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  • Bill proposes provisional ballots to help guarantee certain voters are truly eligible to vote

    The omnibus elections bill to be heard tonight in the Minnesota Senate Committee on State Government Finance and Policy and Elections includes a number of important provisions to strengthen the integrity of the voting process. Election law must balance the interest in making the vote accessible to all eligible voters versus guaranteeing only eligible voters vote. Minnesota law errs far too heavily on making the vote accessible.  For instance, the state allows same-day registration and, on Election Day, allows people to vouch for another person registering. The state also has a very weak process in place to guarantee people don’t...

  • Why Should Artists Want Government Support?

    The Star Tribune headlines: “Trump anxiety hits Minnesota arts groups, leaders.” This is another round in the perennial controversy over funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Never mind that President Trump doesn’t decide whether these programs are funded, or for how much. Congress does. The Star Tribune leads with the Minneapolis Institute of Art, my personal favorite among Minnesota’s arts institutions: “It’s absolutely terrifying all of us,” said Kaywin Feldman, director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She views the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities as critical to...

  • Pollution Agency Tells Minnesotans to Stop Buying Stuff

    If there were such a thing as environmental justice, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency would cease and desist from distributing the taxpayer-funded Living Green 365 monthly newsletter.  Did you make a resolution for the New Year? Was it to buy lots of new stuff, online or otherwise? (Didn’t think so.) We’ve got a hunch, dear Living Green 365 reader, that your hopes for 2017 include keeping our air and water clean, and not using up finite natural resources. Those are big goals. Psychologists suggest that people keep the big ideas of their resolutions in mind, but break them down into manageable...


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  • Media Outrage Over White House “Block” is a Double Standard

    President Trump’s speech today at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) called out reporters who don’t “represent the people.” Hours later the White House prevented certain news organizations from attending an off-camera briefing. And those ousted from the gaggle began hyperventilating. First things first, a press gaggle is an informal briefing by the White House Press Secretary. It’s not an event the entire press corps attends. The Star Tribune described the decision as a “highly unusual breach of relations with the press corps.” Now whether or not this was a smart move by the administration is up for debate. But it’s...

  • Dayton Outraged Because Federal Government No Longer Regulates Bathrooms

    President Trump has revoked the Obama administration’s bizarre “guidance” asserting that federal law required every public school in America to sponsor co-ed bathrooms and showers on behalf of those who “identify” with the opposite sex. How the federal government has to constitutional authority to regulate the gender composition of bathrooms was never explained. You might think that governors would appreciate the fact that an absurd Washington overreach has been withdrawn, leaving states, towns and schools to pursue the policies they think best. But, as to Governor Dayton, you would be wrong. Dayton attacked the administration’s action yesterday: “I strongly disagree...

  • First Time Activist? Not Exactly

    Congressman Tom Emmer’s much anticipated (at least in the media) town hall meeting did not live up to advanced billing by most press accounts.  A lively but largely civil give-and-take went on for about an hour in a crowded, standing room only Sartell City Hall. One of the questions being floated by the press focuses on whether the boisterous crowds turning out to disrupt congressional constituent meetings marks the onset of a Democratic party tea party movement.  Were the hundreds of people in Sartell an authentic grassroots response to the Trump era or more of an “astroturf” organized political campaign...

  • Light Rail Transit is a Foolish Investment

    If you build it, they will come, or so the saying goes. But will they come to ride a system that is last-century’s technology? The Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) project is an example of public transit that is more a relic of the past than the wave of the future. Spending billions of dollars to construct an outdated system is ridiculous. But Met Council Chair Adam Duininck wants to continue “full steam ahead” with the light rail project despite his pledge in 2015 to not proceed without legislative approval. And not all legislators are on board. Those opposed to the...