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Minnesota bill aims at eliminating sub-minimum pay for people with disabilities

Plus: Slate profiles staffer for Rep. Ilhan Omar; Legislature looks to improve hospital staffing; MnDOT works with rural transportation providers to serve transit riders in Greater Minnesota; and more.

Minnesota State Capitol building
Minnesota State Capitol building
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Stribber Chris Serres says, “[Todd] Beck is among hundreds of Minnesotans with disabilities who are reaping the benefits of a historic shift from segregated workplaces that pay people less than the minimum wage, a model of employment that long has been decried as outdated and discriminatory. A bill introduced this month would abolish subminimum wages for people with disabilities by August 2025, while providing millions of dollars to assist centers in helping people find jobs in the mainstream workforce. If enacted, the legislation would unleash dramatic changes at about 70 day and employment centers — also known as ‘sheltered workshops’ — across the state that benefit from a special loophole in federal labor law that allows them to pay disabled workers below the federal minimum wage.”

In Slate Aymann Ismail says, “Jeremy Slevin was sitting across from me, and he looked a little uncomfortable. He leaned forward with his hands clasped together. ‘It’s a really strange, out-of-body feeling to be sitting here as a Jew and be constantly fielding questions, attacks, and accusations of antisemitism,’ he told me. Slevin, you see, is a senior adviser to Rep. Ilhan Omar. He oversees her communications. The Minnesota Democrat has faced persistent scrutiny for her comments on Israel, 9/11, and more, which Republicans have sought to keep in the news and used to expel her from the House’s Foreign Affairs Committee last month. But Slevin himself has recently become a target. To some, he’s a ‘self-hating Jew.’ He’s like a Jewish guard at a concentration camp. He’s a Judas. He warned me before we got started that he’s turned down pretty much every request to talk to journalists. But this time, he agreed to meet me.”

For the Pioneer Press, Christopher Magan says, “Minnesota nurses and hospital leaders are divided on whether giving caregivers more say in staffing levels will bring nurses back to the bedside. Nurses unsuccessfully pushed the issue during months of contentious contract negotiations and have now turned to the Minnesota Legislature to put new staffing rules in state law. Health system leaders say the proposed changes will result in reduced hospital capacity and worse access to care. Despite those differences, the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee advanced the “Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act” on Wednesday. Sen. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, the chief sponsor of the bill and a nurse, said the Legislature has struggled to address the nurse staffing issue for over a decade.”

At WCCO-TV, Kirsten Mitchell says, “Whether you’re swerving or slowing, some potholes in the Twin Cities metro can feel unavoidable. In the land of 10,000 potholes, the problem seems to be getting worse as the freeze-and-thaw cycle continues. … If your car does end up in the shop, drivers can file a claim in the Twin Cities with forms online. If you damage your car on a state highway, you have 180 days to file a claim. MnDOT says in order to have a valid claim, it has to know about the pothole and have a reasonable amount of time to fix it. If there’s negligence on MnDOT’s end, it could be liable. Here’s where to report a pothole in Minneapolis and St. Paul and with the state. And here’s the claim information for Minneapolis, St. Paul and MnDOT.”

The story at says, “The boys’ state hockey tournament is done-and-dusted, ending on high notes with thrilling wins for Mahtomedi and Minnetonka, but … who had the best hair? John King on Sunday released his now-annual ‘All Hair Hockey Team’ videos, revealing his pick of the cuts on display at this year’s tourney. He adopted a ‘Star Wars’ theme this year, introducing this year’s ‘May The Flow Be With You’ video with references to ‘Flowbi Wan Ke-Flowbi’ and ‘C-3P-Flow.’”

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For NPR Kaitlyn Raddie says, “The Texas Department of Public Safety has urged residents to avoid spring break travel to Mexico, warning that drug cartel violence and other crime pose a significant safety threat. ‘We have a duty to inform the public about safety, travel risks and threats,’ said DPS Director Steven McCraw in a statement on Friday. ‘Based on the volatile nature of cartel activity and the violence we are seeing there; we are urging individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time.’ U.S. citizens who decide to travel to Mexico are encouraged to register with an embassy or consulate before they go, the Texas agency said.”

This, from BringMeTheNews, “Here’s how much snow fell across the state Saturday, according to the National Weather Service:

14 inches: Two Harbors

13 inches: Duluth

10 inches: Kendrick, Pine City, Merrifield

9.9 inches: Rutledge

9 inches: Munger, Iron Junction, Deerwood, Duquette

8.5 inches: Waukenabo, Sturgeon Lake

8 inches: Emmavile, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Backus, Grand Rapids, Floodwood, Rice Lake, Brainerd, Moose Lake

7.8 inches: Lester Park, Holyoke, Malmo.”

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In The New York Times Debra Kamin writes, “The majority of the population growth in the United States remains in the Sun Belt, where homes have traditionally been more affordable than in the north — although sky-high inflation is quickly changing the equation. But rising temperatures are becoming a factor for many buyers, and climate migration — choosing to move because of climate change — is now shifting from projection to reality. Duluth is coming to terms with its status as a refuge. … Duluth saw 2,494 new residents from out of state over the last five years, according to the American Community Survey. Many came armed with cash from home sales in more expensive cities and towns, as well as a newfound ability to do their jobs remotely. Real estate agents in Duluth say that nearly every out-of-town client now mentions concerns about rising temperatures and natural disasters as a motivation for their move.”

Stribber Tim Harlow says, “In the Twin Cities and more than 200 urban areas across the globe, bus and train riders, bike and scooter users and those who rely on dial-a-ride services to get around can use the Transit app to plan trips and, in some cases, prepay fares. Now those who live in southern and western Minnesota can do the same. Through a pilot program launched this month, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is working with 13 rural public transportation providers and intercity bus companies to incorporate schedules into the app, allowing riders in parts of Greater Minnesota to explore travel options using public transit and connecting services just like those in the metro.

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