Cue You Know Who … Lorna Benson of MPR writes, “The Minnesota Department of Health is urging doctors to strongly recommend to their adolescent and teenage patients a vaccine that protects against one of the leading causes of some genital and oral cancers. State health experts believe physicians’ reluctance to forcefully recommend the vaccine for human papillomavirus — HPV — is one reason why vaccinations rates have stalled.”
Some interesting legal activity in St. Paul today: Jean Hopfensperger of the Strib reports, “A Ramsey District Court judge will hear arguments Tuesday afternoon over whether Catholic Church officials should be required to turn over their internal documents related to clergy child sex offenders, and whether top officials from the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis should be required to give depositions on an abuse case.”
As expected, Duluth’s City Council has voted in favor of increasing the minimum wage. Peter Passi of the News Tribune says, “Duluth became the first city in Minnesota to officially come out in favor of increasing the state’s minimum wage to at least $9.50 per hour Monday night. During a news conference earlier in the day, Mayor Don Ness lent his support to a resolution that was taken up by the Duluth City Council later that evening.”
Meanwhile, in Red Wing, Brett Boese of the Rochester Post-Bulletin says, “The Red Wing Human Rights Commission recently voted unanimously to support the brainchild of Scott Bender, who is seeking to replace Columbus Day with First Peoples Day. It’s an idea Bender has been pushing since he joined the commission nearly three years ago. But his distaste for the holiday dates back to his college days, when the country was planning the 500th anniversary of Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus discovering the New World in 1492.”
BP? Fraud? Dave Shaffer’s Strib story says, “The Minnesota Commerce Department on Monday sued BP PLC, alleging that it has fraudulently collected more than $25 million from a state fund while also being reimbursed by insurers for cleaning up leaking underground petroleum tanks. The lawsuit alleges BP violated the Minnesota’s False Claims Act, which carries the risk of triple damages. The state also accuses the oil company of misrepresentation, fraud and unjust enrichment.” You could knock me over with a feather.
Speaking of funky bookkeeping … The AP says, “Minnesota campaign regulators have issued an opinion that discourages candidates from helping independent political groups raise money that could eventually be poured back into their races. In a determination that won unanimous approval Tuesday, the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board said such activity would likely violate laws meant to keep activities of candidates and independent expenditure committees separate.” Because, you know, that is such an impermeable wall.
With trade agreements in the air, the 20th anniversary of NAFTA is getting attention. At WCCO-TV, Chris Simon writes, “NAFTA was meant to level the playing field, but Doug Peterson of the Minnesota Farmers Union says 20 years on, it’s only magnified the differences between the U.S. and Latin America. ‘We pay our people dollars per hour. In many cases and even today in Mexico, it’s dollars a day’, he said. ‘NAFTA has not been good for the United States. And as far as jobs in Minnesota, we’ve lost about 13,700 jobs as a result of NAFTA.’ ” How’s that 40-lane wide super highway from Mexico to Duluth doing?
As JOBZ fades away … Mark Sommerhauser of the St. Cloud Times says, “Economic-development officials in Central Minnesota are praising the state’s new program of financial incentives for job creation, calling it an improvement from its predecessor. State officials last month announced the launch of the new Minnesota Job Creation Fund. It replaces the state’s JOBZ program, which expires in 2015. … The Job Creation Fund, established through a law passed by legislators and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in 2013, follows a different model. The program will pay annual benefits to qualifying businesses that locate anywhere in Minnesota.”
Advanced placement is a big deal. According to the AP, “A new report by the College Board shows 17,842 Minnesota students who graduated from high school last year took the Advance Placement Exam during their high school years. That’s more than 31 percent of all graduates in the class of 2013. It’s also a big jump from 10 years ago, when over 15 percent of 2003 graduates took the test.”