>>End of Session Demands

(St. Paul, MN) — Republicans in the Minnesota House and Senate have issued their demands for the end of the legislative session, including 30 million dollars for struggling emergency medical services in Greater Minnesota — although Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson says Republican votes that Democrats need to pass a bonding bill are not contingent on it. “We don’t think we should be tying bonding to E-M-S funding. We are not gonna be negotiating on people’s lives right now. That’s just something that should be happening moving forward.” Johnson says Republicans also don’t want Democrats’ version of an Equal Rights constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2026, saying, “This is just a euphemism for really an attack on religious liberties across the state.” The proposed amendment includes abortion rights. And Republicans say the only gun-related bill the legislature should pass is to increase penalties on those who “straw purchase” firearms for felons who can’t legally have them. They oppose a ban on binary triggers on firearms, plus what’s termed a gun “safe storage” bill.

>>Backlog of Criminal Cases Cleared

(Undated) — The Minnesota Judicial Branch has successfully cleared the backlog of criminal cases accumulated during the pandemic. The major criminal pending caseload, including felony and gross misdemeanor cases, increased by 40% when the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person hearings. To address this, the MN Judicial Council implemented a multi-faceted approach, including introducing remote hearings, hiring additional staff, organizing special criminal backlog events, and more to reduce the backlog and ensure access to justice. An Access & Fairness Survey conducted from August to November 2023, which included feedback from over 15,000 residents, revealed the state’s highest-ever satisfaction rating since 2008. The survey also indicated decreased dissatisfaction rates for court wait times, dropping from 47% in 2019 to 28%.

>>Body Of Missing Kayaker Found In Kandiyohi County

(Nest Lake, MN) — Kandiyohi County officials have reportedly found the body of a Kansas man who went missing at Nest Lake. Thirty-nine-year-old Shane White went kayaking Sunday and then failed to return to his vacation rental. His empty kayak was found on the lake the same day. This morning, authorities say the body of a man was found on the Southwest side of the lake. While they haven’t confirmed it his wife posted to Facebook that her husband has recovered.

>>Sen. Smith Reintroduces Bill to Forgive Student Loan Debts for Beginning Farmers

(Washington, D.C.) — Senator Tina Smith has reintroduced the Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers and Ranchers Act to incentivize farmers to enter and stay in the agriculture industry. The proposed legislation would create a loan forgiveness program for beginning farmers, ranchers, women, veterans, and minority farmers. With the average farming age in the U.S. hitting 58 years old, Smith believes the act would reduce barriers for young farmers to take over as the current generation begins to retire.

>>Columbia Heights Votes in Favor of Resolution to Grant TPS for Ecuador

(Columbia Heights, MN) — The city of Columbia Heights unanimously voted in favor of a resolution supporting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ecuador. Heavily advocated for by Communities Organizing Latine Power and Action (COPAL), the legislation would allow Ecuadorians already in the U.S. to stay and legally work for as long as the TPS is active. COPAL says this is necessary as Minnesota has the 10th highest Ecuadorian population in the country, and Ecuadorians are being forced to flee their homes due to widespread instability, violent political unrest, and ongoing armed conflict. St. Paul and Minneapolis will vote on similar resolutions on May 15th and 23rd, respectively.

>>Sen. Klobuchar Proposes Bill to Bolster Primary Care Training on Dementia Detection, Treatment

(Washington, D.C.) — Senator Amy Klobuchar has introduced a bill to bolster training for primary care providers so they can better diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Klobuchar says the Accelerating Access to Dementia & Alzheimer’s Provider Training (AADAPT) will “deliver necessary tools to primary care providers and improve patients’ quality of life and health outcomes.”

>>Avison Young Arranges Lease for New DVS Station in Brooklyn Center

(Brooklyn Center, MN) — Avison Young, a commercial real estate agency, has arranged a new 8,330-square-foot lease in Brooklyn Center to become a new Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) inspection station. This comes in part of Minnesota DVS’ effort to meet increasing demands for service, opening new locations in Rochester, Mankato, Fergus Falls, and Bemidji and extending hours in Duluth and St. Cloud. DVS is expected to move into the space beginning in September 2024.

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