Author: Leslie Perkins

Gov. Tim Walz and Republican-endorsed challenger Scott Jensen had their first debate for Minnesota governor at FarmFest in rural Morgan, Minnesota, on Wednesday. Photo by Michelle GriffithMORGAN, MINN. — Gov. Tim Walz and his Republican opponent Scott Jensen shared a stage for the first time Wednesday at Farmfest, where they debated COVID-19, school spending and the government’s role in the lives of Minnesotans.  In an audience full of farmers and ag industry workers, crowds loudly cheered for Jensen when he criticized Walz for his COVID-19 executive orders, and when he implied Walz bore responsibility for Twin Cities crime rates. “We…

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Preserving crop insurance is a major priority. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images. Major U.S. agricultural production groups are pulling together their requests for the next farm bill — the massive legislation that Congress rewrites every five years to set farm and food policy — with crop insurance and disaster assistance on the top of their lists.  A panel of executives from farm groups detailed some of their concerns and requests for the next farm bill Tuesday at the Minnesota FarmFest, an agribusiness fair organized by the American Farm Bureau.  The panel brought together major agriculture groups representing pork, cattle, corn,…

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Deputies in Virginia process an eviction. The tenants had already departed and the deputies, after checking the unit to make sure it’s empty, watch as the owner changes the unit’s locks. Photo by Virginia Mercury. WASHINGTON — Witnesses in a Tuesday hearing detailed to a U.S. Senate committee how investors and stagnant wages are driving an eviction and housing crisis across the U.S.  The chair of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, said that families are being priced out of buying homes, and rising rents mean that tenants are “just one illness or job…

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Minnesota Nurses Association President Mary Turner announces at a news conference in Minneapolis on August 2, 2022 that nurses took a vote of no confidence in the executives of four health systems — Fairview Health Services, Children’s Minnesota, North Memorial and St. Luke’s Duluth. Photo by Max Nesterak/minnesotadigest.com.Unionized nurses at seven Minnesota hospitals say they’ve taken a vote of no confidence in hospital management, ratcheting up the pressure on negotiations over pay, benefits and working conditions. “As a result of the corporate health care policies pursued by hospital executives … hospitals are understaffed, nurses are overworked, and patients are overcharged,”…

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Kasey Copeland, a Starbucks barista and union organizer, urges cars to honk their support of their two-day strike at the Starbucks at 47th Street and Cedar Avenue on July 31, 2022. Photo by Max Nesterak/minnesotadigest.com.Starbucks workers at a south Minneapolis store are on strike, joining workers in Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia and other cities who are ramping up pressure as they seek to negotiate union contracts. Customers who pulled up to the drive-thru on Sunday morning at 4712 Cedar Avenue were told there’d be no coffee today or tomorrow but other Starbucks locations were still open as usual. Workers say the…

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Sen. Tina Smith, pictured here in a Getty file photo, signed on to the letter, along with Rep. Ilhan Omar. WASHINGTON  — More than 100 congressional Democrats — including Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith and Rep. Ilhan Omar — are urging the White House to extend the pause on student loan repayment beyond the Aug. 31 deadline. In a Thursday letter to President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, U.S. Senate and House Democrats argue that due to inflation and an ongoing coronavirus pandemic, student loan borrowers should get an extension on pausing their loan payments.  “This much needed…

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A bowl of General Mills’ Lucky Charms. Photo Illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images. Editor’s note: This story is part of an occasional series looking at Minnesota companies’ lobbying presence in Washington. Previous editions have included 3M and Cargill.  WASHINGTON — The Minnesota-based food manufacturing giant best known for its sugary cereals and snacks is slowly expanding its lobbying operation in the nation’s capital as a Democratic-led Congress reviews sweeping food policy legislation.  General Mills spent $730,000 on lobbying in the first half of this year — close to what it spent in all of 2021, and more than it spent…

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar: “Enemies of our democracy sought to exploit the provisions of this antiquated law to subvert the results of a free and fair election.”  Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images. WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and legal experts at a U.S. Senate hearing on Wednesday outlined the need to pass legislation clarifying an archaic election law so that the peaceful transfer of presidential power is ensured. The Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, a bipartisan bill being pushed by 16 senators, was proposed after the former president tried to exploit a law passed in the 19th century in an…

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Photo by Andy Manis/Getty Images. WASHINGTON — Democrats on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday explored how to combat violent threats lodged against election officials, while Republicans questioned why the Department of Justice isn’t doing more to investigate threats against crisis pregnancy centers and Supreme Court justices. During a hearing on protecting election officials, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. discussed how the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force is prosecuting people who have threatened election officials. To date, the task force has investigated more than 1,000 complaints and has prosecuted five people.  The hearing comes as states are…

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File photo of President Joe Biden, by Ricardo Lopez/Minnesota Reformer WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will sign an executive order Wednesday that aims to help pregnant patients cover the cost of travel to access abortion health care, a senior administrative official said. The executive order does not protect access to abortion, which was overturned in late June by the conservative majority of the Supreme Court when it struck down the constitutional right to an abortion and left the decision up to states. The White House is limited in what it can do, and the burden has fallen on Congress to…

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