Minimum Wage Increase Bill Advances; Negotiations Over Pulltabs Reach Compromise; Daudt’s Seat Remains On Republican’s Ledger

>>Proposal To Raise Statewide Minimum Wage Advances

(St. Paul, MN)    A proposal that would raise the minimum wage in Minnesota to 15-dollars an hour is advancing in the state Senate.  The Labor Committee passed the measure yesterday, allowing it to be part of a larger employment bill that will be considered later in the session.  The proposal would raise the minimum wage for all businesses to 15-dollars an hour this year and mandate a one-dollar and 25-cent increase each year after that.  The rate would reach 20-dollars an hour in 2028.  The state’s current minimum wage for large businesses is ten-85, while the minimum for small businesses is eight-85. (24/7 News Source)

(St. Paul) The House sponsor of a sports betting bill announced a deal Tuesday to settle an electronic pulltabs matter that had the potential to scuttle the entire gambling legalization effort.

Rep. Zack Stephenson of Coon Rapids said the arrangement he brokered resolves the concerns of the Allied Charities of Minnesota (ACM) that runs charitable pulltab operations in bars and restaurants throughout the state. ACM has been concerned that changes to electronic pulltabs would curb its income. In 2023, the DFL-controlled Legislature banned the “open-all” feature on electronic pulltabs, meaning the tabs had to be opened individually and not with a single touch.

The electronic pulltab change came about after years of legal challenges and lobbying by the tribes. The state’s tribes argued that since becoming legal in 2012 electronic pulltabs had become so dynamic that they mimicked slot machines in violation of tribes’ exclusive rights to operate casino games in the state. (Star Tribune)

>>Republican Lawrence Wins Special Election For House Seat

(St. Paul, MN)    Republican Bryan Lawrence has won a special election to replace former state Representative Kurt Daudt in the Minnesota House. Lawrence defeated DFL candidate Brad Brown in the election to replace Daudt, who resigned before the current session to take a new job.  His election will not affect the balance of power in the House, with Democrats holding a 70-64 majority in the chamber.(24/7 News Source)

>>Autopsy Declares Officer-Involved Death In Willmar A Homicide

(Willmar, MN)    A medical examiner is calling the January death of a Willmar man a homicide.  Seventy-five-year-old Michael Yanacheak died on January 29th after he was tased by a Kandiyohi County deputy.  Law enforcement officers had gone to Yanacheak’s apartment to evict him and the elderly man reportedly walked toward them with a knife.  An autopsy determined that Yanacheak died from blunt force trauma caused by hitting his head after he was tased.  The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says his death is still under investigation.(24/7 News Source)

(Nashwauk) Mesabi Metallics has lost another bid for coveted mineral leases on the Iron Range after the Minnesota Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal challenging a decision by state officials to award those leases to rival Cleveland-Cliffs.

The Star Tribune reports the ruling by a three-judge panel said Mesabi did not have legal standing to fight the Department of Natural Resources in the case tied to state taconite mining rights for more than 2,600 acres of land in Nashwauk.

The DNR had revoked the leases in 2021 after the beleaguered Mesabi missed a key deadline while pursuing its long-delayed taconite mine and partly built processing plant. (Star Tribune)

>>Saga Of “Oz” Ruby Slippers Continues With Proposal In State Legislature

(St. Paul, MN)    The ongoing saga of a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the “Wizard of Oz” is continuing in Minnesota.  The shoes were stolen from the Garland museum in Grand Rapids in 2005 and recovered by the FBI in 2018.  The slippers were returned to their original owner last month and are being taken on a world tour before going up for auction in December.  A state Senate committee heard a proposal yesterday that would set aside an unspecified amount of money to try to buy the slippers.  They would then go on permanent display somewhere in the state.  The value of the shoes is estimated at over three-million dollars. (24/7 News Source)

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