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Sally Jo Sorensen
Sally Sorensen, an independent blogger, lives and works in rural Minnesota.
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Ronald Reagan famously said in a 1986 press conference, "I think you all know that I've always felt the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help." While Bluestem doesn't agree, we were reminded recently that this nation doesn't produce conservatives with those great communication skills anymore when we read a news story in the New Ulm Journal. In Hagedorn visits students in the New Ulm Journal, we learned: Nine Comfrey Public School fifth-graders stood and recited the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution for First District Rep. Jim Hagedorn Wednesday.... Continue reading
Posted 8 hours ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Bluestem has been reading criticisms of the Minnesota Senate Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources budget bill in articles like City Pages' Republicans go 'slash and burn' on Minnesota's parks, environment funding, and MinnPost's Why the GOP wants to cut Minnesota’s environmental spending. Tuesday, SF2314 passed 35-32. On Tuesday, arch-environmentalist Steve Morse tweeted before the vote: Our community letter of @mnsrc Environment and Conservation budget bill. It takes 5 pages to cover the highlights of the problems with it. How many will stand with the Great Outdoors and vote no? #mnLeg #ProtectOurFuture https://t.co/S5pz4Fv0eL — Steve Morse (@sjemorse) April 23, 2019 Here's... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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On Monday, we posted in A curious sidenote about environment, climate change & the Minnesota Values Agenda, that the DFL House Caucus hadn't mentioned climate change or the environment in its Minnesota Values Agenda or Minnesota Values Plan, while both issues were coming to the fore for voters, according to a recent report in the Star Tribune (Climate change becomes key voter concern in Minnesota, across U.S.) Two fellows in Minnesota politics who aren't afraid to discuss climate change? Dayton Republican Eric Lucero and Glencoe's Republican Glenn Gruenhagen. Back in 2015, Susan Du included both in Meet the Minnesota Legislature's... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Earlier this year, Bluestem Prairie looked at Lakefield MN's own "Front Row Joe" Randall Thom and his irresponsible ways in January's Lakefield's "Front Row Joe" arrested for disorderly conduct at Elizabeth Warren event and February's Warren rally disorderly conduct guy from Lakefield in news again for livestock-chasing dog. "Front Row Joes" are people who attend as many Trump rallies around the country as they can. Now Thom's back in the news with the Worthington Globe report by Alyssa Sobotka about two late February and March incidents, Rural Lakefield man faces charges following barnyard slaughter: A Lakefield man who made international... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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In Monday's Star Tribune, we read in Torrey Van Oot's Climate change becomes key voter concern in Minnesota, across U.S.: . . . Perennial campaign issues like the economy, health care and immigration have long driven voters to the polls. But, in the face of growing international concern about the planet’s future, climate change and the environment are emerging as key concerns among voters such as Hasbrook. The share of Americans who feel the same way — and rank the environment as a top issue — has grown in recent years. “It’s a ‘from-the-gut’ issue,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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A reader who lives and votes in Minnesota House District 23B sent us an email of a link to a recent Mankato Free Press article with the subject line: "What's Missing?" The email's author thinks it's his state representative, New Republican House Caucus Member Jeremy Munson, rural Lake Crystral, is missing in action on a measure important to Rapidan Township's struggle with FEMA, a federal agency. After looking at the issue, we think our reader is on to something. In Rapidan Township seeks state help with FEMA, Trey Mewes reports at the Mankato Free Press: Rapidan Township is reaching out... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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In the Star Tribune, Outdoors columnist Dennis Anderson writes in an excellent column, Some state legislators would again dip into trust fund for outdoors: All of which seemed to be smoothed over last month when legislative leaders and Gov. Tim Walz signed into law a $98 million general-obligation bonding bill that replaced the bonds that would have been paid from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. To naive outsiders like me, the hugfest that celebrated the law’s enactment signaled that legislators had seen the error of their ways and, for fear of being sued over their misuse of lottery... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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Update April 17, 6:17 p.m.: a reader asks how long this action took since a bill requiring mandatory depopulation of a herd where CWD positive tests occurred. Good question; first-term St. Paul Democrat Representative Kaohly Her's HF1362 was introduced on February 18, 2019, so it was about two months. The bill was heard in the Minnesota House Ag and Food Finance and Policy Division on March 7. [end update] In CWD positive Crow Wing County deer farm depopulated, a press release issued yesterday, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health stated: The Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced the depopulation of... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Bluestem Prairie
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In Sidney Lumet's great 1976 movie Network, television news personality Howard Beale (Peter Finch) tells his audience to turn off their television sets: . . . But you people sit there, day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds... We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality, and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you! You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even *think* like the tube!... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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In Republicans go 'slash and burn' on Minnesota's parks, environment funding, City Pages' Hannah Jones reports: The people taking care of Minnesota’s parks, wildlife, air, and water aren't thrilled. The Minnesota Senate's Republican majority has unleashed a budget that reverses the state's historic devotion to the environment, slashing funding by 25 percent. She's writing about SF2314. which we looked at in MN Senate omnibus environment and natural resources bill expands commercial turtle harvest two days ago and March 20, 2019's A tale of two bills: a story of the next environmental trust fund raid revolution?. But Jones has gotten the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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The Minnesota Legislature may have recently received national recognition for its leadership in pollinator policy, but New House Republican Caucus leader Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, has never been fond of discussions of make Minnesota a better place for bees. In 2013, for example, Session Daily's Jonathan Mohr reported in Pollinator habitat restoration funds provision: For the birds, or for the bees?: “One of the areas of wasteful spending in the bill is something I’ve never heard about before, government engaged and endeavored to create bee habitat,” said Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa). “Three-hundred thousand dollars for habitat for bees, including $50,000 to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Back in March, we reported Vang bill will end MN commercial turtle selling; language from the bill has been incorporated into HF2209, the Minnesota House omnibus environment and natural resource bill (70.17-70.22). Over at the Minnesota Senate, the authors of the companion bill, SF2314 (2nd engrossment), have much different plans for the North Star State's turtle population. Herpetologist Christopher E. Smith tweeted on Saturday: Republicans in the MN Senate are not only NOT supporting turtle conservation, now they are trying to expand the unsustainable commercial harvest of turtles in MN via SF 2314. #mnleg 🐢 🐢 🐢 🐢 pic.twitter.com/2nZRkBwaZI —... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Bluestem was perplexed to see resolutions (SF 2781 and HF2825) introduced in the Minnesota legislature that would "memorialize the President and Congress to hold vaccine manufacturers liable for design defects that result in adverse side effects from vaccines." Was this part of the anti-vaccine movement? At Harvard Law School's Petrie-Flom Bill of Health blog, Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a professor of law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a member of the Parents Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, reviews the resolutions in a post Where Calls for Overturning Bruesewitz v. Wyeth Go Wrong: This week,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Editor's note April 14, 2019: this post has been updated to allow readers to compare Walz's recent executive order, and that issued by Governor Dayton in 2016. The Walz EO rescinds the older document. Both are embedded now in the post. [end note] We're a bit behind in posting about some of Minnesota's latest pollinator policy news. WNAX radio reports in Minnesota Executive Order Calls for Pollinator Program: Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has issued an Executive Order calling for restoring healthy and diverse pollinator populations that sustain and enhance the state’s environment, economy and way of life. State Farm Bureau... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Conservative anti-immigrant, anti Muslim activist Bob Enos doesn't seem to have acquainted himself with the Journal of the House or the body's online list of roll call votes. If he had done so, he'd have posted accurate figures on his Facebook lament about non-votes by and alleged absences of members of the Minnesota House of Representatives when HF1500, Drivers Licenses for All came up on the House floor last Friday. The roll call vote on the bill is here. According to page 1855 of the Journal of the House, Backer, Bennett, Davnie, Kresha and Miller were excused for the session.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
Found on the Works in Progress page of the Office of the Legislative Auditor - Program Evaluation Division: The Legislative Audit Commission met on April 5, 2019, and selected the following topics for evaluation in 2020: Minnesota Department of Human Rights Personal Care Assistance Pesticide Regulation Public Utilities Commission’s Public Engagement Processes Safety in State Correctional Facilities Data Centers Sales Tax Incentive/Compensatory Education Revenue** **The Legislative Audit Commission approved the Data Centers Sales Tax Incentive topic as part of OLA’s obligation under Minnesota Statutes 2018, 3.9735. If this law is repealed during the 2019 legislative session, the Legislative Audit Commission... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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To learn more about the vote on HF1500 in the Minnesota House, we recommend coverage like St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter Dave Orrick's Why group of Minnesota farmers support driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants or MPR's Tim Pugmire's post House passes immigrant license bill with unclear future. Bluestem draws your attention to former Speaker--and current Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, as he throws a temper tantrum while presenting a point of order over an amendment. After Acting Speaker Laurie Halverson ruled that Daudt's point of order was not well-taken, Daudt objected and continued talking, despite Rochester DFLer Tina Leibling asking... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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In a post Thursday on the Land Stewardship Project website, organizer Johanna Rupprecht writes in part: But frac sand interests soon chose to try to use the courts to undo this democratic decision. So far, the ban has been resoundingly upheld both by the District Court in 2017 and by the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 2018. Frac sand corporation Minnesota Sands, LLC appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments in the case on Wednesday, April 10. This is the last appeal available to Minnesota Sands, LLC. Because the ban would never have happened without our... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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After Governor Tim Walz's State of the State speech on Wednesday night, we heard Minority Leader Kurt Daudt claim bragging rights for funding the fix to Southern Minnesota's own "Highway to Hell," Highway 14. Daudt was reacting in an interview on Minnesota Public Radio. "Really?" the editors of the New Ulm Journal ask in Friday's editorial. At the end of State of the State, they write: There’s one part of Walz’s story we did like. He pointed out the death and destruction that keeps occuring along Highway 14, and indicated the time has come to resolve that situation. Interestingly, House... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Last month, we'd posted that the Willmar Chamber of Commerce joins state chamber in supporting Drivers Licenses for All. On Tuesday, the Mankato Free Press editors agreed with the Chamber in Our View: Driver's licenses: Immigration status shouldn't be barrier: The Minnesota House is scheduled to vote Friday on legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. This is one of those measures that figures to be better policy than politics, and the Republican-led Senate should not reject the legislation out of hand. Immigration status was no barrier to driver’s licenses until 2003. Today undocumented immigrants cannot legally... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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At Session Daily, Erin Martin reports in Omnibus environment bill gets division OK; heads to House Ways and Means Committee: The sound of opposition was quiet and scattered. A few Republican members offered up ‘nays’ while others sat silent, following the strong chorus of ‘ayes’ from DFL members of the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division Thursday as it voted to approve the omnibus environment and natural resources bill. Likely ending division action for the session, the vote successfully moved along HF2209, as amended, and sponsored by Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul), to the House Ways and Means... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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In Sunday's post, Strib endorses strong response to CWD; recent House Ag & Food "discussion," not so much, we looked at an amendment to HF2200 that was discussed--but not moved--in the Minnesota House Ag & Food Finance and Policy Division last Thursday. That amendment only concerned chronic wasting disease policy and funding. The "delete everything" amendment is the entire new bill. According to the division's website: Tuesday, April 02, 2019 at 9:45 AM Chair: Rep. Jeanne PoppeLocation: 200 State Office Building Agenda: The hearing may be extended until noon if necessary to complete the agenda. HF2200 (Poppe) Omnibus Agriculture &... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Although the Star Tribune editorial board praised state representative's Jamie Becker's leadership in the March 29 editorial U's new effort will help broaden, better coordinate fight to contain chronic wasting disease, a development in the Minnesota House's Ag and Food Finance and Policy Division on Thursday suggests that the Roseville DFLer's work may be sabotaged by the state's captive deer industry and agribusiness interests. The Strib's editorial board writes: Thanks to strong leadership by Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, DFL-Roseville, the Minnesota Legislature is currently weighing pragmatic, nation-leading efforts to protect hunters and their families. . . . State lawmakers should continue... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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Ten wild trumpeter swans at Vadnais Height's Sucker Lake died from lead poisoning, most likely ingested in the form of lost or discarded sinkers. These painful deaths do not need to be repeated, however, as the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) urges Minnesota's anglers to use non-toxic alternatives. Bluestem believes a better policy would be to ban all lead sinkers for use in the state's waters--along with banning the use of lead shot by firearm hunters on public lands. Lead is a toxic poison. At the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Deanna Weniger reports in Dead trumpeter swans in Vadnais Heights... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie
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UPDATE March 30: Representative Hansen sent Bluestem a copy of the resolutions while we were working on this post. Our apologies for not posting the document with the rest of the information. The document notes that it was originally considered and earlier in March: "Resolution approved at joint meeting of the WJ McCabe Chapter IWLA Board of Directors and Conservation Issues Committee Tuesday March 12th , 2019." Resolution Concerning CWD uploaded by Sally Jo Sorensen on Scribd Via S. St. Paul state representative and Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Revenue Division Chair Rick Hansen's Facebook page, we learn that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2019 at Bluestem Prairie