Ryan Faircloth / St. Paul Pioneer Press
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz wants state lawmakers to return to the Capitol and work out a deal that would give diabetics access to an emergency supply of insulin if they cannot afford it. The rising cost of insulin became a major sticking point in this year’s legislative session, yet proposals to create an emergency supply of the lifesaving drug did not make it into the final budget bills.
As Minnesota deals with an early summer spike in drug overdoses, some of the suppliers who put the lifesaving Narcan treatments on the street are finding out their government funding is being cut, if not eliminated. Valhalla Place and the Steve Rummler HOPE Network are Minnesota’s largest community providers of the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone. They provide naloxone kits and overdose training free of charge to those who need them, serving everyone from addicts and families to homeless shelters and reservations.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s two medical marijuana companies lost a combined $2.4 million in 2018, adding to years of losses that have largely been driven by the state’s tightly regulated program. Leafline Labs, which has never had a profitable year, reported a net income loss of $1.8 million in 2018, according to financial documents. Minnesota Medical Solutions, which turned its first profit in 2017, fell back into the red with a $610,000 loss last year.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota students who have unpaid lunch debt cannot be blocked from walking in their graduation ceremonies, Attorney General Keith Ellison said Wednesday, May 15. Ellison issued a written opinion and cited two state statutes — the Minnesota Public School Fee Law and the Lunch Aid Law — to back his conclusion.
ST. PAUL -- A group of Minnesota citizens with diabetes made an eleventh-hour plea on Monday, May 13, for lawmakers to address the rising costs of insulin. During a news conference at the state Capitol, the women urged lawmakers to unite behind a proposal that would give people with diabetes an emergency supply of insulin if they cannot afford it. The “Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act” provision is wrapped into the House and Senate health and human services bills, but the versions are slightly different.
ST. PAUL — Paul Schnell let out a warm smile as he greeted a class full of some of Minnesota’s most dangerous men. The new state corrections commissioner struck up candid conversations with several inmates during a visit to the maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights earlier this month. One asked for more educational and vocational classes like the one they were in, while another said he wished there were more psychology services to help him reflect on his actions.
Vice President Mike Pence plugged a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada during a visit to a St. Paul steel mill Thursday, May 9, saying the pact would level the playing field and put American workers first. Pence toured Gerdau Ameristeel, which sits along the Mississippi River southeast of downtown St. Paul, and gave remarks about the trade agreement. The United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal, known as USMCA, needs congressional approval to replace the existing North American Free Trade Agreement that the three countries inked in 1994.
LAKEVILLE, Minn. — Democrat Beto O’Rourke made his presidential pitch to voters in Minnesota on Wednesday, April 8, telling a capacity crowd in Lakeville that he would work to fix the immigration and health care systems and address gun violence.
ST. PAUL -- Democrats in the Minnesota House want to give more state grant money to undocumented immigrants who are attending college but do not qualify for federal aid. Students who are not legal citizens can receive state grants, but they do not qualify for federal Pell Grants. Under a proposal in the House higher education omnibus bill, undocumented students would be eligible for more state grant money to make up for the gap in federal aid.
ST. PAUL — State lawmakers have yet to come together to appoint four new members to the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents. They have until the last day of the legislative session, May 20, to do so. But the odds that they will are looking more and more unlikely. If the two chambers do not call a joint convention — a gesture that is meant to be bipartisan — DFL Gov. Tim Walz will fill the four vacancies. The openings include a 5th Congressional District seat, two at-large seats and a student seat. So what’s the holdup?