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ST. PAUL -- Gun control backers have given up controversial proposals in an effort to pass some measures aimed at curbing gun violence in Minnesota. The House Public Safety Committee chairman dropped a plan to expand background checks to virtually all gun sales that was set for a vote Tuesday evening. He said there is a new agreement that will include only checks for purchases at gun shows.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is just a few steps away from some of the biggest health insurance reforms in recent history. Lawmakers have worked out a final plan from House and Senate proposals to run a health insurance marketplace required under the federal Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. It is close to approval after passing the House early Friday.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans should be able to buy health insurance online later this year, with legislators only still needing to wrap up the details. Senators debated 12 hours, ending late Thursday with what is believed to be a single-bill debate record, before approving 37-28 the Minnesota Insurance Marketplace. The bill establishing a Web-based system to buy health insurance and a similar one the House passed Monday night will head to a conference committee where lawmakers will merge the versions into one that Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton likely will sign.
ST. PAUL -- The author of a new gun bill says she wrote it as a compromise, but those who already have related bills are not buying it. Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, on Wednesday announced a bill that falls short of what the Legislature’s judiciary chairmen plan to discuss in committees next week. Hilstrom said she has no promise that her bill will be discussed in a committee. The Hilstrom bill does not require all buyers of handguns or semi-automatic rifles to undergo background checks, as the chairmen’s bills do.
ST. PAUL -- A rural Minnesota woman said if some schools had better programs and plans to deal with bullying, her son might not killed himself. “I believe that my son’s unbearable pain and sadness was preventable,” Ann Gettis of Kenyon told a state Senate committee Tuesday. Her son, Jeremiah, shot himself in 2006 after years of being bullied at school, she said. “Jeremiah is only one of countless youth who have taken their lives after enduring the unspeakable pain and humiliation of being bullied,” Gettis said.
ST. PAUL – Talk of tax increases continues even as economists anticipate a smaller state budget deficit. “Tax reform is important for Minnesota’s future,” Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said. “I don’t think this will even slow that down.” Bakk’s comments came shortly after Minnesota Management and Budget reported Thursday the state will face a $627 million shortfall in the next two years, down from $1.1 billion predicted in late 2012.
ST. PAUL – Those on opposite sides of the same-sex marriage debate use the same argument: It is about families. Both camps made their case Wednesday as Minnesota lawmakers released a proposal that would allow gay couples to wed. “We are affirming that thing that we all prize: Love that is the center of everything,” bill author Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis said, adding the bill is “changing nothing, redefining nothing.” Opponents said marriage is about more than two people’s decisions and legalizing same-sex marriage will have widespread impacts.
By Al Edenloff Alexandria Echo Press GLENWOOD - Karen Simmons, 62, of Glenwood, director of the Douglas County Library, died Monday morning in a two-vehicle crash near Glenwood in central Minnesota. The broadside collision happened about 7:45 a.m. on Minnesota Highway 29 and Pope County Road 28 north of Glenwood, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. Simmons was driving a 2013 Nissan Maxima.
ST. PAUL – Something can be done about gun violence in Minnesota. Gun rights and gun control advocates generally agree on that point, but they don’t necessarily agree on what comes next. “To do nothing … is to give up,” Mary Streufert of Duluth said. Her daughter, Carin, was shot and killed 21 years ago, and she said if a law change can save any lives “it will make a big difference.”
FARGO — Drought conditions in North Dakota and western Minnesota should get better this spring, but farmers will rely more on spottier thunderstorms and conditions will get dry again in August and September, says one of the region’s leading weather and climate experts. “It’s all going to be about timing this year,” says Leon Osborne of Grand Forks, N.D., president and CEO of Meridian Environmental Technology. He spoke to a crowd of about 300 Feb. 6 at the Northwest Farm Managers meeting in Fargo.