Republican candidate Scott Jensen says, if elected governor, he'll appoint an independent inspector-general as a watchdog for fraud and abuse in all areas of state government. Jensen says there's no question that the "Feeding Our Future" scandal would not have happened, if Minnesota had an inspector general: "I think this person would have been going to (Attorney General) Keith Ellison and (Governor) Tim Walz saying, we've got a major problem and we need to sue Feeding Our Future. We need to play offense, not just be on our heels playing defense." Attorney General Ellison and Governor Walz say the state identified [...]
Senator Tina Smith is advancing a bill that would enforce insurance companies to cover mental health services. She said this bill dates back to when Senator Paul Wellstone first made the bill to require insurance companies to cover the services in the first place. Right now the bill is in its early stages in the Senate.
The Minnesota State Patrol is pleased with the results of Project 20-22 which was conducted over six weekends from May through September. Lieutenant Gordon Shank says officers across the state made more than 37-hundred traffic stops: "Over two-thousand-700 of those were for speed enforcement, we had 144 seat belt contacts, 137 distracted drivers that were stopped, and we also had 61 impaired driving arrests. If you look at nothing else look at the impaired drivers that we removed from the roadway. That's a success for us because we know that fatal crashes do occur with impaired driving." Shank says the goal [...]
Governor Tim Walz is responding after a week's worth of calls from state Republican leaders, including his opponent in the governor's race Scott Jensen, for an investigation into the Walz administration's handling of the $250 million Feeding Our Future fraud scheme. Walz initially said a Ramsey County judge ordered the Department of Education to continue payments to Feeding our Future--even after it discovered suspicious activity. The judge denied giving such an order... "I'm not going to split hairs on the judge with this, the fact of the matter is, I didn't want them (suspects) to get the money, but we followed [...]
Volunteers from Minnesota and around the country are mobilizing help to people in areas impacted by Hurricane Ian. The American Red Cross's Sue Thesenga says here at home... "You can help people by donating to the American Red Cross disaster email@example.com backslash MN DAKS." Thesenga says more than 50 volunteers from Minnesota and Dakotas are deployed on standby to help provide safe shelter, meals and comfort to those in need.
Aging infrastructure is a problem for many rural healthcare providers. John Monson with farm credit cooperative Compeer Financial says facilities are lacking across the country: "We have two people in a room, we've run into this and the number of cases where, you know, you have a sheet down the middle, that's the privacy that they have, or they can't fit into a bathroom. And so the idea here is to update those facilities and help them have better living circumstances so that they can live up their lives where they should." Monson says many of his farmer clients end up [...]
Fall harvest is ramping up across Minnesota. MnDOT's Anne Meyer: "We want all motorists to be aware that this activity is going on that we've got some large, slow-moving farm equipment on the roadways and just to pay attention to that activity." Meyer says most farm equipment crashes and fatalities are distraction-related.
For the seventh-straight year, the state Commerce Department has approved decreases in premiums that some Minnesota businesses pay for work-comp insurance. Deputy Commissioner Julia Dreier says: "It's really because of the good work that businesses are doing.... Businesses in Minnesota,... they've been very safety-conscious. They're continuing to implement safety measures." Average premiums in what’s known as the "Assigned Risk Plan" will go down nearly seven percent beginning in 2023 after a 7.8-percent decrease in 2022.
The state Department of Traffic Safety is rolling out another round of grants for school bus stop arm camera systems. Spokesman Mike Hanson says this latest round of funding 2.9 million dollars to 21 schools and transportation companies around Minnesota: "We've seen a growing and very concerning issue on Minnesota roads with drivers who are disregarding the extended stop arms when school buses are picking up or dropping off our kids before or after school." In the past five years, law enforcement cited 4,652 drivers for stop-arm violations.
School districts across the state can now apply for funding to increase their purchase of fresh, locally grown, nutritious foods in school meal programs. Emily Mehr(Mayor), is with the Minnesota Department of Ag: "We actually have about $3.5 million available for schools throughout the state to purchase local Minnesota-grown and raised food. In addition to that, we also have almost $750,000 for those schools to purchase kitchen equipment that they will use to support their Farm to School efforts." Mehr says these grants will help to strengthen our state’s local and regional markets, support small and emerging farmers, and ensure our [...]