Minneapolis Suggests Business Owners Install ‘Permanent Security Gates’ Ahead of Chauvin Trial

City leaders encouraged Minneapolis business owners to consider installing “permanent security gates” ahead of ex-officer Derek Chauvin’s trial in the death of George Floyd.

The trial is set to begin Monday with jury selection but could face delays because of an appellate court’s Friday ruling that the presiding judge in the case erred when he didn’t reinstate charges of third-degree murder against Chauvin, The New York Times reported.

The downtown area is already heavily fortified, with businesses and government buildings boarding up their windows and installing barricades.

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Minnesota Appeals Court Rules Trial Judge Erred in Not Reinstating Chauvin’s Third-Degree Murder Charge

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.

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Minnesota DFL Pitch Plans to Rebuild Twin Cities’ Riot Damage; Republicans Characterize It as ‘Bailout’

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.

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2020 Marks New Record for Number of Minnesotans Carrying Guns

As crime skyrocketed and police response times increased in the Twin Cities, a record number of Minnesotans took protection into their own hands.

2020 clocked in a 53% year-on-year increase in the number of permits to carry issued in Minnesota, according to newly released data from the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Almost 100,000 new permits were authorized.

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Minnesota Gives First Vaccine to 53 Percent of Seniors, Aiming for 70 Percent Goal by End of This Month

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.

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Four Months After 2020 Presidential Election in Georgia No Chain of Custody Documents Produced for 404,000 Absentee Ballots Deposited in Drop Boxes; Fulton County One of 35 Scofflaw Counties

Four months after the November 3, 2020 presidential election, state and county officials in Georgia have failed to produce chain of custody documents for an estimated 404,691 vote by mail absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes and subsequently delivered to county registrars for counting.

As of March 3, only 56 of Georgia’s 159 counties have provided ballot transfer form data to The Georgia Star News. The number of absentee by mail ballots delivered to registrars in those 56 counties total only 195,309, or 32.5 percent, of the estimated 600,000 absentee vote by mail ballots deposited in drop boxes and delivered to county registrars and counted in Georgia’s 2020 presidential.

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‘Automatic’ Voter Registration Bill Heads to Minnesota House Floor

A bill that would make voter registration automatic is headed the floor the of Minnesota House of Representatives. 

“Members approved two bills with nearly identical language that would implement automatic voter registration in Minnesota by using information being collected during transactions with government agencies, such as getting a driver’s license, to register those who are eligible,” according to the state House’s website. “People would have 20 days to decline the registration.”

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Bipartisan Group Demands Minnesota Gov. Walz ‘Immediately Remove’ Vaccine Questionnaire Requirements

A bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to Gov. Tim Walz Sunday asking for the immediate removal of personal questions on the COVID-19 vaccine sign-up form.

Sen. Karin Housley, R-Stillwater, has been leading the charge in advocating for senior citizens’ prioritization for the vaccine. Housley is now raising concerns about invasive questions being asked of seniors before they can receive the vaccine, such as questions about gender identity, sexual orientation, and mental or emotional condition.

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Minneapolis to Pay ‘Influencers’ for City-Approved Social Media Propaganda During Chauvin Trial

The Minneapolis City Council Friday approved a plan to pay social media “influencers” cash to spread city-approved messages during the trial of former Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officer Derek Chauvin. 

“The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously Friday to approve a $1 million communications and de-escalation plan that involves partnering with community leaders, local media and social media influencers during Chauvin’s trial set to begin in March, as well the August trial of three other former officers charged in [George] Floyd’s death,” Fox News reported. 

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State Democrats Now Want $300 Million for Twin Cities Riot Damage

Minnesota Democrats want $300 million for riot-damaged businesses, double what Gov. Tim Walz requested in his budget proposal.

Last summer’s riots caused an estimated $500 million in damage across the Twin Cities, but the debate over who will pay for the repairs has raged on ever since.

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Minnesota Cities’ Police Settlements Ranged from $50,000 to $24.3 Million from 2018-20

Freedom of Information Act research conducted by The Center Square reveals Minnesota cities relied on taxpayers to foot police-settlement payouts ranging from $50,000 to more than $24 million between 2018 and 2020.

Police settlements compensate the public for violated rights and also avoid clogging the court system.

Still, over the past few decades, taxpayers are being left with more significant bills.

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Twin Cities Light Rail Ridership Was Down 59 Percent in 2020

Light rail ridership in the Twin Cities metro area was down an average of 59% in 2020 when compared to 2019 numbers.

The Metropolitan Council, which runs public transportation in the Twin Cities metro area, released ridership numbers this week that demonstrate the significant decline in ridership across all modes of public transportation.

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Minnesota Seniors ‘Frustrated and Confused’ About COVID-19 Vaccine Process, AARP Says

Only 42% of Minnesota seniors, the group most susceptible to death by COVID-19, have received the first of two COVID-19 vaccination shots.

AARP Minnesota, which represents 640,000 people, sent Gov. Tim Walz a letter detailing problems with the vaccine rollout, saying it left seniors “frustrated and confused.”

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Georgia Senate Approves Election Reform Package, Including Absentee Ballot Signature-Match Overhaul

The Georgia Senate approved four measures Tuesday that make changes to the election process as a response to November’s presidential election.

Georgia gained national attention after a close presidential election prompted three recounts and lawsuits and threats from former President Donald Trump’s campaign and supporters. Several questions and allegations arose from Georgia’s absentee-ballot process.

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Minnesota Gov. Walz Announces $518 Million Jobs Plan, Including $150 Million for Twin Cities Rioting Damage

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Monday announced his 2021 Local Jobs and Projects Plan that aims to spend $518 million on infrastructure projects across the state.
Walz compared infrastructure spending to repairing a house’s roof.

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Minnesota Legislators Want State to Award Contracts Based on Skin Color

A group of black legislators in Minnesota wants the state to begin awarding contracts on the basis of race, according to a Monday report. 

“The United Black Legislative Caucus, made up of 10 Black Minnesota state senators and representatives, announced in a recent virtual town hall that they’ll push for the state to require 15% of all public contracts to be awarded to businesses owned by people of color,” The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal said.

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Home Schooling in Minnesota Skyrocketed 50% Amid School Closures

Homeschoolers

A Friday report from the Minnesota Department of Education confirmed what many have suspected all along: parents are opting to take their children out of public schools.

Overall public-school enrollment decreased by 2% between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, MDE said in its report, which translates to a net loss of about 17,000 students. This decrease was driven largely by a 9% drop in public kindergarten enrollment, according to the MDE.

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More Than 1 Million Minnesotans Have Gotten a COVID-19 Vaccine

Less than one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesotans have received more than 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday.

About 728,081 Minnesotans had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 286,543 have completed the two-dose series. 

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Minnesota Gov. Walz Announces Plan for All Schools to Offer Some In-Person Learning by March 8

On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz updated Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan to allow more middle school and high school students to return to the classroom for hybrid or in-person learning as early as Monday.

Walz expects all schools to offer their students some form of in-person learning by March 8, but said he won’t force them to comply.

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Minneapolis Lifts Bar Seating Ban, Still Requires Multiple Distancing Rules

Residents of Minneapolis received a small reprieve from stringent COVID-19 restrictions Friday, but plenty of rules still remain in place. 

“The city of Minneapolis has lifted its ban on bar counter seating just in time for the weekend,” Minnesota Public Radio News (MPR) reported. “Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the decision was based on public health data, showing a decrease in COVID-19 cases in the city.”

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Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer Exposes the ‘Dirty Truth’ About School Closures

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer exposed the “dirty truth” about school closures at a Friday event hosted by the Center of the American Experiment.

Emmer represents Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District and chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee. He believes education will remain a hot topic in the 2022 midterms.

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Bill to Legalize Marijuana Passes Minnesota House Subcommittee

After an hour and a half hearing Thursday, a bill that would legalize the use of recreational marijuana passed a Minnesota House Commerce Finance and Policy subcommittee. 

“There being 10 ayes and seven nays, House File 600 is recommended to be referred to the Committee on Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy,” chairman of the subcommittee state Rep. Zach Stephenson (DFL-MN-36A) said after the roll call at the end of the online hearing. 

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Minnesota Gov. Walz Pushes for Subsidized Biofuels but Economists Warn of Climate Damage, Higher Food Prices

Gov. Tim Walz asked for President Joe Biden’s continued support for the biofuels program last week, despite economists’ concerns over concerns about biofuels’ inefficiency and costs. 

Biofuels — bioethanol and biodiesel derived from plants — since 2005 have been pitched as a solution to climate change because they decrease dependency on fossil fuels.

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Nonprofit Law Center Fighting for Michigan Man Fired for Saying ‘All Lives Matter’

A legal nonprofit has taken the case of a Michigan man who was fired from his job for using the phrase “All Lives Matter,” according to a press release.

Rick Beaudin, a Re/Max realtor in Pinckney, Michigan, posted what he thought was an innocuous comment on Facebook, in a response to Black Lives Matter organizing a protest there. 

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Ilhan Omar Goes on Student Debt Rant After Biden Says He Won’t Cancel Loans

After a Tuesday evening town hall, president Joe Biden said he will not cancel up to $50,000 of student loans, prompting backlash from the progressive wing of his own party. 

“I will not make that happen,” Biden said when asked what he will do to cancel up to $50,000 in student loans. 

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In Setback for Walz, DFL House Fails to Get Support for Chauvin Trial Safety Proposal

A proposal from Gov. Tim Walz to help cover the cost of security for ex-officer Derek Chauvin’s upcoming trial was stalled Monday in the Minnesota House.

Democrats, who have a 70-64 advantage in the House, blamed Republicans for the gridlock.

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DFL Introduces Adult-Use Cannabis Bill Opposed by Senate Leader

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, has introduced adult-use cannabis legislation that a Senate Republican leader opposes.

The bill is derived from conversations in 15 communities statewide.

“The tide is shifting,” Winkler said in a press conference about the 15 states that’ve legalized marijuana so far.

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Minneapolis to Spend Millions Bolstering Depleted Police Force

The city of Minneapolis will spend nearly more than six million dollars recruiting new police officers, after beginning 2021 with 200 fewer officers than one year prior. 

“Minneapolis will hire dozens more police officers after the City Council on Friday agreed to release $6.4 million to bring on additional recruits,” The Star-Tribune reported. 

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Minnesota Legislators Push to Abolish Walz’s Power over Public Schools

Republican lawmakers want to strip the governor of his ability to “unilaterally” close schools during a peacetime emergency.

Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, authored a bill that would make Gov. Tim Walz’s peacetime emergency powers invalid in the realm of shutting down in-person school. The governor may “advise and consult” with school boards and leaders, but may not take any action himself, the bill states.

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Minneapolis City Council Votes to Ban Facial Recognition for Police Use

On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to ban facial recognition technology for police use.

The determination prohibits every city department from acquiring, obtaining, or using facial recognition technology or information derived from the technology.

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Police Orgs Keep Minneapolis on Ice over Support During Derek Chauvin Trial

Three police organizations representing more than 10,000 police officers, 300 police chiefs, and 87 county sheriffs offices sent a letter to the Minnesota House of Representatives Public Safety, Criminal Justice Reform, Finance and Policy Division remaining non-committal over whether they’ll assist the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) during the upcoming trial of former MPD officer Derek Chauvin. 

“We are writing on behalf of the largest statewide law enforcement associations in Minnesota,” the letter said. “Together the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA), The Minnesota Sheriff’s Association (MCA), and the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) represent more than 300 police chiefs, 87 county sheriff’s, and approximately 10,400 rank-and-file officers respectively.” 

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Destroyed Minneapolis Diner Sues City Claiming Negligence During Floyd Riots, Seeks $4.5 Million

A Minneapolis diner sued the city for not stopping rioters from demolishing its property. The lawsuit is the first since the May riots, which resulted in roughly $500 million in damages to properties located in the Twin Cities.

Kacey White and Charles Stotts, on behalf of Lake Street Town Talk Diner & Gastropub, filed a federal lawsuit arguing Mayor Jacob Frey and the city “stood back and watched as their failure to follow the policies in place destroyed the businesses on Lake Street.”

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Minnesota Health Coalition Wants Minority Groups to Get Vaccinated First

A coalition of Minnesota doctors wants the governor to prioritize minority groups for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Minnesota Doctors for Health Equity sent a letter Monday to Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan asking for “ethical, evidence-based, and equitable action” surrounding the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution, particularly regarding Phase 1b of the vaccine rollout.

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Half of Rep. Omar’s Campaign Donations Funneled to Husband’s Company

Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show that more than half of all donations made to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) in her 2020 re-election bid were paid to her husband’s business in the form of consulting fees. 

Omar’s 2020 FEC report shows a total of 146 payments made to the E Street Group, her husband Tim Mynett’s firm. Those payments total $2.9 million. As reported by The Washington Free Beacon, that $2.9 million Mynett made from his wife’s re-election campaign accounted for about 80 percent of his firm’s revenue during the last election cycle. 

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Minneapolis Police Scrambling for Staff After Riots, ‘Defund Police’ Campaign

The Minneapolis Police Department is in dire straights as it prepares for possible violence during the trial of one of its former officers.

“Minneapolis has about 200 fewer police officers available to work as the city tries to rebound from a violent year and prepare for more potential unrest,” The Star-Tribune reported. “In the short term, the city is seeking aid from other law enforcement agencies as it plans for the March trial for former Officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with killing George Floyd.”

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Councilmember Cancels Meetings with Community Amid Attempt to Gut MPD

Minneapolis City Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham once claimed that “community engagement” is key to defunding the police. Now, Cunningham has canceled his “Community Office Hours” after facing backlash due to the council’s efforts to defund law enforcement.

Cunningham has served on the council since 2017, when he became the second female-to-male transgender person elected to public office in the U.S. Cunningham also took a key role in the push to amend the City Charter to defund the police in June, and presently heads up the continued action towards this goal.

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Gov. Walz Activates National Guard for Third Time in a Year over Former Police Officer Chauvin’s Trial

For at least the fourth time in the last year, Gov. Tim Walz has activated the National Guard.

This time, it’s to keep the peace during former police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial. The former police officer stands accused of killing George Floyd in May 2020.

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Omar: Minneapolis Law Enforcement Officers Are ‘Unwilling to Work’

Rep. Ilhan Omar said the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) is low on officers because cops are “unwilling to work.”

MPD just began 2021 with about 200 fewer officers than it had at the start of 2020 after losing 105 cops during a year filled with riots and anti-police sentiment. During a usual year, the department would expect to lose just over 40 officers. The city now has just 638 active officers.

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Minnesota Sees Boom in Gun Sales as New Regulations Loom

The FBI processed 55% more firearm background checks from Minnesota in January 2021 compared to the same month last year.

In the first month of 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation processed 56,561 background checks for gun sales through its National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in Minnesota. In January 2021, that number jumped to 87,538 amid a record-breaking increase in gun-buying around the country.

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Minnesota Congressman Apologizes for His ‘Privilege’ During Capitol Riots

Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips apologized Thursday night on the House floor to his colleagues for having “privilege” during the Jan. 6 Capitol siege.

As congressmen spoke of their fears during the event, the 52-year-old heir to the Phillips Distilling Company issued contrition.

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Minnesota Voters Want Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s Election Money Investigated

Alpha News recently reported that eight Minnesota voters petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court with claims that Minnesota didn’t follow election laws in 2020. As part of their legal effort, these voters are requesting access to data involving Facebook CEO and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s financial influence on how the 2020 election was conducted.

It has been widely reported that Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan gave $350 million to a nonprofit, the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), that re-granted the funds to thousands of local election officials around the country. From the get-go, even before the election, these donations were controversial.

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Minneapolis FBI Helped Bust Company Sending Controlled Tech to China

The Minneapolis FBI office helped uncover and bring to justice a scheme by which China illegally acquired U.S. technology.

An indictment was unsealed this week which charged 45-year-old Chinese national Cheng Bo (AKA Joe Cheng) with violating U.S. export laws to illegally ship controlled power amplifiers to China. The power amplifiers in question have potential military applications, according to Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of the National Security Division.

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Senator: Seniors Account for 90 Percent of Minnesota Deaths, Allocated 25 Percent of Vaccine Doses

Gov. Tim Walz announced a plan Monday to get more COVID-19 vaccine doses into the arms of senior citizens, but some Republican senators think the proposal comes up short.

State Sen. Karin Housley, R-Stillwater, chair of the Senate’s Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care, called a press conference Monday to unveil her “seniors first” vaccine plan.

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Kamala-Backed Minnesota Freedom Fund Strikes Again, Irks Local Prosecutor

A Minneapolis man whose criminal behavior “raises significant concerns for public safety” was twice bailed out of jail by the Minnesota Freedom Fund.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced three new charges Thursday against 29-year-old Thomas Moseley.

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Minneapolis Leaders Propose New Department to ‘Supervise’ Police Officers

Minneapolis City Council members officially introduced a draft amendment to the city charter that would create a new Department of Public Safety and eliminate the Minneapolis police force as its own department.

After giving a notice of intent to change the charter’s current mandate — which requires funds for the MPD as a sole entity — to fund more general “public safety services,” City Council Members Phillipe Cunningham, Steve Fletcher, and Jeremy Schroeder introduced the draft of the amendment Friday. Their objective is to put the amendment up for a public vote during the next municipal election.

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Minnesota City Coalition’s 2021 Priorities Include Local Government Aid, Child Care Investment, Water Infrastructure

On Friday, The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) announced priorities for the 2021 legislative session for COVID-19 recovery, including Local Government Aid, child care, housing, and water infrastructure.

“The pandemic has taken a toll on our community,” Greg Zylka, mayor of Little Falls and CGMC president said in a Zoom meeting. “Some segments are still really struggling, and that pain has ripple effects across the city.”

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Amy Klobuchar Complains About Trump’s Tweets While Biden Governs by Executive Order

  A Minnesota Senator woke up Saturday morning to complain about former President Donald J. Trump’s “mean tweets,” while President Joe Biden governs by executive order. “Woke up on a Saturday and didn’t have to respond to a mean tweet from the White House. Feels weird but good. I’m going…

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National March for Life Was Mostly Virtual, but Pro-Life Supporters Attended Local Demonstrations Across U.S.

The national March for Life in Washington D.C. looked very different on Friday compared to past years. Normally, thousands of pro-life demonstrators would march through the Capitol in the yearly march, but this year the thousands turned to social media to watch as a few hundred hand-picked representatives of the pro-life movement marched in D.C. By Friday evening, a Facebook livestream of the event had over 200,000 views.

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Union Files Complaint Against Minneapolis Schools over Plan to Resume In-Person Learning

A Minneapolis teachers union has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Minneapolis Public Schools because of the district’s plan to return to in-person learning next month.

The Minneapolis Board of Education voted 6-2 last week in favor of a phased-in return to in-person learning for K-5 students across the month of February. According to the plan, classes will be cancelled from Feb.1-5 to “allow staff to get ready to welcome back students back into buildings,” meaning teachers and staff are required to return to work on Feb. 1.

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Minneapolis City Council Member Wants Facial Recognition Banned, Says It ‘Exacerbates Bias’

Minneapolis City Council member Steve Fletcher wrote an amendment to the city’s code of ordinances that would ban facial recognition technology in the police department and all city departments.

The basis for the ban is that facial recognition technology “has been shown to be less accurate in identifying people of color and women,” according to the amendment.

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