Christopher Magan / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Union workers, business leaders and political activists all do it — pool money to influence votes. In what's shaping up to be the most closely watched election in recent memory, the majority of campaign spending likely won't come from the candidates seeking office or their political parties, but from outside special-interests groups.
ST. PAUL — The opioid crisis has gotten so bad that some employers are struggling to find sober workers. "The drug-testing challenge is a significant one for hiring," said Charlie Weaver, executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership, an organization of 120 CEOs from companies that employ about 400,000 Minnesotans. Weaver and the state Department of Health announced a partnership Tuesday, Sept. 18, to create an opioid toolkit for employers to help workers struggling with addiction.
ST. PAUL -- The race to be Minnesota’s next governor has already cost more than $3.5 million and the five top candidates in the running have plenty of cash to spend before the Aug. 14 primary. The two Republicans and three Democrats hoping to make it to the November election have raised nearly $5 million this year, according to pre-primary campaign finance reports.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota continues to have among the nation's best scores on a biennial assessment of students' math and reading skills, but large gaps remain between students of color and their white classmates. Results from the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, also called the Nation's Report Card, were released Tuesday, April 10. Every two years, more than half a million fourth- and eighth-graders from across the nation take the assessments.
ST. PAUL—They came to the Minnesota Capitol frustrated and angry. Many cried as they told their stories; some struggled to hold back sobs of grief. "I don't have politically correct words to say what I've seen," Corey Tanner told a Senate committee investigating the abuse of seniors and vulnerable adults. His mother, Mildred, was mistreated in a memory-care facility.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota's job market has improved to record levels for black residents although their jobless rate remains more than double the state average. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, or DEED, released a jobs report Thursday, Jan., 18, that showed 7.5 percent of black Minnesotans were unemployed in December. That's the lowest jobless rate for black residents since the state began keeping records in 2001.
ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton's administration says its efforts to make state hiring and contracting more inclusive are paying off, but there is still a long way to go before all Minnesotans have equitable representation in the government workforce. Last year, state contracts awarded to businesses owned by people of color, women and veterans grew an average of 89 percent over 2015, an increase from $40 million to $75 million. While that's impressive growth, it represents a fraction of the roughly $2.5 billion Minnesota spends with contractors each year.
ST. PAUL—After dropping for a year, Minnesota students' scores on the ACT college entrance exam are on the rise, but future access to the test might be limited. Minnesota's composite ACT score rose four-tenths of a point to 21.5 in 2017, compared with a national average of 21. The state also had the highest score of the 17 states where every eligible student takes the exam. A perfect score is 36. ACT uses students' performance on the exam to judge their college readiness, and Minnesota students made gains in all four areas: English, reading, math and science.
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans who like to hunt and fish, drive a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle or visit a state park can expect to pay more next year. The Legislature's environment and natural resources budget, which has the backing of Gov. Mark Dayton, includes about $23 million in fee increases. The measure passed the Senate with a 42-25 vote Sunday, May 21, and passed the House 83-51 shortly before 11 p.m. Under the proposal: • Resident fishing license increases by $3 to $25. • Resident deer hunting license rises $4 to $34.
ST. PAUL—Landowners are making good progress toward complying with Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's signature water-quality law, leaving the governor firmly opposed to any legislative attempts to delay or revoke the new standards. "To delay or weaken it is not acceptable and not negotiable," Dayton said Thursday, March 16, at a news conference celebrating landowners' growing compliance with a law requiring vegetative buffers be installed between public waters and private lands by November. "I want to thank the many, many farmers who have participated in this endeavor."