NEWS SUMMARY 5/16

New Regulations For Educators And Students; Walz Announces Childcare Grants; Legislature Adjusts Cannabis Laws

>>MN Lawmakers Pass Education Bill

(St. Paul, MN)    Minnesota schools will be required to modify reading instruction and implement new cell phone policies thanks to a bill passed by state lawmakers yesterday.  The education policy package was passed by the House in a 68-to-59 vote after already being approved by the Senate.  The bill modifies last year’s “Read Act” law to increase student progress screenings and give more time for teachers to learn new instruction methods.  The bill also prohibits book bans in schools and will offer mental health instruction in grades four through 12.  The bill now heads to the governor for his signature. (24/7 News Source)

>>Paid Family Leave Bill Passes In Minnesota House

(St. Paul, MN)    Minnesota’s proposed addendum to the paid family and medical leave bill is advancing to the state Senate.  The measure passed late last night in the Minnesota House of Representatives.  If the legislation passes in the senate, the changes would take effect in 2026, giving qualifying employees up to 12 weeks of family leave and 12 weeks of medical leave each year.  However, there is a hard cap of 20 weeks total between the two categories.

>>Walz Announces Six Million In New Childcare Grants

(Minneapolis, MN) — Governor Tim Walz has unveiled a six-million-dollar grant initiative aimed at bolstering childcare accessibility across Minnesota. The funds, distributed through the Department of Employment and Economic Development, will support 21 community organizations in expanding childcare services. The investment is anticipated to create over 2,200 additional childcare slots, addressing the growing demand for childcare facilities in both urban and rural areas of the state. (24/7 News Source)

>>Cannabis Growing Will Be Allowed For Some Earlier Than Expected

(St. Paul) Cannabis growers who meet social equity criteria could begin growing marijuana later this year under a bill finalized by Minnesota lawmakers on Wednesday. This is an adjustment to help secure enough product to meet demand as preparation progresses.The Star Tribune is reporting that the state is also poised to change how it will award cannabis business licenses, shifting from a points-based scoring system for applications to a lottery for qualified applicants.Those are the topline items in an expansive policy bill that would make numerous changes to Minnesota’s recreational marijuana law. Legislators have sent the bill to the House and Senate for final passage.(Star Tribune)

>>2024 Blood Screening Event Today And Tomorrow In Bemidji

(Bemidji) The Bemidji Rotary Club and Sanford Health are hosting the 2024 Blood Screening event in Bemidji through tomorrow from 7AM to 10 AM each day at Sanford Bemidji’s main hospital entrance at 1300 Anne St NW.A press release for the event states  the cost is $35. The fee covers the collection of samples, a results report of analysis, professional analysis of samples, and refreshment after the blood sample is drawn. Appointments are needed. Call 218-333-2277 to schedule your blood screening.

>>Bail Extended For Man Accused Of Manslaughter In MN Hockey Player Death

(South Yorkshire, England)    A man accused of manslaughter in England for the death of a Minnesota native during a hockey game has had his bail extended.  Police in South Yorkshire, England announced Tuesday that they are still investigating the death of Adam Johnson.  The Hibbing native died last October after his throat was slashed by another player’s skate blade during a game in Sheffield.  Police have not placed charges against the man arrested for Johnson’s death, but said his bail has been extended through June 26th.  Police say the investigation is complicated and that Johnson’s family remains foremost in their minds.

>>Wildfire In Superior National Forest Being Monitored

(Duluth, MN)    Fire crews are keeping an eye on a wildfire reported in the Superior National Forest yesterday.  Officials say a prescribed burn in the Tofte Ranger District went out of control around 1 p.m.  The fire spread beyond the burn area and firefighters are using ground and air resources to control it.  No estimate of the amount of land burned by the fire has been released.(24/7 News Source)

>>Native American Students Protest Decision To Remove Song From Graduation

(Hinckley, MN)    Native American students at a  Minnesota high school are upset that the school board has banned a tribal song from being performed at graduation.  The Hinckley-Finlayson school board voted Monday to bar a tribal drum group from performing a traditional Ojibwe traveling song during next week’s ceremony.  District officials have defended the decision as an effort to keep the ceremony focused on graduates and avoid any perception of endorsing a particular religion.  Students walked out of class to protest the decision the last two days and a petition to keep the song in the ceremony has received more than two-thousand signatures.(24/7 News Source)

>>MN Couple Stranded In Brazil After Baby Born Prematurely

(Florianopolis, Brazil)    A Minnesota couple is stranded in Brazil after their baby was born prematurely at a local hospital.  Cheri and Chris Phillips of Cambridge traveled to Brazil in February knowing their baby wasn’t due for about three months.  But complications forced Cheri into the hospital and the baby boy named Greyson spent nearly two months in intensive care.  The couple is ready to come home, but Brazilian officials have refused to issue a birth certificate for Greyson.  The Phillips are facing a legal fight to leave the country unless U.S. officials step in to resolve the matter.  The office of Minnesota Senator Tina Smith says it is working with the couple to help them get back to the U.S.(24/7 News Source)



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