of the year if lawmakers do nothing. It currently raises about $700 million for a Health Care Access Fund that is spent on a variety of programs to keep health care accessible and affordable.
For the second year in a row, Minnesota attracted new residents from other states in 2018 and immigration continued to play an important role in the state’s population growth. Last year, about 17,000 of the more than 43,000 new Minnesota residents came from other states or countries, according to population estimates released Thursday, April 18, by the U.S. Census Bureau.
People struggling with mental illness also often face problems with addiction and other challenges, but getting comprehensive treatment can be tough. Patients would typically need to visit more than one clinician for help with problems like mental illness and substance abuse. A pilot program in Minnesota and seven other states has had success locating multiple types of treatments under one roof, but it is at risk of ending.
ST. PAUL — Should the public know if a voter’s eligibility has been challenged? How about if they’ve been convicted of a felony? Secretary of State Steve Simon doesn’t think so and he’s planning to challenge his second legal defeat on the matter. But the Minnesota Voters Alliance says that type of information and other data the state collects would help prove voter fraud is more pervasive than many think.
ST. PAUL — If you take Minnesota political leaders at their word, they’re committed to making health care more accessible and affordable. Here’s a recent sampling:
ST. PAUL — Minnesota school districts don’t have to make up the days they missed because of extreme cold and snow thanks to a bipartisan bill signed Monday, April 1, by Gov. Tim Walz. The “Snow Day Relief Bill” allows districts to avoid penalties in state law for failing to provide a certain amount of classroom instruction time. Although there’s no recent evidence it’s ever been enforced, state law calls for districts to lose money and administrators to even be jailed for not providing enough school time.
ST. PAUL — Should the Minnesota Legislature have a say about when students are taught civics? How about whether they write in cursive — or learn when it is OK to touch or kiss someone? Some state lawmakers think so. School leaders typically are not fond of the Legislature enshrining curriculum decisions in state law. But every legislative session, there’s a handful of bills — among the hundreds of pieces of education-related legislation debated at the Capitol — that aim to do just that.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s school leaders can avoid funding cuts and even jail time if a bill at the Legislature allowing snow days to be counted as school days becomes law. The change would only be for this school year, when frigid temps and record February snowfall forced schools to close for safety reasons. Many districts have taken a week or more off because of winter weather and typically only build a few extra days into their schedule to account for arctic temperatures and snow.
ST. PAUL -- “Unconscionable,” an “unforced ridiculous error,” “cruel,” and “insane” — Gov. Tim Walz didn’t hold back when describing his feelings about the month-long government shutdown and the reasons behind it. He expressed his frustrations with the shutdown Thursday, Jan 24, while hosting a roundtable discussion at a St. Paul affordable housing complex where residents are growing anxious that the federal benefits they rely on will soon dry up.
ST. PAUL — As the partial shutdown of the federal government drags on, the University of Minnesota is covering $500,000 per day worth of government grants that are not being paid. The tally has reached $10 million so far and there’s an expectation, but not certainty, the university will get paid back.