Minnesota lawmakers kicked off the new session Thursday with a sweeping package of unusual legislative priorities.
An interesting new idea from some Minnesota lawmakers this year: Cancel next year’s legislative session. The “No Session 2016″ movement began the first hour of the first day of the 2015 legislature, when top leaders revealed that they’re talking about it.
Members of the newly-elected Minnesota House took the oath of office in a major construction zone Tuesday. The Capitol is shrouded in scaffolding. Lawmakers and their families navigated closed-off hallways and long elevator lines to open the session. The new Republican majority selected Rep. Kurt Daudt as the powerful house speaker.
The U.S. Government said Tuesday the nation’s economy grew at a whopping 5 percent annual rate last summer. That’s the fastest growth since 2003, including jobs coming back to the Midwest.
The widow of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle says she’ll have to pay lawsuit damages to former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura out of her own pocket. Ventura won the lawsuit in July after he claimed he was defamed by Kyle’s book. Taya Kyle says she’s on the hook for most of the $1.8 million in damages awarded to the former Minnesota governor.
The Minnesota State Capitol restoration makes the building look the way it did more than 100 years ago, when Minnesota’s best craftsmen built its most visible public landmark. But this project is repairing a century of cover-ups and patch-overs. Project Manager Jason McMillan showed us skylights hidden for decades above false ceilings.
The new Vikings stadium has 200,000 square feet of glass as part of its iconic design. Glass fabrication is well under way, with installation beginning in February. But officials overseeing construction of the billion-dollar facility met last week with bird advocates and the Vikings at 3M headquarters in Maplewood, telling lawmakers they asked the company if it could develop a new 3M adhesive film to cover the glass.
Minnesota joins 32 other states with policies for transgender athletes on high school sports teams. But that doesn’t make it any less controversial. Minnesota transgender students can choose a sports team if parents and health care professionals can prove their gender-related identity. Students don’t need proof of sex-change surgery or hormone therapy.
Talk of tax cuts has followed word that Minnesota’s budget will run up a $1 billion surplus. Top Democrats and Republicans separately raised the prospect Thursday of giving tax breaks with a portion of the surplus. The first dose could come soon in the next session as lawmakers weigh whether to match up Minnesota’s deductions and credits more closely with those at the federal level.
AAA is forecasting more travelers will hit the road this Thanksgiving than at any time since 2007.
The final election results are in: Minnesota had its lowest voter turnout since 1986. The state canvassing board officially certified the 2014 voter turnout at 50.5 percent. It’s one of the last official acts for Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.
Shashi Chopra sat at her kitchen table, surrounded by her husband, and two children, and cried a little as she recalled that accident in March of 2013.
The Minnesota Vikings are putting more money into the new stadium under construction in downtown Minneapolis. The Vikes are adding another $647,000 for stadium extras, from sideline seating to food concessions. The latest upgrades include upgrading the team’s locker room, expanding cooking and concession areas and adding end-zone seating areas it calls “Red Zone Mini-Suites.”
The executive director of Minnesota’s health insurance exchange says a mostly problem-free weekend rollout netted more than 500 enrollees.
Connie Grover has been in the bar-and-restaurant business for more than 30 years. So she’s accustomed to sudden change. But she was stunned to get a letter from PreferredOne saying her monthly insurance rates are going up 160 percent. “I couldn’t believe how high the rate went,” Grover said. “I just couldn’t believe it.”