About 42% of more than 8,500 public school districts in the country have returned to full in-person instruction, according to a “Return to Learn” tracker developed by the American Enterprise Institute and the College Crisis Initiative of Davidson College.
Iowa and Florida, which are fully reopened, are the only two states in which 100% of their school districts are providing in-person educational instruction, the analysis found. While Texas is also fully reopened, only 73% of its districts are providing full in-person instruction. Districts in states still under lockdown restrictions, like the District of Columbia and Hawaii, have no schools providing full in-person instruction, the analysis found.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released data Tuesday showing a sharp increase in consumer prices, especially gasoline, as many Americans struggle to make ends meet.
March saw a 0.6% increase in consumer prices, the largest spike in nearly a decade. That increase can be attributed in large part to a rise in inflation.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Friday that California’s COVID-19 restrictions on in-home religious gatherings, limiting worship to families from a maximum of three households, could not continue.
In the 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court reversed a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling allowing California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s limits on people exercising their First Amendment rights to freely practice religion at home.
In its written order, the court noted that it was the fifth time it has “rejected the Ninth Circuit’s analysis of California’s COVID restrictions on religious exercise.”
After states shut down schools and forced families into virtual learning, parents and families found new ways to provide K-12 education to their children. While doing so, support for school choice options soared, a new poll from Real Clear Opinion Research found.
Among those surveyed, 71% said they support school choice, which is defined as giving parents the option to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school that best serves their needs. Across all racial and ethnic demographics, an overwhelming majority expressed support for school choice: Blacks (66%), Hispanic (68%), and Asian (66 percent).
These results “were the highest level of support ever recorded from major AFC national polling with a sample size above 800 voters,” the survey states.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced in February that it would deliver the detailed datasets needed for redistricting to the states by Sep. 30, 2021, after the original April 1, 2021, deadline. Some states’ own redistricting deadlines predate the Census Bureau’s projected data delivery date, prompting states to consider postponements or alternative data sources.
State redistricting deadlines generally take one of three forms:
Constitutional deadlines are set out explicitly in state constitutions. Altering these deadlines typically requires either a constitutional amendment or a court order.
Statutory deadlines are set by state legislatures. They are subject to change at the legislature’s discretion.
Redistricting deadlines can also be inferred from candidate filing deadlines. For example, if a state sets its filing deadline for congressional candidates for Feb. 1, 2022, it can be inferred that the congressional maps must be fixed by that point.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, and Sen. Zach Duckworth, R-Lakeville, on Friday announced a package aiming to spend billions of federal dollars on hard-hit industries, filling the unemployment fund, and infrastructure plans.
“These one-time funds provide us with the chance to set Minnesotans on a path for long-lasting growth. By targeting our spending for maximum impact, we are setting Minnesotans up to rebuild their community connections, invest in their families, and help our businesses recover and grow.” Duckworth said in a statement. “Most importantly, these investments are being made without increasing taxes on Minnesotans who have already sacrificed so much in the last year.”
The bill language, expected to be released next week, seeks to direct $2.5 billion of the American Rescue Plan to Minnesotans hardest hit by the pandemic and promote economic growth, according to a press release.
Gov. Greg Abbott held a short press conference Wednesday night outside of the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio to discuss allegations about the abuse of migrant minors occurring at a federally run detention center.
Two separate state agencies received reports of child abuse and neglect occurring at the Freeman Coliseum, problems Abbott says “are a byproduct of [President Joe] Biden’s open border policies and lack of planning and fallout from those disastrous policies.”
As Minnesota returns to a semblance of normalcy with an increasing number of injected COVID-19 vaccines, one Republican aims to ban “vaccine passports.”
SF 1589 aims to ban forced COVID-19 vaccinations, forced digital contact tracing, and required proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering a government business.
“Your personal health information should not be made public. I stand against the special interests that want your private health information,” Senate Health Committee Chair Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, posted on Facebook.
Of the more than 700 unaccompanied migrant minors who were transported to the San Diego Convention Center from Texas, roughly 10% have tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple news reports citing health officials.
The Department of Health and Human Services reported on March 30 that 70 of these minors tested positive; none required hospitalization.
The San Diego Convention Center is currently holding 723 girls between the ages of 13 and 17 – all of whom were transferred from federal shelters in Texas.
Twenty miles means a world of difference for Minnesota breweries that have grown as much as state law allows.
Minnesota’s alcohol laws are pushing breweries to expand in other states, Brad Glynn, Lift Bridge Brewing cofounder and vice president of marketing told The Center Square in a phone interview.
In May, Lift Bridge Brewing Co plans to expand to a New Richmond, Wisconsin location.
An estimated 46 million people — or 18% of the country — would be unable to pay for health care if they needed it today, a recent poll conducted by Gallup and West Health found.
In another survey by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the majority of hospitals in the U.S. have yet to comply with a transparency ruling implemented this year that would help patients shop around for the most affordable prices.
Gallup’s findings are based on a poll conducted between February 15 and 21 among 3,753 adults with a margin of error of 2%.
Four Great Lakes governors on Tuesday urged President Joe Biden to prioritize federal investments in water infrastructure.
In a letter sent to Biden, the governors lauded the American Rescue Plan Act’s $360 billion in direct aid to state and local governments that can be spent on water and sewer infrastructure.
“As your administration continues to develop and pursue its policy agenda, we respectfully encourage you to continue your emphasis on modernizing America’s water infrastructure,” readsthe letter.
The GOP-led Minnesota Senate recently approved several bills that aim to support families and teachers in recovering from learning loss suffered during COVID-19-related school closures.
Senate File 628 seeks to require the Department of Education to administer in-person statewide Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments during the spring of 2021, regardless of the current learning format. MCAs measure student progress in core academic subjects and were canceled last year.
“At this point, we are all familiar with the pain and hardship that school closures have caused students,” Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, said in a statement. “The Senate is taking the smart steps necessary to help students catch their breath and recover from some of the worst side effects of COVID.”
Landlords are struggling after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended a national ban on certain evictions apparently to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The CDC extended the moratorium, first enacted in Sept. 2020, through June 30.
The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group, filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa on behalf of Asa Mossman of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and other housing providers.
More than 850 criminals have been encountered at the U.S. border with Mexico this year, including 92 sex offenders and 63 gang members, a U.S. Border Patrol agent tweeted this weekend.
Included among “the copious amounts of groups being encountered” at the Rio Grande Valley, Hastings said, are “a Salvadoran man with a prior conviction for murder” along with 862 criminals, Chief Patrol Agent Brian Hastings tweeted.
The Office of The Legislative Auditor released an audit Monday finding the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Behavioral Health Division (BHD) had inadequate internal controls and violated safeguards to prevent fraud and abuse.
“Since the creation of the Behavioral Health Division in early 2018, DHS did not analyze the risks of fraud, waste, abuse, and noncompliance with legal requirements related to oversight of BHD grants,” auditors wrote.
“Normalcy is on the horizon,” Gov. Tim Walz told Minnesotans in his 2021 State of the State speech.
Walz delivered his speech Sunday night from his old Mankato classroom.
The state is recovering quickly from the global pandemic, he said, with 80% of seniors having a single vaccine dose and two-thirds of school personnel vaccinated. Starting Tuesday, he said, all Minnesotans ages 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Faced with ongoing state lockdowns and changing school restrictions last year, frustrated parents increasingly pulled their children out of public schools nationwide and found other educational options for their children, one of which was home-schooling.
According to a new U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, a substantial increase in the number of parents who chose to home-school occurred in 2020 compared to 2019. The survey is the first data source to offer both a national and state-level look at the impact of COVID-19 on homeschooling rates, the report states.
Using a large, nationally representative sample of U.S. households, the survey found that home-schooling was notably higher than national benchmarks. It was conducted in phases to assess parental choices over different periods of the school year.
A bipartisan bill claims it would reduce the cost of prescription drug costs to save taxpayers a potential millions – if not billions – of dollars.
Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, held a Friday news conference with Rep. Mike Howard, D-Richfield, highlighting the bill
SF 2178 would allow the state to share bid information submitted by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) for public employee contracts. The reverse auction process incentivizes PBMs to compete against each other by submitting lower offers in bidding rounds to win a contract, which is meant to achieve cost savings without impacting the quality of state health benefit plans.
Red states are leading economic growth in the U.S., a new report by the U. S. Commerce Department shows, with South Dakota, Texas and Utah reporting the highest growth.
The report is based on 2020 fourth quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data and February 2021 unemployment rates.
Real GDP increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the fourth quarter of 2020. Real GDP for the U.S. as a whole increased at an annual rate of 4.3%. The percent change in real GDP in the fourth quarter ranged from 9.9% in South Dakota to 1.2% in the District of Columbia.
California’s two U.S. Senators, both Democrats, are calling on President Joe Biden to ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars in the United States.
Sens. Diane Feinstein and Alex Padilla sent a letter to Biden urging him to “follow California’s lead and set a date by which all new cars and passenger trucks sold be zero-emission vehicles.”
Last September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who now faces a potential recall election, signed an executive order banning the sale of gasoline-powered cars in California by requiring all new cars and trucks being sold in the state to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. Currently, electric vehicles account for less than 3 percent of all vehicle sales in the U.S.
Thirty-seven of 44 shelters, or 87 percent, currently housing unaccompanied migrant minors in Texas reported positive COVID-19 test results between March 5 and 23, according to data collected by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Cases are identified by shelter facilities and foster care providers, which are then reported to officials at the agency.
“The Biden Administration has been an abject failure when it comes to ensuring the safety of unaccompanied minors who cross our border,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. “The conditions unaccompanied minors face in these federally run facilities is unacceptable and inhumane. From a lack of safe drinking water in one location to a COVID-19 outbreak in another, the Biden Administration has no excuse for subjecting these children to these kinds of conditions.
Dr. Rachel Levine became the highest-ranking transgender official to serve in federal office with her confirmation Wednesday in the U.S. Senate.
Levine joins the Department of Health and Human Services as assistant secretary of health after President Joe Biden nominated her for the post in January.
At the time, Biden described Pennsylvania’s former Secretary of Health as an “historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”
President Joe Biden on Thursday set a new target of 200 million Americans being vaccinated by the end of April while also facing questions about the southern U.S. border crisis, the potential to end filibusters in the U.S. Senate and other issues.
At the first news conference of his presidency, held later into his first term than recent presidents, Biden said the U.S. was on target to vaccinate more than 200 million Americans by his 100th day in office.
A 92-year-old is fighting in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals for $25,000 of lost equity in her former Minneapolis condo after Hennepin County seized and sold it to settle a $15,000 tax debt and kept the difference.
Geraldine Tyler moved out of her Minneapolis condo in 2010 because of rising crime but couldn’t pay both her condo’s property taxes and rent on her new apartment.
The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that 2.65 million illegal immigrants have Social Security numbers and, because of their income threshold and number of children they have, are eligible to receive federal stimulus checks.
In a new report, CIS estimates that illegal immigrants could receive an estimated $4.38 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 passed by Democrats along party lines.
Two weeks ago, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said that illegal immigrants would be receiving $1,400 checks through the legislation and introduced an amendment to stop it. Democrats rejected the amendment.
A new accuser has come forward in the ongoing sexual harassment scandal tied to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. On Friday, a current staffer came forward with a series of allegations against the leader facing numerous calls to resign over similar accusations.
Alyssa McGrath told The New York Times that the governor gawked at her body and commented on her appearance. In another instance, she claimed Cuomo “gazed down her shirt.”
She becomes the second current aide to accuse Cuomo of harassing behavior. Last week, the Albany Times Union reported an unnamed individual filed a complaint that the governor grabbed her in the executive mansion last year.
Rep. Erik Mortensen, R-Shakopee, introduced a bill that would take away the governor’s power to unilaterally declare a peacetime emergency or to issue executive orders that are treated as law.
The Unilateral Emergency Powers Repeal Act, HF 2204, would require a two-thirds majority vote from the House and Senate to declare a peacetime emergency.
In an email, Mortensen said, “By unilaterally declaring emergency powers, Walz completely eradicated our republican form of government and started becoming the supreme lawmaker of the land.” This bill would take away that ability.
Gov. Tim Walz will quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19 on Monday, his office announced Wednesday.
Walz’s spokesperson Teddy Tschann said a Walz staff member tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday morning after a Tuesday test.
The Missouri Senate Monday night rejected a proposed five-year phase-out of the state’s property tax that could have saved state taxpayers nearly $1.5 billion by 2027.
On Thursday, the measure was resurrected as a proposal to make any increases in the personal property tax rate the same percentage as any real property tax rate hikes approved by counties, among a bevy of other provisions.
Former U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico, who opposes fracking and oil drilling on federal lands, was confirmed as President Joe Biden’s new Interior secretary Monday in a narrow, 52-40, vote.
Haaland, who will become the first cabinet secretary of Native American descent, was criticized by many Republicans and supporters of the U.S. oil and gas industry as being extreme on climate change.
“America’s energy workers will be disappointed, but this close vote is hardly a ringing endorsement for Deb Haaland and the Biden anti-energy agenda,” Power The Future’s Western States Director Larry Behrens said in a statement. “With 40 Senators voting against her confirmation, it’s clear many across the country don’t trust Deb Haaland to run a critical federal agency.”
The union for a Los Angeles trucking company, Teamsters Local 986, was forced out after nearly 80% of workers signed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to remove it.
The National Labor Relations Act governs private sector workers, unionization and how workers can remove a union from their workplace. In 27 right-to-work states, union payments are voluntary. In California and other non right-to-work states, union payments are mandatory for all unionized and non-union employees.
The PRO Act, which passed the U.S. House Tuesday on a largely partisan vote, could eliminate most forms of independent contracting, gig work and freelancing – potentially impacting as many as 59 million freelance workers who represent 36 percent of the total U.S. workforce.
In 2020, the freelance community accounted for $1.2 trillion in earnings, according to a report published by UpWork.
Eleven states, led by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, have filed a motion to intervene in a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case over challenges to a 2018 public charge rule change that required immigrants coming to the U.S. to prove they could financially support themselves.
The Biden administration removed the rule change, effective March 9. Subsequently, the Department of Homeland Security announced on March 11 it will no longer apply the rule.
In a statement, it said it had “closed the book on the public charge rule and is doing the same with respect to a proposed rule regarding the affidavit of support that would have placed undue burdens on American families wishing to sponsor individuals lawfully immigrating to the U.S.”
The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to settle George Floyd’s wrongful death lawsuit for a record $27 million.
The settlement was announced on Friday.
In a viral May 2020 video, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, causing police brutality protests worldwide. Floyd died later that night. By the end of the week, the three officers involved were fired.
President Joe Biden said Thursday night that he is directing U.S. states to open COVID-19 vaccinations to all American adults by May 1 in an effort to more quickly reopen the country and prop up the staggering U.S. economy.
“To do this we’re going to go from a million shots a day … to 2 million shots a day,” he said.
In most U.S. states currently, only older Americans, front-line workers and those with pre-existing conditions are eligible, though getting scheduled for a first dose has been problematic in many states even for the most at-risk.
On Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz announced Minnesota is expanding vaccine eligibility after reaching its goal of vaccinating 70% of Minnesotan’s seniors.
The state will expand eligibility to the next two phases of Minnesotans, starting Wednesday.
President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that includes extended unemployment benefits, direct funding to states and municipalities, and $1,400 checks for most Americans.
“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving the people of this nation – working people, middle-class folks, people who built the country – a fighting chance, that’s what the essence of it is,” Biden said in the Oval Office before signing the bill.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday ratified changes the Senate made to a massive $1.9 trillion relief package that critics say contains hundreds of billions of dollars in wasteful spending unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the 220-211 vote, almost exclusively along party lines, the measure now goes to President Joe Biden, who said he will sign it. One Democrat – U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, who also voted against the initial bill – voted against the measure Wednesday. No Republicans voted for it.
As New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday announced the attorneys who will conduct the independent review on the sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Republicans in the state Legislature said they intend to seek the embattled leader’s impeachment.
James appointed Joon H. Kim and Anne L. Clark to look into the sexual harassment allegations. Kim is a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Clark focuses on employment law.
James said the state is committed to a thorough review and heralded Kim and Clark as experts. Kim and Clark will be able to issue subpoenas, depose people and review records. They will give James’ office a weekly update throughout the investigatio
A bill that would require local governments to approve extensions of public health emergency orders after 15 days is ready for adoption by the Missouri House.
House Bill 75, sponsored by Rep. Jim Murphy, was perfected Wednesday in a floor debate and awaits only a floor vote to be transferred to the Senate, where a raft of similar bills are matriculating in committees.
HB 75, which has already passed through the House Special Committee on Small Business and Rules – Legislative Oversight committees, would allow local public health officials to order a closure for no more than 15 days.
Last summer, millions of dollars in taxpayer money were spent in response to protests that turned violent throughout Ohio. A bill proposed in the Ohio Senate looks to make sure those responsible will pay for it.
Senate Bill 41, currently being discussed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, calls for restitution from those who are convicted of property damage during riots, including vandalism. The restitution would pay the expenses of police and emergency crews who have to respond to riots. The bill also allows the government to take possession of any property left behind by those who end up convicted.
State Senator Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, is sponsoring the bill. Lou Tobin, the Executive Director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, offered his support before the committee recently.
Early voting in Louisiana begins Saturday for an election in which two open seats in Congress, another in the Louisiana Legislature and a spot on the state school board are at stake.
Democrat Cedric Richmond was reelected to represent Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, the state’s only majority-minority district which includes New Orleans and extends into Baton Rouge. Richmond stepped down from Congress, however, shortly after last fall’s election to join President Joe Biden’s administration.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, whose district extends from the Rio Grande along the Mexican border to the San Antonio suburbs, is sounding the alarm about a potential border crisis in Texas.
More than 10,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended at a single border sector in Texas in one week, he says, and the numbers keep growing.
“We are weeks, maybe even days, away from a crisis on the southern border. Inaction is simply not an option,” Cueller said in a news release. “Our country is currently unprepared to handle a surge in migrants in the middle of the pandemic.”
Twenty Republican attorneys general argue that HR1, the “For the People Act,” which passed the U.S. House late in the night on Wednesday, is unconstitutional.
The chief legal officers of 20 states sent a letter to the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate, arguing that both the House and Senate versions of the bill, which deals with federal election law, “betray several constitutional deficiencies and alarming mandates.”
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has rescinded the business restrictions he put in place last year to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Ducey’s latest executive order, which he signed Friday, removes the capacity limits on businesses he had put in place July 9, effective immediately.
“We’ve learned a lot over the past year,” Ducey said. “Our businesses have done an excellent job at responding to this pandemic in a safe and responsible way. We will always admire the sacrifice they and their employees have made and their vigilance to protect against the virus.”
Ducey said Arizona, unlike many other states, never shut down.
On Friday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Judge Peter Cahill erred when he didn’t reinstate the third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin.
The former Minneapolis police officer stands accused of killing George Floyd in May.
The Appeals court remanded the argument back to Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill.
Minnesota House Democrats are proposing to spend taxpayer money to rebuild hundreds of million of dollars of damage rioters caused to the Twin Cities last summer after the death of George Floyd while in police custody.
Rep. Mohamud Noor, DFL-Minneapolis, sponsored House File 6.
On Tuesday, state health officials reported 53% of Minnesotans ages 65 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The state set a goal to reach 70% of seniors given one vaccination by the end of March so it can move to the next priority category to continue Minnesota’s recovery.
Enough COVID-19 doses will be available by the end of May that every American adult who wants one can receive it, President Joe Biden said Tuesday, though it might take more time to administer all of the doses.
The news came the same day that drugmaker Merck announced it would help Johnson & Johnson produce millions of doses of its recently approved vaccine.