Minnesota’s insulin affordability plan had been sold as a compromise with the drug industry. That made the filing of the lawsuit galling to some, including Gov. Tim Walz, who said when told of PhRMA’s suit: “What the hell?”
The head of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association also cautioned bar owners that not following the state’s guidelines to stem COVID-19 infections “may end up being the reason for our Governor to dial back,” on reopening. “We have to do better.”
So far, the numbers have indicated that Minnesotans are on board in making the shift to voting by mail. As of Friday, the Secretary of State reported that 207,835 absentee ballot applications had been received. That compares to 8,964 applications at the same point in 2016.
Repeated statements by GOP leaders at the Minnesota Legislature make it clear they see any problems with policing as a more of a Minneapolis issue than a systemic one.
The Minnesota Department of Health also said Tuesday that there have been 33,469 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota, up 242 from Monday’s count.
For now, it’s unclear when lawmakers will return to the Capitol. What’s also unclear, especially given the partisan differences exposed once again last week, is what the Legislature will be able to accomplish once it does return.
While many in the GOP had previously been uneasy about using state money to raise rates for the Child Care Assistance Program amid fraud concerns, the deal brokered Friday will use only federal cash to hike reimbursements to meet federal standards.
The failure to agree was in part a result of genuine policy differences. Yet Republicans and Democrats also accused each other of negotiating with an eye toward the 2020 elections.
Thirteen of the 17 deaths announced Friday by the Minnesota Department of Health were among residents of long-term care facilities. Of the 1,361 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota, 1,077 have been among residents of long-term care.
GOP Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka admitted that what had once been a civil relationship between him and Walz has weakened, citing the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown, the emotions sparked by the death of George Floyd and the upcoming election.
State legislators came close to passing an omnibus education policy bill during the regular session’s final moments, but it didn’t happen. Now two bills are being considered in the House.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon’s decision to strike deals with two groups suing Minnesota over the state’s witness requirement for absentee ballots drew quick criticism from Republicans, who called the deals an end-run around the Legislature by a DFL secretary of state and friendly plaintiffs.
MDH also said Wednesday there have been 31,296 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of positives is up 414 from Tuesday’s count and is based on 19,573 new tests.
A slate of five bills okayed by the Minnesota Senate includes a ban on most chokeholds and neck restraints as well as reporting requirements for use-of-force data. Gov. Tim Walz and House DFLers say the measures don’t go far enough.
Gov. Tim Walz expressed “concern” about the bipartisan bill, which would distribute $841 million of the state’s allocation from the federal CARES Act to Minnesota cities, counties and townships, based on population.
For years, Minnesota has prohibited both public and private employers from asking job-seekers about their criminal history on initial application forms. Yet it somehow still allows the question to appear on applications for one class of job: appointments to state boards and commissions.
More than a dozen police departments contacted by MinnPost said their officers are not allowed to use neck restraints or chokeholds, with many saying the tactics had been out of use for as long as they could remember.
The main target of the suits is the state law requiring an absentee voter to have another registered voter witness the voting process — and the voter’s ballot signature.
It’s not as though the DFL-controlled House and GOP-controlled Senate can’t or won’t acknowledge each other’s goals. It’s just that it isn’t going to be a top priority for what will be a unique special session of the Minnesota Legislature.
There have now been a total of 27,886 confirmed cases and 1,186 deaths from COVID-19 in Minnesota.