Gov. Mark Dayton

Recent Articles

Timberjay bill signed into law

By Lisa Hills

Guest Commentator

 

An important piece of legislation was unanimously approved recently by both the House and Senate, and has recently been signed into law by Gov. Dayton. S. F. 1770 — commonly known as the “Timberjay bill” — may not have captured many headlines, but its significance goes to the heart of government accountability. The bill overturns an unfortunate ruling last fall from the Minnesota Supreme Court, and reaffirm that citizens have a right to information about private businesses that contract with government entities. The legislation is rooted in efforts by The Timberjay, a newspaper that serves Ely and Tower, to get information about a major school construction project. Publisher Marshall Helmberger, concerned about costs and other troubling aspects of a project, asked the school district for certain details about the construction contracts. Continue Reading →

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Radioactive gas: a persistent health risk in Minnesota

Governor Dayton has declared January “Radon Action Month” to encourage testing

Minnesota homes need to be tested for radon; winter is the best time to do it. Every 25 minutes, one person in the U.S. dies from radon-related lung cancer. It is the largest environmental cancer risk and t‹he leading cause of lung cancer among non smokers. Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable. More than 40 percent of Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon gas, and state health officials say every home should be tested. Continue Reading →

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‘Long overdue’ Black museum dedicated

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Roxanne Givens’ dream of a Black museum finally became a reality as the Minnesota African American Museum (MAAM) was formally dedicated last weekend. Those present for the ceremony agreed they were sharing a momentous occasion. “When Roxanne had the epiphany, I was just as excited as she was,” says Judie Carmichael Brown of the museum’s founder and acting director. Brown, herself a founding board member and public relations chair, told the MSR that an estimated 200 persons attended last Friday’s three-hour event at the former Coe mansion, which the museum board acquired in 2008, located at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 18th Street South. Master of ceremonies T. Mychael Rambo called the event the “Who’s Who of everybody,” including as it did local and national politicians, business leaders and community folk. Continue Reading →

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Teacher seniority in jeopardy

Supporters say ending ‘last in, first out’ layoffs saves good teachers; critics call it ‘election-year gimmick’
 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Does tenure have an effect on retaining effective teachers? A new bill that would change how school districts lay off teachers passed the Minnesota Senate last week. MSR spoke with supporters and critics of the legislation. Proponents of the bill say it will end the “last in, first out” (LIFO) system in which teacher layoffs are based on length of service, or seniority. In other words, the last teacher hired has to be the first teacher fired, whether they are effective or not. Continue Reading →

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Black votes on the line with Voter ID

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer 

 

A year after the 2008 presidential election, calls for new voter identification laws were heard in many states, including Minnesota. Led by a group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) composed mostly of Republicans, proponents claim that such a law is needed because there is “rampant voter fraud.”

ALEC’s public safety and elections task force drafted the Voter ID Act in the summer of 2009, which would require “proof of identity” to vote. Those without a valid photo ID must fill out a provisional ballot that is only counted if the voter produces an ID by the Monday following the election. It also suggests that ID cards be made available free of charge to eligible voters without a valid driver’s license. ALEC is a Republican-favored organization that is promoting “its right-wing agenda” in all 50 states, says Color of Change.org, a national activist group that has launched a national campaign calling for corporations and others to stop financially supporting the organization. Continue Reading →

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