Christopher Magan / St. Paul Pioneer Press
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."
ST. PAUL — Starting July 2, Sunday beer runs to Wisconsin and North Dakota will be a thing of the past for Minnesota residents. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill Tuesday that repeals the 159-year-old ban on the state's liquor stores operating on Sundays. For consumers, the repeal was a long time coming. Minnesota is one of a dozen states with so-called "blue laws" that ban liquor stores from operating on Sundays.
ST. PAUL—Champagne corks could soon be popping — a bill repealing Minnesota's 159-year-old ban on Sunday liquor store sales is headed to Gov. Mark Dayton. The Minnesota House voted 88-39 on Thursday to accept the Senate's version of a bill repealing the ban that's been on the books since statehood. Gov. Mark Dayton has said he will sign a repeal if it reached his desk.
SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn. — South St. Paul is the latest school district to deal with hurtful comments made by students in the wake of the Nov. 8 presidential election. A video of a student making racist comments and telling racist jokes to classmates was posted to Facebook and was watched more than 7,000 times before it was taken down Tuesday. In the video, a group of students is having a heated political discussion with one student accusing another of being racist. The student responds by making racist comments and shouting "Trump" as the video ends abruptly.