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Sally Jo Sorensen
Sally Sorensen, an independent blogger, lives and works in rural Minnesota.
Recent Activity
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While state representative Tim Miller announced his candidacy for Minnesota's Seventh District Congressional seat, now held by Collin Peterson, on April 7, as Don Davis reported in State Rep. Tim Miller launches campaign to unseat Collin Peterson, a search of records indicates that he has yet to file a Financial Disclosure Report with the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives as of the time of this post. As we noted at the end of an earlier post about the CD7 Republican Party, Miller filed his Statement of Organization with the Federal Election Commission on April 12.... Continue reading
Posted 7 hours ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Leave it to state representative Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, to dig up one of the mustiest of climate denier claims to proclaim on the floor of the Minnesota House. We fear his opposition to Zombie Ziprail is but one of those stopped-clock-right-twice a day thingies. On Thursday, during the debate over Northfield DFLer David Bly's amendment to the LCCMR bill, Draz dragged out the one about "in the 1970s, scientists talked about global cooling." The Atlantic dispatched this one in 2009 in The Global Cooling Canard: Ezra Klein fisksGeorge Will: There needs to be some sort of Godwin's Law variant for... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Bluestem Prairie
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Executive Vice President of the Southeast MN Area Labor Council and Political Organizer for AFSCME Council 5 Laura Askelin posted this message on her Facebook page Wednesday morning less than an hour ago: WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!?!?! The unthinkable has happened. While negotiating the bill to fund state agencies, Republicans inserted language that would cripple the right of state employees to bargain wage increases and health insurance. The change would force us to negotiate with the legislature, making it nearly impossible to get a fair contract. In effect, it would require a pro-worker governor, a pro-worker House and a pro-worker Senate... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Bluestem Prairie
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We've been out in our garden uprooting thistles, but even with breaks for rain out here in Big Stone County, we've run out of thistles to pull while we wait for the Minnesota House to convene. That's saying a lot. There's a biblical tide of thistles in these parts. If it were dry enough, we'd plant sunflowers, basil, purple cauliflower and other such seed, but as it is not, we're left twiddling and reading twitter for signs of hope. At the Star Tribune, Jennifer Brooks and J. Patrick Coolican reported in At Capitol, a push to finish state budget after... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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There's much to look at as the Minnesota Legislature carries on during the special session. One item about the Jobs and Energy Omnibus Bill, passed Monday morning in the Utility Dive article, Minnesota energy omnibus bill clears Legislature caught our eye. Robert Walton reports: The Minnesota House and Senate yesterday passed a Jobs and Energy Omnibus Bill that would exempt small rural utilities from taking part in the state's Conservation Improvement Program, which offers customer incentives for high-efficiency appliances and home energy audits. The Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota is opposed to the measure, which exempts small power companies with... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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We've noticed that some on our favorite rural Minnesota anti-Muslim activists are sharing a post on Facebook by anti-Muslim author Pam Geller. Here's a screengrab of her post: There's only one Muslim currently serving in the Minnesota legislature, and that would be Ilhan Omar. Since the Minnesota House voted on HF2621, we can see who voted yes for the bill, introduced by state representative Mary Franson, R-Alexandria. Here's a screengrab: It's clear that Omar voted yes. We're not sure who the stealth Muslims are in the Minnesota legislature, but perhaps Geller can share that. Of the four Demcorats who voted... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Third in a series of three posts, including LCCMR debate, part 1: Flanagan says wild rice unites MN; Heintzeman says no changing my bill! and LCCMR debate, part 2: Pat Garofalo trashes notion of solar and robotics in agriculture. Yesterday's Minnesota House floor debate on funding LCCMR (Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources) recommendations is summarized in Session Daily's Lottery proceeds for LCCMR projects gets House approval. Watching the YouTube of the debate reveals a target rich environment, and we've put together posts illustrating a point made by Rep. Rick Hansen: Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) said appropriations from the... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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In LCCMR debate, part 1: Flanagan says wild rice unites MN; Heintzeman says no changing my bill!, we looked at a relatively straight-forward amendment to the LCCMR in the Minnesota House on Thursday. In our second post about the debate, we draw on a particularly bizarre moment in which Pat Garofalo, R-Lakeville, the chair of the lower chamber's Jobs and Energy committee mocks the notion of a solar-powered weeding machine, going so far as to reference the HBO sci-fi show, "West World." While he speaks, his fellow Republicans can be seen smirking at the supposed absurdity of solar-powered robotic weeders,... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Yesterday's Minnesota House floor debate on funding LCCMR (Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources) recommendations is summarized in Session Daily's Lottery proceeds for LCCMR projects gets House approval. Watching the YouTube of the debate reveals a target rich environment, and we're putting together posts illustrating a point made by Rep. Rick Hansen: Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) said appropriations from the environment trust fund “always seem to get tinkered with” and that projects involving solar power, climate change or prohibitions on lead, “always come out of the package” when Republicans have the majority. He asked fellow lawmakers to vote against... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Outdoor News posted a Minnesota Board of Animal Health press release in Four more farmed white-tailed deer test positive for CWD: In late April, the Board of Animal Health and U.S. Department of Agriculture euthanized a quarantined herd of 14 white-tailed deer in Meeker County, west of the Twin Cities. Samples collected from the animals were tested at the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, and four deer — all bucks — were confirmed CWD positive on May 15, BAH reported late Wednesday, May 17. This herd was part of an investigation initiated with a CWD infected farmed... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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In Food access program at risk, the Worthington Globe's Karl Evers-Hilstrom reports: The agriculture finance bill, one of the bills Dayton rejected, would have left the Good Food Access Fund with no money for the next biennium. . . . The fund is part of an effort to deliver local produce to areas that otherwise wouldn’t have access — a major issue in rural areas such as southwest Minnesota, where most small towns don’t have a supermarket. Studies show a lack of access to healthy, affordable food options in small, rural towns means more health problems for those residents, including... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
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In Protect local democracy, local control, three Duluth small business owners write: As small-business owners in Duluth, we are engaged in what is going on in our community. We know that the best way to make this city a better place for our families, our employees, and our customers is at a local level — right here in Duluth. However, we are concerned about the corporate power grab in St. Paul right now in the form of the many "preemption" bills that propose to take away our voice as small businesses at a local level. We call on Gov. Mark... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
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A friend passed along news of the latest engrossment of SF780 (9:08 am May 16), which includes this choice amendment of Minnesota statute. The new language for existing law is underlined: Sec. 6. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 18B.33, subdivision 1, is amended to read: Subdivision 1. Requirement. (a) A person may not apply a pesticide for hire without a commercial applicator license for the appropriate use categories or a structural pest control license. (b) A commercial applicator licensee must have a valid license identification card to purchase a restricted use pesticide or apply pesticides for hire and must display it... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
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While Erin Golden the Star Tribune reports in Dayton, GOP leaders resume budget talks in a final push: Budget negotiations between Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders resumed Tuesday morning, kicking off a final seven-day push to approve the state’s next two-year spending plan. Talks between the two sides had stalled for several days after Republicans moved to pass a series of budget bills Dayton had pledged to veto. The governor followed through on that promise, vetoing the last of the bills Monday evening. Dayton and Republicans are divided on the makeup of the approximately $46 billion spending plan.... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
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It's not online at the Morrison County Record, but a reader sent us a photo of the May 14 article (above) announcing two presentations in Little Falls and St. Cloud by New Zealand birther conspiracy theorist Trevor Loudon and 2016 Daudt primary challenger Alan Duff, who's last big public speaking event was at the Willmar Celebrate Trump rally in April. Attorney Larry Frost, who has represented clients ranging from Little Falls peace activist Robin Hensel to an anti-mosque group in Bloomington, will join Loudon and Duff for the St. Cloud event. Pop some corn. If Right Wing Watch's article, CPAC... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
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Down column in Don Davis's Capitol Chatter post, Rural GOP Says Dayton Wages ‘War On Agriculture,' we read this telling passage about one battle in the "war on agriculture in the mind of House Republicans: An issue that upset Dayton was the Republican-written ag bill’s failure to raise fees on pesticide companies. “Monsanto can’t afford to pay another $75?” Dayton asked. “It gets absurd.” Hamilton said that the administration sought more money for a pesticide-related cleanup fund, but lawmakers never received information they sought about why the increase is needed, so did not grant the request. Here's a pdf of... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
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At the Pioneer Press, David Montgomery reports in Mark Dayton vetoes ‘reckless and foolish’ GOP budget bill: Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed budgets passed by the Republican Legislature on Friday, setting up a 10-day dash to find a $46 billion state budget that both sides can agree to. . . . The governor had promised to veto the Republican budgets even before they passed them earlier this week. The budgets in question largely reflect Republican priorities, including spending cuts, limitations on environmental regulations and a shift of money from public to private schools. Republicans control the Legislature but don’t have... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
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We heard this Minnesota Public Radio story by Dan Gunderson when we were driving to our vegetable garden. Let's hope that America's judiciary remains independent of administrations and industry. Gunderson reports in Judge: EPA violated law in approving products dangerous to bees, butterflies: A Minnesota beekeeper is claiming a partial victory in a federal lawsuit over the regulation of a common insecticide. Last week, a federal judge in California ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the federal Endangered Species Act when it approved dozens of neonicotinoid insecticide products. Steve Ellis of central Minnesota is the lead plaintiff of suit,... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
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We've made the trip to The Cities from western Big Stone County a few times this year, and so appreciate the distance between here and there more vividly than usual. Thus, we can also appreciate a passage in Frank Jossi's Critics say Minnesota omnibus bill sets back clean energy in Midwest Energy News: Clean Up The Minnesota River (CURE) Executive Director Duane Ninneman said “there wasn’t anything I could consider a positive agenda item” in the bill. He sees a great deal of “disrespect” by legislators for citizen input, pointing to a meeting before the Senate’s Finance Commission as an... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
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Yesterday in Spring is here and there's magic in the air--in Minnesota state legislative budget talks as well, we wrote: It's spring, there's magic in the air, and language now appears suddenly in Minnesota legislative conference committee, popping up overnight like the state mushroom or asparagus. While we were sleeping off the affects of the tick checks that are the consequence of stalking the wild asparagus, the Pioneer Press's David Montgomery reported in Minnesota GOP lawmakers act on state budget in the dark of night — literally: Republican lawmakers moved late Monday evening to send DFL Gov. Mark Dayton their... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
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It's spring, there's magic in the air, and language now appears suddenly in Minnesota legislative conference committee, popping up overnight like the state mushroom or asparagus. Unlike these tasty spring delights, Minnesotans aren't hoping to find those magic policy additions to budget bills. At the Star Tribune, Erin Golden reports in In the final stretch, it's a scramble to track Minnesota Legislature: The last weeks of Minnesota’s legislative session have lawmakers scrambling to finalize plans for spending about $46 billion. Dozens of big decisions loom on programs and policies that affect people in every corner of the state. But try... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
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In late April, the Fergus Falls Daily Journal reported in Fergus Falls, Otter Tail County GOP activists elected to leadership in District 7: Republican delegates from the 38 counties in the Seventh Congressional District of Minnesota met in convention in Thief River Falls over the weekend of April 21 and 22. The purpose for the convention was to elect leadership for District 7 Republican activities and administration to two-year terms. Meeting in the Ralph Inglestad Arena, the delegates elected Craig Bishop of Hutchinson to another term as Chairman, and Barb Chevrestad of Oklee as Deputy Chair. David Adams of Fergus... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
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Our friends at Clean Up the River Environment (CURE), a rural grassroots organization based in Montevideo, Minnesota, are asking Minnesotans to contact Governor Mark Dayton with requests to veto the Energy Omnibus bill. Here's the message from the group's Facebook page: Tell Governor Dayton to protect solar customers by vetoing legislation that punishes businesses and families for investing in solar power. Clean energy has been especially good for Greater Minnesota businesses and families, but now legislators are proposing an energy bill that would compel families to pay unfair, huge fees just for putting solar panels on their properties. That’s just... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
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While Minnesota Republican leaders and lawmakers condemned an offensive meme posted on the Minnesota 7th Congressional District Republican Party's Facebook page, Willmar's anti-refugee activist and failed 2014 and 2016 city council candidate Bob Enos shared his thoughts about the matter on this Facebook page on Wednesday. Yesterday, Enos doubled down on his own incivility, making a crude joke on his Facebook page about the renaming of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. Enos commented on his own post that the historical Dakota name for the lake (Bde Maka Ska (“White Earth Lake”)) means something else entirely: Read the article. The pronunciation and... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie
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Back on April 24, Bluestem noted MN rep says lead is a-okay because it's natural; or, poisoning is life on Planet Josh Heintzeman. Luckily, we're not the only ones paying attention to the implications of the Nisswa Republican's nincompoopery in the Brainerd Dispatch. In today's Timberjay, which serves Northern St. Louis County, we read in Lead is “all natural”:Legislator reveals the know-nothing nature of GOP assault on environment: Last week, we wrote about the dangers of the ongoing assault on science in Washington. This week, we have examples much closer to home. As we’ve previously reported, Minnesota’s Republican-led Legislature, with... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2017 at Bluestem Prairie