>>Minnesota Legislature on Easter Spring Break

(St. Paul, MN) — State lawmakers are on Easter break and when they return to the Minnesota Capitol next Tuesday, the push begins to finish the legislative session by the third week of May. A plethora of issues remains, but the two top tasks are a supplemental budget — prompted by the increase in the state’s projected budget surplus for 2024-25, along with the caveat of a potential deficit in 2026-27. Governor Tim Walz and legislative leaders have agreed on a overall budget number of 477 million dollars . Main job number two is a bonding, or borrowing, bill for public works projects, probably in the billion-dollar vicinity.


>>2 GOP Lawmakers Dispute State Party Determination on Otter Tail County Caucuses

(Fergus Falls, MN) — Two Republican state representatives from western Minnesota’s Otter Tail County are in a dispute with the state party over the handling of G-O-P caucus results. In late February, Minnesota Republican Party Chairman David Hann (HAN) said due to issues in both caucus locations in Otter Tail County, no new delegates are considered elected and those from 2022 remain, per state law. But Representatives Jeff Backer and Tom Murphy say there’s no problem in 95 percent of the cases and only a handful of votes need clarification, but the state Republican Party has chosen to “silence their own base.” There’s been no response from Minnesota G-O-P officials.


>>Graduate Rates Drop Slightly in Minnesota in 2023

(St. Paul, MN) — The Minnesota Department of Education is reporting a slight drop in the state’s four-year graduation rate in 2023. Data released today (Thurs) show just over 83 percent of high schoolers earned their diplomas last year on time. The statewide graduation rate for public school students dipped by less than half a percentage point from 2022. The small decrease is due, in part, to errors in tracking students, particularly when they transferred schools. Education leaders say that finding re-emphasizes the need for schools to keep track of — and report — every single student during their high school career. The data also show slight decreases in the graduation rates for Black, Asian and Latino students and students learning English.


>>Minnesota House Committee Approves Office of Cannabis Management Policy Bill

(St. Paul, MN) — The Minnesota House Commerce Committee is giving the “green light” to the Office of Cannabis Management policy bill. O-C-M interim director Charlene Briner says the agency will use a lottery to award cannabis licenses to businesses. She told lawmakers Wednesday, “We are looking at a lottery system for both social equity applicants and for general applicants. And we are looking at a well-qualified or well-vetted lottery that includes the merit-based components that already existed.” Some prospective cannabis operators expressed concern about a lottery leaving out applicants with successful business plans. The bill includes a number of new regulations and updates to Minnesota’s adult-use cannabis law.


>>Former Governor Jesse Ventura Launches Edible Cannabis Company

(Minneapolis, MN) — Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura is getting into the legal T-H-C business. Ventura says he’s partnering with Retro Bakery of Columbia Heights to offer high-quality cannabis edible products. The ex-governor and pro wrestler said, “Ventura Farms is my foray into the world of cannabis. I’m a huge supporter of the cannabis industry. Cannabis saved my family’s life and now it’s time for me to return to the cannabis world.” Then-Governor Ventura proposed the legalization of cannabis in late 1990s but couldn’t get any Minnesota lawmakers to carry the bill. Jesse the Body and Retro Bakery are hosting a launch and meet-and-greet event on “4/20” or April 20th in Minneapolis.


>>$10 Million Reward Offered for Information on UnitedHealth Cyber Attack

(Washington, DC) — The U-S State Department is offering a ten-million-dollar reward for information about the cyber attack on a branch of UnitedHealthcare. The ransomware group hacked into ChangeHealthcare which manages payment systems for most hospitals in the U-S. The hackers disabled security features, stole confidential information from patients, and demanded payment to keep the information private last month. Officials hope the large reward will help lead to the identification or location of those responsible for the cyber attack on Minnesota-based UnitedHealth.


>>South Lake Minnetonka Police Fired at Woman During Chase, Crash in Chanhassen

(Chanhassen, MN) — Investigators say officers fired shots at a suspect vehicle during a police pursuit Tuesday night that ended with a rollover crash in Chanhassen. The South Lake Minnetonka Police Department confirmed that its officers fired at a car driven by an Illinois woman. The vehicle eventually crashed, and the woman was extricated and treated for minor injuries before being booked in jail. The Minnesota B-C-A is still investigating the police shooting.


>>Kwik Trip Says Bye Bye to Bagged Milk

(La Crosse, WI) — Minnesota’s favorite convenience store and gas station will no longer carry bagged milk in its stores. Kwik Trip announced Wednesday that it will discontinue selling Nature’s Touch bagged milk after “evaluating the need and cost for new equipment to replace our antiquated bagged milk equipment, and the decreased customer demand.” Kwik Trip says the “tough decision” comes after nearly 40 years of carrying the product and is looking for other milk offerings.


>>Twins Open Regular Season at Royals

(Kansas City, MO) — The Minnesota Twins open the 2024 regular season this afternoon (Thurs 3:10 pm) against the Royals in Kansas City. Twins spokesman Matt Hodson says this group of players can repeat as American League Central Division champions. All-Star pitcher Pablo Lopez starts for the Twins today and Byron Buxton is healthy and back in center field. The home opener is next Thursday at Target Field.


>>MSU-Mankato Women’s Basketball Advances to NCAA DII National Championship

(St. Joseph, MO) — The Minnesota State University-Mankato women’s basketball team will play for the N-C-A-A Division II national championship. The Mavericks topped Cal State San Marcos 70-68 Wednesday night in St. Joseph, Missouri to win the semifinal. M-S-U will face Texas Woman’s University in the national final Friday night. The Minnesota State men’s basketball team takes on West Texas A&M today (Thurs 3:30) in Evansville, Indiana in the N-C-A-A Division II Final Four.


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