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Why paid family leave has a good shot at passage at the Minnesota Capitol

Plus: No lighted ice maze in Stillwater this winter; Minnesota State Fair CEO to retire; woman who fell in Minneapolis parking lot run over and killed; and more.

Minnesota State Capitol
Minnesota State Capitol
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

For MPR News, Dana Ferguson says, “After years of coming up short at the Minnesota Capitol, supporters of a paid family and medical leave program have a clear shot at getting a plan across the finish line in 2023. Democratic leaders in the Legislature and Gov. Tim Walz said the issue will be a top priority next year. And with DFLers holding the levers of power at the Capitol next year, the proposal has a new fast track to passage. That’s left supporters including faith leaders, labor unions and health care groups hopeful about their prospects. Meanwhile, business groups said they’re worried the proposal is a one-size-fits-all approach.”

For the Pioneer Press, Mary Divine reports, “The lighted ice maze attraction that brought thousands of visitors to downtown Stillwater over the last two years will not be back in Stillwater this year, officials said Monday. Officials from the Zephyr Theatre in downtown Stillwater, where the ice maze was built, and officials from Minnesota Ice, the company that provides the ice, could not come to an agreement, said Robin Anthony, executive director of the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce.”

Stribber Hunter Woodall reports, “Republican Speaker hopeful Kevin McCarthy is vowing to stop Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar from serving on the Foreign Affairs Committee just days after the GOP won control of the U.S. House. ‘Last year, I promised that when I became Speaker, I would remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee based on her repeated anti-semitic and anti-American remarks,’ McCarthy tweeted with a video of his speech at a Republican Jewish Coalition event in Las Vegas over the weekend. ‘I’m keeping that promise.’”

For KSTP-TV Kyle Brown says, “Longtime Minnesota State Fair CEO Jerry Hammer announced Monday he will retire from his post this spring. When he hands off the leadership role to a successor, it will end Hammer’s five-decade career with the Great Minnesota Get-Together, including 26 years as the fair’s CEO — the longest such tenure in State Fair history, according to a news release.”

Also at KSTP, this from Jay Kolls, “Last year, in Minnesota, COVID cases were flooding hospitals and there were restrictions and recommendations across the state to help prevent the spread of the latest variant along with new vaccines emerging as well. Masks, social distancing, vaccinations and testing were highly recommended this time a year ago.  In many public spaces, they were mandatory. In 2022, things look much different as COVID hospitalizations and deaths have gone down dramatically and those restrictions and recommendations for social gatherings have also gone away, for the most part, as Thanksgiving and the holiday season approach this week.”

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A Paul Walsh story in the Strib says, “A woman who fell in a Minneapolis parking lot was run over and killed by a driver who left the scene and later made contact with police, officials said Monday. The suspected hit-and-run happened about 8:15 p.m. Sunday in the 800 block of E. Hennepin Avenue, police said. The parking lot is for Eli’s East Food & Cocktails. … Emergency responders came to the 55-year-old woman’s aid, but she was declared dead at the scene, according to police. Her identity has yet to be released.”

A Minnesota Reformer story by Glenn Howatt says, “Christopher Johns got into the habit of donating blood when he was in high school.  But after graduation and coming out as gay, he was surprised to learn that blood banks would refuse donations from him and other gay men who were sexually active. … Now a fourth-year medical student at the University of Minnesota, Johns has devoted part of his studies to understanding the ban and how lifting the ban might affect blood donations of other men who have male sexual partners.”

Stribber Christopher Snowbeck says, “The Justice Department is appealing a September ruling that found the government failed to show how an acquisition by UnitedHealth Group would harm competition. Last month, Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth closed on its $13 billion deal to acquire Change Healthcare, a health care data firm based in Tennessee, following the ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols.”