ST. PAUL — Opioid overdose deaths fell in Minnesota between 2017 and 2018, early data show, potentially bending a nearly decade-long trend in painkiller-related deaths. And for the first time, synthetic opioids like fentanyl were recorded as the cause of the most opioid-related overdose deaths over commonly prescribed opioids and methadone.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota hunters and farmers could soon carry handheld tools to test deer for fatal brain disease in the field. In labs across the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, scientists are months away from making that a reality. After lawmakers and the governor approved $1.8 million to fund the creation of a test to detect chronic wasting disease within hours, rather than days, a team of veterinary experts, microbiologists, genomics professors and engineers started a two-year timeline to create a breakthrough tool to test for the disease.
ST. PAUL — Drug distributors and manufacturers will be required to help pay for some of the aftermath of the opioid epidemic in Minnesota after Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday, May 22, signed into law a sweeping package of legislation. The DFL governor announced that he signed into law the package that would require opioid distributors to pay fees expected to total more than $20 million. Those funds would be used to provide education and prevention programs as well as treatment programs.
ALBERT LEA, Minn. — The governor and Minnesota legislative leaders hooked a baker's dozen fish at the Governor's Fishing Opener Saturday, May 11, but they didn't reel in a budget deal. Gov. Tim Walz, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, D-Brooklyn Park, along with Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, spent the morning on Fountain Lake on a pontoon boat. Ahead of the trip, they said they'd be open to talking shop on the boat but decided Saturday morning to focus on the fish.
ST. PAUL -- A pair of gun control bills is scheduled for another primetime hearing Wednesday night at the Capitol. The House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division is set to take up the proposals that would require universal background checks at the point of sale or transfer of a firearm and allow law enforcement officers to remove a person's weapons if they're believed to pose a threat.
ST. PAUL — The lone counselor tasked with providing free mental health services to farmers and their families through the Minnesota state college system just got a step closer to getting some help. The Minnesota House of Representatives on Monday, March 4, unanimously advanced a bill that would appropriate $100,000 to boost mental health counseling for farmers and their families as well as for farm advocate services and farmer-lender mediators.
ST. PAUL — Hundreds of gun control supporters and opponents packed into a Minnesota Capitol hearing room and overflow spaces Wednesday, Feb. 27, ahead of scheduled testimony on a pair of bills aimed at adding background checks for firearm purchases and allowing "red flag" removal provisions. Tensions were high and testimony was expected to run late into the night as the proposals came up for consideration in the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Division.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday, Feb. 19, presented his first budget proposal which came with a $49.5 billion price tag for the next two years. It includes a boost for Minnesota schools, local communities and health care programs. And to fund those programs, as well as a transportation and infrastructure package, the DFL governor planned to use a projected $1.5 billion surplus and new taxes. Democratic lawmakers were largely supportive of the proposal while Republicans, who hold a key two-seat advantage in the Senate, said they'd oppose several pieces.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota lawmakers on Tuesday, Feb. 12, advanced a proposal to ban the sale of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, to those younger than 21. The House Health and Human Services Policy Committee approved House File 331, which would bar the sale, lending or giving of tobacco products to Minnesotans younger than 21. Currently, Minnesotans can buy and use tobacco products beginning at age 18.
ST. PAUL -- A bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers is hopeful that data illustrating the state is one of the worst in the nation when it comes to the achievement gap for students of color will ensure the approval of a proposal to recruit more teachers of color and American Indian teachers to Minnesota classrooms.