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Another Republican refuses to ban Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee

Plus: St. Paul to consider boost for homebuying program; national parks on Lake Superior shoreline to go carbon-free; Ellison goes after pool building company; and more.

Rep. Ilhan Omar
Rep. Ilhan Omar
REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

At Axios Sareen Habeshian and Andrew Solender say, “Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colorado, on Friday joined a group of House Republicans opposed to kicking Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, off the Foreign Affairs Committee, putting the high-profile effort dangerously close to failing. Why it matters: It could lead to another destabilizing loss for Republicans on the House floor just weeks after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-California, took 15 ballots to capture the speaker’s gavel amid defections from his party. Driving the news: Buck, a member of the right-wing Freedom Caucus, told NBC News’ Chuck Todd he is against Republicans removing Democrats like Omar from their committees.”

Says Stribber Kelly Smith, “The workers at Southern Anoka Community Assistance (SACA) share desks and must store food at two off-site locations because their workplace is so cramped. That’s why the food shelf is hoping for $2.5 million from the state of Minnesota to open a new facility that triples its size. ‘We just outgrew it, and we want to do more for the community,’ said Dave Rudolph, SACA’s co-director. ‘[The state does] have a lot of money. This is a one-time thing.’ SACA is one of many Minnesota nonprofits seeking state funding this year at the Capitol to support new facilities or expanded programs. Given the state’s historic $17.6 billion budget surplus, they’re vying with cities, counties and other entities for funding through the surplus or bonding.”

For the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo writes, “At the urging of St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, the St. Paul City Council is poised to add up to $2 million next month to expand a 3-year-old fund to promote home-buying, on top of efforts to boost home rehabilitation among the city’s low- to moderate-income residents. The newly reorganized ‘Inheritance Fund’ eases eligibility restrictions, drops purchase-price limits and adds cash for first-generation homebuyers, and even more money for displaced residents from the city’s historic Rondo neighborhood, as well as their descendants.”

At Sheri McWirter says, “The five national parks along the Lake Superior shoreline will completely decarbonize buildings and vehicles within four years, a challenging goal meant to match the urgent need for climate action. The Lake Superior national parks are expected to be the first nationwide to comprehensively decarbonize, which means to eliminate carbon-dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. … Three of the Lake Superior national parks are in Michigan: Isle Royale, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising, and Keweenaw National Historic Park in Calumet. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is in Wisconsin and Grand Portage National Monument is in Minnesota.”

For WCCO-TV Adam Duxter says, “You may have heard recently about the artificial intelligence program Chat GPT.  Some University of Minnesota law professors wanted to find out if it could pass their final exams. Professor Dan Schwarcz had his doubts, but as he graded his students’ exams he genuinely couldn’t tell which one was written by a student and which was written by an AI program. ‘The questions we ask on law school exams are not ‘tell me when this law was passed,’ or the types of things you can ask Google to give you an answer,’ Schwarcz said. In the end, the test taken by ChatGPT passed with a C+.”

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For Joyann Jeffrey says, “It’s not what you say, it’s the speed at which you say it, at least according to one recent study that ranks U.S. states by speech rates. On TODAY Jan. 24, Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Craig Melvin learned which states have the fastest speaking residents and which have the slowest talkers across the U.S. Preply, an online language learning platform, analyzed two studies based on YouTube videos and call recordings to make up the report’s findings — and some of the results left the co-hosts speechless. Minnesota took home the gold as the state with the fastest talking residents, clocking in at 5.34 syllables per second, followed by Oregon, Iowa, Kansas and North Dakota.”

For Joe Nelson says, “The 2023 season could be the first without Aaron Rodgers in the NFC North since Justin Jefferson was 6 years old. That’s how long the Green Bay quarterback has been striking fear into opponents. But times are changing and if ESPN’s Adam Schefter is accurate with his latest report Sunday morning, the Packers would prefer to trade Rodgers this offseason and pass the baton to backup quarterback Jordan Love. … The team impacted most by a Rodgers trade is clearly Minnesota. Detroit and Chicago are on the rise, but the Vikings have to decide whether to run it back with an aging roster or to hit the reset button to avoid setting the franchise on a slower track to a championship level than Green Bay.”

A BringMeTheNews story says, “A judgment in a lawsuit filed by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison bans a pool building company from residential construction in the state and requires it to pay more than $2 million. On Friday, a default judgment was issued against Charles Workman and his company, MN Crete Pools, LLC, after Ellison accused the company of defrauding customers looking to buy pools. The judgment bans Workman and the company from the residential construction industry in Minnesota. Workman and his company must also pay $1.1 million in restitution to the victims, $1.1 million in civil penalties, and state attorney fees.”

At KSTP-TV Richard Reeve says, “For anyone living outside or in a tent this weekend, this latest cold snap is much more than an inconvenience. It can be life-threatening. … According to the Homelessness Management Information System, a database used by advocacy groups, more than 7,900 Minnesotans will experience homelessness on any given night. Of that, nearly 2,200 people are living in Hennepin County, according to the Office to End Homelessness.”

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