>>Bill Restoring Voting Rights for Felons Passes Minnesota House

(St. Paul, MN) — Felons would be able to vote again after they finish their jail or prison time, under a bill the Minnesota House passed last night (Thursday). Saint Paul Democrat Athena Hollins told members, “Denying individuals the right to vote is downright un-American… They’ve served their time. They’ve been deemed safe enough to return to our communities.” Republicans say felons’ voting rights should not be restored until they’ve completed parole and paid all fines and restitution. Democrats are moving a companion bill forward in the Minnesota Senate.

>>Minnesota Senate Approves ‘100 Percent by 2040’ Energy Legislation

(St. Paul, MN) — Legislation passed by the Senate late Thursday night requires that 100 percent of Minnesota’s electricity will have to be carbon-free by 2040. Pine City Republican Jason Rarick warned Minnesota utilities will have no negotiating leverage if they have to buy renewable energy credits from other states to meet the goal and “that’s gonna drive prices through the roof.” Electric utilities will have to stop using coal and natural gas a decade earlier than Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power planned — but North Mankato Democrat Nick Frentz says it’s necessary to address the climate crisis. There are exceptions for utilities if the switchover is too expensive for electric consumers, or if alternatives such as solar and wind are not reliable enough to keep the power on.

>>Walz Approves State Assistance for 8 Counties Damaged in December Storms

(St. Paul, MN) — Governor Tim Walz is authorizing emergency disaster assistance for eight Minnesota counties affected by heavy snowstorms and high winds in mid-December. Aitkin, Carlton, Cass, Crow Wing, Itasca, Lincoln, Pine, and St. Louis counties experienced significant damage from December 13th through 16th. The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management estimated the total damage at four-and-a-half million dollars. State disaster assistance provides reimbursement for 75 percent of the costs for clearing roadways, clean up, and repair costs.

>>Finstad to Chair House Subcommittee on Nutrition, Foreign Ag and Horticulture

(Washington, DC) — Minnesota Congressman Brad Finstad will serve as chair of the House Subcommittee on Nutrition, Foreign Agriculture, and Horticulture. The 1st District Republican says, “as one of the very few active farmers currently serving in Congress, I am humbled and honored to be appointed chairman of the Subcommittee.” Finstad says he looks forward to conducting thorough oversight of critical programs like SNAP and ensuring we expand markets and level the playing field for American farmers, growers, and producers. He was elected to the seat held by the late Congressman Jim Hagedorn.

>>Flu Activity Slowing in Minnesota

(St. Paul, MN) — The flu season appears to be waning in Minnesota. The latest update from the State Department of Health shows 19 people were hospitalized with influenza last week, down from 32 the previous week. Seven Minnesota schools and one long-term care facility reported flu outbreaks. There were four more flu-related deaths for a total of 142 since October. State health officials were hoping for an early peak in this year’s flu season.

>>Woman Arrested in Fatal Shooting of Teen in Chanhassen

(Chanhassen, MN) — Carver County authorities say an 18-year-old woman is under arrest in connection with the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy in Chanhassen. Deputies were called to Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina early Thursday for a report of a shooting death. They learned that Eden Prairie police had chased the vehicle transporting the victim to the hospital. Detectives say that the female suspect from the east metro shot the boy in Chanhassen and she was later taken into custody.

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