By Sally Jo Sorensen, Bluestem Prairie
Southeastern Minnesota’s bluff country from Red Wing to the Iowa border and the Minnesota River valley from the Metro to Mankato have been strangers to the sort of divisions with which mining politics have cursed Northeastern Minnesota. Until now, anyway. Tuesday’s joint Legislative committee hearing on the problems of frac sand mining has ended that blessing. (A video replay of the meeting — the first Legislative hearing on the issue — is above). Testimony revealed deep fractures between — on one side — grassroots citizens, conservation organizations and local governments seeking regulatory relief and — on the other — representatives from the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council, a trucking company owner, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the powerful “49ers” or International Union of Operating Engineers. Continue Reading →
The union representing 2,000 Twin Cities security officers prepares for a strike after contract negotiations broke down. Continue Reading →
A proposal to legally allow early voting in Minnesota is being called “unconstitutional” by those who led last year’s unsuccessful attempt to restrict voting through a “photo ID” constitutional amendment. Continue Reading →
The Minnesota State Legislature resumed a Democratic-led effort to grapple with gun safety and proposals aimed at reducing gun violence. Continue Reading →
A Wisconsin prosecutor conducting an inquest into the controversial 2011 death of Derek Williams while in the custody of Milwaukee police has ruled out the possibility of homicide charges against police. But three officers still face a potential charge of failing to render aid to Williams while he was gasping for breath and begging for help. Continue Reading →
Here is an UpTake guide to the frac sand hearing being held today by a joint meeting of the Minnesota Senate Committee on Environment & Energy and the House Committee on Energy Policy. Continue Reading →
The inquest into the death of Derek Williams while in the custody of Milwaukee police resumes today after a week when seven police officers refused to testify and conflicting testimony was taken from medical professionals, family members and eyewitnesses. The inquest into the 2011 death of the 22-year-old father of three, who collapsed and died in the back of a police car, is expected to conclude after a day or two of additional testimony. But whether the inquest will answer the concerns of his family and community activists who believe Williams was the victim of police misconduct, remains as unclear as ever.
The inquest was called after a Milwaukee County Medical Examiner changed the classification of Williams’ death from natural causes to homicide, sparking months of protests in Milwaukee against police misconduct that family and community members believe was the cause of Williams’ death. (more…) Continue Reading →
Almost a thousand supporters of same-sex marriage jammed the Capitol Rotunda Thursday to celebrate Valentine’s Day and spur efforts to open the way for same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
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What if they gave a debate about guns in society and there were no guns in the room?
Minnesota may never know what that would look like.
Last week’s series of hearings in the Minnesota State Capitol on legislation to reduce gun violence had an unintended and unforeseen outcome: Guns in society wasn’t the most pressing issue. Guns in the Capitol was. Continue Reading →
Daniel Yang is part of a new cohort of young leaders in the Native American community in South Minneapolis, a half-Native, half-Asian grassroots activist with a passion for public service and a special compassion for refugees. The experience of being lost, exiled and afraid is one his family knows well: Yang’s father was a Hmong refugee who, along with his Ojibwe mother, instilled a commitment to social justice and community service in his son. Continue Reading →
Legislation opening the way for same-sex marriage in Minnesota finally is being introduced in the Legislature. But does the Democratic majority have the political will to follow Gov. Mark Dayton and push for marriage equality this session? Continue Reading →
“I want Minnesota to be a state, which affirms that freedom for one means freedom for everyone, and where no one is told it is illegal to marry the person you love,” Governor Mark Dayton told Minnesota lawmakers in his State of the State address. Continue Reading →
Milwaukee community members are skeptical of the police department’s investigation of its own officers in the death of civilian Derek Williams. Continue Reading →
President Obama calls for stricter gun laws, but acknowledges that no number of new laws can entirely prevent the death toll produced by guns, estimated at more than 30,000 a year. Continue Reading →
President Obama’s visit to Minneapolis to tout his plan to reduce gun violence comes after the White House releases a photo of him skeet shooting last August. Continue Reading →
Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan has hired fellow Democrat Tom Rukavina to be one of his district liaisons.
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The fight against a proposed weakening of Wisconsin mining regulations that would facilitate the construction of a giant open-pit mine in Ashland County continued this week with hundreds of Wisconsin residents, including many representing Native American tribes, traveling to Madison to testify against the bill at a legislative hearing.
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Minnesota’s below zero temps couldn’t keep marchers from taking to the streets on the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday to carry on King’s struggle for political, economic and racial justice. Continue Reading →
Activist groups, allying with Democratic lawmakers and armed with legislation to stop “dual tracking,” are rallying behind Rose McGee, who is struggling to keep her Golden Valley home. Continue Reading →
More than 350 people gathered in the cold at the Wisconsin State Capitol this week to protest a proposed change in state mining regulations that environmentalists and Native Americans fear will pollute streams and waters near Lake Superior. Continue Reading →
DFL leaders meet the press to discuss their “vision” for the 2013 legislative session. Republican leaders respond. Continue Reading →
This is Gov. Mark Dayton’s opportunity to fulfill his campaign pledge and raise taxes on the rich and make Minnesota’s tax system more progressive. But does Dayton have the legislative support and political capital to make good on his pledge? Continue Reading →
Editor’s note: “Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota,” was the winner in the Minnesota category of the 2013 Minnesota Book Awards, which were announced Saturday. Congratulations to authors Gwen Westerman and Bruce White. — updated Sunday, April 14 at 8:07 a.m.
One hundred and fifty years after the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, the story of the Dakota Indian people is still connected to a troubled history of broken treaties and brutal repression that followed the war. But there is another deeper and older history: That of the Dakota people and their connection to the land of “Mni Sota Makoce,” the place where the water reflects the clouds in the sky. Minnesota is a Dakota place. Continue Reading →
A two-week journey from South Dakota ends in Mankato, Minnesota to mark the 150th anniversary of the largest execution in the United States where 38 Dakota (Sioux) Indian men were hanged for their involvement in the Dakota-US War of 1862. Continue Reading →
Every year, a silent march and vigil is held to honor those who died while living on the streets of Minnesota. More than 250 names were read at the Simpson United Methodist Church in Minneapolis during the memorial’s 28th year in existence. Continue Reading →