>>State Sending $300 Million in Public Safety Funding to Local Governments
(St. Paul, MN) — Governor Tim Walz says the state will send 300 million dollars to local governments across the state next week to enhance public safety. It’s the first time so much money has been sent at one-time, following a record budget surplus during the last session. Local communities also have a lot of latitude on how they can use it, for everything from officer recruitment and retention to equipment, mental health crisis response programs, victim services and first responder wellness and training. The governor says he pushed for extra money the past two years but couldn’t get it until Democrats controlled both the House and Senate. A spokeswoman responds Senate Republicans opposed the broader D-F-L package because of other measures and had their own proposals for public safety funding.
>>Judge Halts Law Restrictiong Political Contributions by Foreign Companies
(St. Paul, MN) — A federal judge has at least temporarily halted the January 1st start of a new Minnesota law designed to restrict political contributions by companies with foreign connections, ruling the statute violates corporations’ free speech rights. Bill author, Representative Emma Greenman from Minneapolis says the problem is foreign governments and citizens, “who have influence on corporations, and then the corporations are spending to influence Minnesota elections and Minnesota voters.” But the judge said as little as one-percent foreign ownership could trigger prohibitions under the new law. Minnesota Chamber of Commerce President Doug Loon says it “basically restricts almost all businesses — …businesses domiciled here in Minnesota, businesses doing business in Minnesota — from having a voice in the election.” The judge said he granted a temporary restraining order because the Chamber is likely to prevail in a trial.
>>Rosemount Approves Plans for Meta Data Center Project
(Rosemount, MN) — The Rosemount City Council is giving unanimous approval to the proposed 700-million-dollar Meta Data Center project in UMore Park. Council members approved the plans at Thursday’s meeting after hearing a lot of opposition from the public. Many residents expressed concerns about the environmental impact and some cited questionable business ethics of Facebook and Instagram’s parent company. The U of M Board of Regents sold the 280 acres of land to Meta Platforms this fall.
>>Commission Vice Chair Defends State Flag & Seal Selection Process
(St. Paul, MN) — The vice chair of the State Emblems Redesign Commission disagrees with a complaint that they didn’t have enough time to adopt a new state flag and seal that represents all Minnesotans. Anita Gaul of Marshall says that claim is not accurate at all. Gaul says, “we have repeatedly gone to the people of Minnesota and asked for their input. They are the ones who provided the submissions for the flag and seal in the first place. Every step of the way we have asked for public comment and we have read those comments and paid attention to what Minnesotans are saying.” Representative Bjorn Olson of Fairmont said this process should have taken a lot longer and they should have taken more public testimony.
>>DVS Debuting Record Number of License Plates in 2024
(St. Paul, MN) — The Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services (DVS) is set to unveil nine special license plates in 2024, marking the most ever released in a single year. D-V-S Director Pong Xiong (jong) says, “we’ll have the Vikings plate, the Twins plate, the Timberwolves, the Lynx, the Lion’s Club, and the state’s blackout plate.” Xiong says these plates provide Minnesotans with an opportunity to showcase their passions, whether it’s supporting their favorite sports team, engaging in community service, or raising awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous people. The new plates will be available for $15.50 and require a minimum annual contribution of $30. Proceeds from each purchase will contribute to charitable foundations in Minnesota.
>>Itasca County Sheriff Wants to Question Man About Missing Woman
(Grand Rapids, MN) — The Itasca County Sheriff’s Office wants to talk with a man who is believed to be with a missing woman from northern Minnesota. Deputies say 50-year-old Geno Carter is wanted for questioning in the disappearance of 45-year-old Eleanore “Ellie” Halverson. She was last seen with Carter on November 4th in Northome. Carter drives a brown early 2000s model Toyota Camry with Minnesota license plate E-R-W 9-8-5. He’s bald, five-feet-seven inches tall, weighs about 170 pounds, and has blue eyes.
>>Stearns County Authorities Locate Missing Eden Valley Woman
(Eden Valley, MN) — Authorities in Stearns County say an Eden Valley woman missing since last summer has been located. Deputies say 21-year-old Kaitlyn Hohman was found safe in Minneapolis on Wednesday thanks to help from the public. Hohman was reported missing after having no contact with her family since July. The sheriff’s office says the search for Hohman was part of an ongoing investigation and they had reason to believe there was a concern for her safety.
>>North Mankato Police Look for 3 Suspected Vandals
(Mankato, MN) — The North Mankato Police Department is seeking the public’s help in identifying three individuals suspected of vandalizing a playground bathroom. Officers say the suspects defaced the Fallenstein Playground bathroom facility around 11 pm last Thursday, December 19th. Anyone with information is asked to contact North Mankato P-D ( 507-625-7883).