Tag Archives: Minnesota legislature

Gutting health insurance: the Minnesota Republican way


All these conditions could be excluded from health insurance coverage under Republican legislation.

Minnesota Republicans want to free health insurance companies from providing any benefits: “Notwithstanding any state or federal law to the contrary, a health plan company may offer health plans that do not include federally required health benefit mandates.” As I read it, this would allow insurance companies to refuse to pay for vaccinations or valve replacements, for contraceptives or cancer treatment. Insurance companies would be free to pick and choose what they cover and what they exclude – and who they cover, and who they exclude for pre-existing conditions or any other reason. That’s in the bill passed by the Minnesota House of Representatives on January 19. Continue reading

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Cheating the caregivers

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 9.53.54 AM

You might think that kindness and care for people who are elderly or disabled should be rewarded. Not in this state. Not in this country. Instead, the low-paid personal care attendants who serve on the front lines of home health care face the awful choice of neglecting the  people they care for or working without pay. Continue reading

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Quack grass, thistles and the Minnesota legislature


Photo by Miheco, published under Creative Commons license.


As I dug out weeds in the garden this morning, my thoughts turned to the just-ending legislative session. A bold, bright-eyed robin supervises as I dig out thistles and quack grass, pull creeping Charlie, and leave the milkweed for the butterflies.

Weeding is not my favorite part of gardening, but it’s essential. If I don’t keep at it, the thistles and quack grass will take over and choke out everything else. Still, pulling weeds is pointless, unless you also plant. Continue reading

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Failure to process rape kits leaves serial rapists on the street

Photo of forensics lab by Tym, published under Creative Commons license.

Photo of forensics lab by Tym, published under Creative Commons license.

The Star Tribune reported last week that more than 3400 Minnesota rape kits have never been processed, characterizing the number as “part of a continuing national scandal.” Nationwide, the number of unprocessed rape kits may reach the hundreds of thousands.

A similar Cleveland Plain Dealer investigation, ongoing for the past five years, revealed serial rapists who were never prosecuted because rape kits were never processed. That, says Columbia Journalism Review, “means that every unsolved case is even more likely to be another rape waiting to happen, and that removing even a single rapist from the street eliminates an ongoing threat.” Continue reading

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Legislature tells fox to choose watchdog for hen house

Brehm's Life of animals : Volume 1, Mammalia Chicago :Marquis,1895. http://biodiversitylibrary.org/item/37942

Brehm’s Life of animals : Volume 1, Mammalia
Chicago :Marquis,1895.
http://biodiversitylibrary.org/item/37942  Some rights reserved by BioDivLibrary

The West Central Tribune quoted Willmar city council member Ron Christenson speaking at a council committee meeting earlier this year: “I remember the advice: ‘Don’t forget. The City Council can do anything … even if it is illegal.'” That sounds a lot like the response I got from a judge in another Minnesota town back in the day: “I know the law, and I don’t have to follow the law.” Small towns and counties often run on their own rules, set by governing cliques who don’t give a damn about law and individual or minority rights. That alone is a reason for independent oversight over local finances and government — a protection that the Minnesota legislature just eliminated.  Continue reading

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Brendan Behan, Dublin and the Minnesota legislature

IMG_4478Brendan Behan’s poster on a Dublin alley wall has a message you might want to send to the Minnesota legislature, or the U.S. Congress: “I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.” Roads, anyone? Food stamps? Heating assistance?  Continue reading


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MN education budget forces ‘a gosh darn lousy plan’ on schools

mct state capitolWith a two billion dollar budget surplus, the Minnesota legislature is poised to pass inadequate budgets that will force schools across the state to cut teachers and programs. In the House, Republicans have passed an education budget that increases per-pupil state aid by six-tenths of one percent. That’s far below the rate of inflation, and comes on top of years of failure to keep up with inflation. The DFL Senate does barely any better, with a one percent increase. Continue reading


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