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Legislature considers bill requiring menstrual products in school bathrooms; GOP tries to amend

Plus: Minnesota House further protects abortion rights; COVID-19 trends in Minnesota flat; HCMC seeing increase in slip and fall injuries; and more.

State Rep. Dean Urdahl
State Rep. Dean Urdahl
At FoxNews Matteo Cina says, “The Minnesota Legislature is considering a bill that would require all public and charter schools to make menstrual products available in school bathrooms, including boys’ bathrooms. The bill, House File 44, would make it so ‘A school district or charter school must provide students access to menstrual products at no charge. The products must be available in restrooms used by students in grades 4 to 12.’  Rep. Dean Urdahl, Republican, proposed an amendment to clarify that the menstrual products should be available in restrooms used by female students.”

At MPR News Dana Ferguson says, “The Minnesota House of Representatives late Thursday approved a proposal to enshrine in state law the right to an abortion – and access to other reproductive health care. After hours of passionate debate, the House voted 69-65 to pass the bill. The Senate is expected to debate it next week. Gov. Tim Walz has said he would sign it into law if it reaches his desk. Only one Democrat, Rep. Gene Pelowski of Winona, joined all House Republicans in opposing the bill. The rest of the DFLers in the House voted for it.”

This from Stribber Jeremy Olson, “COVID-19 trends remain flat or improving in Minnesota, despite new coronavirus variants taking hold in a population that has fallen behind on vaccine recommendations. Minnesota hospitals reported only 398 inpatient cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday — the first time since mid-October that the total had been below 400, according to Thursday’s state pandemic situation update. Viral loads in wastewater declined slightly on Monday across all six state reporting regions, according to the latest University of Minnesota monitoring data.”

Also in the Strib, this from Tim Harlow and Lewis Krauss: “In a season that has seen more than double the amount of snow that typically falls by mid-January, cities on Thursday afternoon called another round of snow emergencies, forcing drivers to move their cars off the street. In St. Paul, officials canceled citywide residential snow plowing that was scheduled for Thursday and Friday. The city had planned to plow north-south residential streets to clean up from previous snowfalls, but instead declared a snow emergency beginning at 9 p.m. Thursday. It is the fifth one this season, said public works spokeswoman Lisa Hiebert. In a tweet just before 3:30 p.m., Minneapolis said it didn’t plan to call a snow emergency, but many suburbs did. Those that did included Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Eden Prairie, Hopkins, Osseo, Plymouth, Robbinsdale, St. Louis Park and West St. Paul.”

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This from WCCO-TV, “Governor Tim Walz announced Thursday the second of four packages within the One Minnesota Budget meant to invest in the state’s economic future. The governor announced the first package focused on education and childcare earlier this week. The $4.1 billion proposal would provide paid family and medical leave, increase support for small businesses and expand critical sectors of Minnesota’s workforce.

A KARE-TV story by Danny Spewak says, “HCMC in downtown Minneapolis is among the many facilities seeing their usual increase in slip-and-fall injuries, due to the snowy and icy winter conditions. Dr. Stephen Smith, an emergency physician with Hennepin Healthcare, said these patients have flooded into the Emergency Department for roughly the past month. ‘Lots of fractures. Lots of wrist fractures, especially. Ankle fractures. People fall and hit their head’, Smith said. ‘Falls, in general, even without the ice, are one of the most common things we see.’ In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 800,000 patients are hospitalized every year because of falls, often impacting older people. Falls are also the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.”

In the Minnesota Reformer Christopher Ingraham says, “With nearly a decade of legal weed experience behind them, Colorado and Washington provide the most data for comparison. And in both states, the most striking finding is how little has changed overall: Legalization proved to be neither the universal panacea envisioned by some proponents, nor the disaster many opponents warned about.  Below, we’ve collected data on some of the outcomes that have come up repeatedly in the marijuana debate in Minnesota. Many of them — like road safety and mental health — are complicated social phenomena driven by many different factors, making it difficult for even the most careful researchers to make definitive claims about legalization’s effects. Nevertheless, some trends are emerging.”

Also at MPR News, this from Michelle Wiley, “Minnesota health officials are not seeing signs of more flu cases at a time when we usually get sick. The preliminary data from the weekly Influenza and Respiratory Illness Activity Report looking at Jan. 8-14 shows a decline in new hospitalizations for both influenza and the respiratory virus RSV. Outbreaks of respiratory disease in schools have also remained fairly flat for the past few weeks. The data is particularly striking since a few weeks after holiday gatherings, health officials typically see influenza activity peak.”