>>Minnesota House Passes Abortion Rights Bill, Sends to Senate

(St. Paul, MN) — The Minnesota House on a vote of 69-to-65 Thursday night passed a bill to put abortion rights into state law, sending the measure to the Senate for a final vote. House Democratic Majority Leader Jamie Long says nearly 70 percent of Minnesotans responded in a poll just a few months ago that they support legal abortion “and it included big majorities… in every part of the state.” But Red Wing Republican Pam Altendorf says a 2019 poll showed 72 percent of pro-choice voters disagree with third-trimester abortions. A GOP-backed amendment to ban third-trimester abortions failed on a tie vote. There was shouting and cheering in the House gallery during the debate.

>>Congresswoman Fischbach Introduces 2 Pro-Life Bills

(Washington, DC) — Seventh District Congresswoman Michelle Fischbach is sponsoring two pro-life bills in the U-S House. The Minnesota Republican introduced the Defund Planned Parenthood Act which prohibits the organization from accessing any federal mandatory or discretionary funds. The Protecting Life and Taxpayers Act would require all federally funded entities to certify they will not perform abortions or provide funds to any other entities that do. Fischbach says in a statement, “Organizations like Planned Parenthood receive millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars every year to provide abortions on demand.”

>>Price Gouging Bill Passes Minnesota House Judiciary Committee

(St. Paul, MN) — Legislation prompted by price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic is moving toward a Minnesota House vote after passing the Judiciary committee Thursday. D-F-L Representative Zack Stephenson of Coon Rapids says the bill establishes in statute protections against price gouging in the occurrence of an emergency. G-O-P Representative Brian Johnson from Cambridge says, “It can actually hurt, especially small businesses and mom-and-pop shops that are trying to survive in hard times.” The law would penalize retailers who charge an “unconsciously excessive price” for essential goods or services during public emergency situations. Violators could face fines of up to one thousand dollars per sale or transaction.

>>Court Hearing Continued for Man Charged in Shooting of Pregnant Girlfriend

(Hastings, MN) — The court hearing is continued until Monday for the St. Louis Park man charged with the shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend outside the Lakeville Amazon warehouse. Donte McCray was scheduled to appear Thursday for the second-degree murder of Kyla O’Neal. Doctors delivered her baby before O’Neal died, but the boy was taken off life support Tuesday. The medical examiner says nine-day-old Messiah O’Neal died of “complications of firearm-related maternal death status-post emergent cesarean section.” Dakota County prosecutors are expected to file additional charges against McCray.

>>Minnesota COVID-19 Trends Remain Stable, Flu Numbers Declining

(St. Paul, MN) — Minnesota’s COVID-19 trends are staying stable even with the presence of new variants. The state’s pandemic update released Thursday showed under 400 hospitalizations for the first time since mid-October. State health officials say Minnesota didn’t experience an expected surge in COVID cases over the holidays. The state’s flu numbers are also declining.

>>Grand Rapids Business Expanding, Creating Jobs

(Grand Rapids, MN) — New jobs are coming to Grand Rapids as a local company expands. Yanmar Compact Equipment North America officials say they are adding 32-thousand square feet to the east side of its building. The move will increase production and add more than 200 jobs. Yanmar manufactures excavators, compact track loaders, and other equipment.

>>Minnesota Vikings Fire Defensive Coordinator Donatell

(Eagan, MN) — The Minnesota Vikings are parting ways with defensive coordinator Ed Donatell following a first-round playoff loss. The Vikings’ defense was second-worst in the N-F-L in passing yards and allowed the most first downs in the league. Head coach Kevin O’Connell said, “while this was a difficult decision because of the tremendous respect I have for Ed as a person and a coach, I believe it is the right move for the future of our football team.” Donatell spent one season in Minnesota after serving as defensive coordinator in Green Bay, Atlanta, and Denver.

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