DeSantis Enters Presidential Race with ‘Skewed’ Narrative He’s Better Positioned to Beat Biden than Trump

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially launched his presidential campaign Wednesday, ending months of speculation and ratcheting up what promises to be an intense battle for the Republican Party nomination. 

DeSantis enters the race as a top tier candidate, but still lagging far behind frontrunner Donald Trump, according to just about every poll out there. 

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Trump, DeSantis, Ramaswamy, and More: News and Notes from the Presidential Campaign Trail

A glitchy start to the Ron DeSantis campaign, Tim Scott fires back at “The View,” Vivek Ramaswamy takes on Target, and Nikki Haley gets a CNN Town Hall.

There’s no rest for the weary on the expanded presidential campaign trail.

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Minnesota Lawmakers End Session with $2.6 Billion Bonding and ‘Cash Only’ Capital Investment Package

It’s not a bonding year at the legislature, but that didn’t stop lawmakers — every Democrat and a number of Republicans — at the Minnesota Capitol from giving the green light to about $2.6 billion worth of bonding and “cash-only” capital investment projects across the state before time ran out on the 2023 session.

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DFL-Controlled Legislature Hands $8 Billion Transportation Bill to Walz for Signature

A nearly $8 billion finalized transportation bill has cleared the House and Senate and is on its way to the desk of Gov. Tim Walz to be signed into law.

On Sunday, the DFL-controlled House and Senate voted along party lines to pass the conference committee report for HF2887. That omnibus transportation finance bill includes nearly $1 billion in new taxes and fees dedicated to transit and roads that will come from three sources: a new metropolitan area sales tax increase of 0.75 percent, a 50-cent fee for all deliveries of retail goods over $100 and a gas tax increase indexed to inflation. An increase in fees for automobile registrations and a sales tax increase for purchase of automobiles will also add more than $340 million in new revenues for transportation expenditures over the next two years.

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Oklahoma State Superintendent Cites Teachers’ Unions as ‘Marxist’ and ‘Terrorist’ Organizations

Oklahoma state superintendent of schools Ryan Walters repeated Saturday that teachers’ unions are “Marxist” and “terrorist” organizations that are not advocating for students or teachers, but seeking power and financial gain for their leaders.

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Legislature Passes Broad Bill Package Increasing State Government Operations by 40 Percent

Is HF1830 a bill that funds state government operations? Or is it an “elections bill?”

It depends who you ask.

Rep. Ginny Klevorn, DFL-Plymouth, who carried the bill in the House, says it’s maybe a little bit of both.

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Analysis: Minnesota Estimated Lifetime Earnings Losses Exceed $23.7 Billion

Learning losses for Minnesota students during the COVID-19 pandemic could result in a combined lifetime income loss exceeding $23.7 billion, according to research from Harvard and Stanford universities.

The Education Recovery Scorecard was released this week by Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research and the Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford. The scorecard measures learning loss in 40 states between 2019 and 2022, and estimates how much earnings will be subtracted from students’ lifetime earnings.

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Minnesota Legislature Repass Paid Family and Medical Leave with 2026 Implementation Date

The House and Senate voted this week to pass a conference report amending HF2, the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, that will tax employers and employees to help fund a new, state-run paid leave insurance program.

As amended by a DFL-only conference committee, the version of the bill that will head to Gov. Tim Walz for signature now includes a provision agreed upon by conferees to implement payroll taxes for the program on Jan. 1, 2026. Conferees also agreed to dedicate nearly $650 million in existing state revenue in 2024 as “seed money” for the program so that the state can begin providing those benefits in 2026.

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Charges: Minneapolis School Employee Brought Guns to Elementary School

A Minneapolis Public Schools employee has been charged after a student found a bag containing two loaded guns inside Loring Elementary School on the city’s north side.

Charges say Derrick Lee Lind, 20, brought a backpack into the school on April 23, 2023, that contained a stolen gun and another gun with a “switch” that modifies a gun to fire automatically.

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Minnesota Democrats Remove Sales Tax Exemption for Baby Products from Tax Bill

Republicans are speaking out against the DFL majority’s decision to remove a bipartisan proposal to expand the sales tax exemption for baby products from an omnibus tax bill.

“Who was against this?” asked Sen. Julia Coleman, R-Waconia, during a Monday press conference. “It passed with unanimous bipartisan support. It has a relatively small fiscal impact. So where was the controversy?”

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Catholic University in Minnesota Doesn’t Tell Girls If They’re Assigned to Room with Biological Male

A new O’Keefe Media Group (OMG) video shows University of St. Thomas Associate Director of Residence Life Zoe Chang stating that the school allows biological males who identify as women to share living spaces with females.

This, according to Chang, is done as discreetly as possible in order to avoid upsetting parents. The video, OMG said in an email, documents the “mountain of rule changes and preferential treatment provided to trans students when it comes to their housing accommodations.”

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DOJ’s Shadowy ‘Community Relations Service’ May Be Behind Covenant Killer Manifesto Coverup, Sources Say

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Metropolitan Nashville Police Department have refused to release the manifesto and related documents of the Covenant School killer, citing spurious reasons for their denials. 

But is a shadowy Department of Justice unit billing itself as “America’s peacemaker” behind the information freeze? Some say the disclosure dance has all the markings of the Community Relations Service. 

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Minnesota Omnibus Legislation Proposes Universal Gun Background Checks, ‘Red Flag’ Laws

Minnesota legislators are instituting universal background checks for handgun sales, further limitations regarding no-knock warrants, “red flag” laws, increase funding for public defenders, reform sentencing, and several other restrictions.

Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, DFL-Roseville, and Rep. Kelly Moller, DFL-Shoreview, led the conference committee that met Wednesday night regarding the measures, via omnibus bills HF2890/SF2909.

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Minnesota’s ‘Take Pride Act’ Forces Nonprofits to ‘Abandon Their Values,’ Attorney Says

by Hayley Feland   The Minnesota DFL’s controversial “Take Pride Act” seeks to abolish existing state law allowing nonprofits that serve minors to uphold sex distinctions in hiring practices, such as scouting and youth sports organizations. Renee Carlson, general counsel of True North Legal, called the legislation a “significant encroachment on the…

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Minnesota Democrats Scoff at Paid Family Leave Proposal’s Impact on Small Businesses

There was no disagreement among DFLers and Republicans on the Senate floor Monday over whether Minnesota workers across all industries want and need expanded access to paid family and medical leave benefits.

To what degree the state should provide those benefits is where the differences between caucuses were stark and along party lines, as senators debated the highly controversial HF2 for more than six hours before the DFL’s one-vote majority held together to pass the bill.

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Minneapolis Residents Plan ‘Pilgrimage’ to George Floyd Square

Two Minneapolis neighborhood organizations are inviting residents to participate in a “pilgrimage to George Floyd Square” along with a visit to the nearby “Say Their Names” cemetery.

George Floyd Square is the name given to 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, the intersection where Floyd died in May 2020. The intersection, officially recognized as “George Perry Floyd Square” by the city of Minneapolis last year, is revered by left-wing activists as a “sacred space” where baptisms and even “miracles” have taken place.

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Former Biden Appointee and Nurses Union President Will Join University of Minnesota Board of Regents

The president of the Minnesota Nurses Association — a one-time appointee of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Health Equity Taskforce — has been elected to serve on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.

Mary Turner, an ICU nurse at North Memorial Medical Center, has led the nurses union since 2015. Last fall she helped lead a strike of more than 15,000 nurses across the state as they negotiated with hospital employers for higher wages and what they described as workplace safety improvements.

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‘Proud of Minnesota’: Children’s Hospital Endorses ‘Trans Refuge’ Legislation

Children’s Minnesota celebrated Gov. Tim Walz signing a bill into law last week that makes Minnesota a “safe haven” for children seeking puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

Two “kid experts” from Children’s Minnesota, a pediatric health care organization, were invited to “witness” the governor sign two bills into law.

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State Senate DFLers Vote to Abandon Electoral College for National Popular Vote

DFLers in the Minnesota House and Senate voted this month to transform American presidential elections by abandoning the Electoral College.

The Senate voted along party lines, 34-33, on Wednesday to pass an elections omnibus policy bill that includes a provision that would have Minnesota award its presidential electors to the candidate with the most votes nationwide. Republicans unsuccessfully tried to remove that language from the bill.

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Minneapolis Star Tribune CEO Apologizes for ‘Pain’ Caused by Cartoon Poking Fun at Muslim Call to Prayer

Star Tribune CEO and publisher Steve Grove has apologized for the “pain” caused by a cartoon that made some readers feel “targeted and mischaracterized.”

Mike Thompson’s debut cartoon for the paper featured a man telling his wife: “Broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer at all hours will make Minneapolis too noisy.”

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Minnesota Legislators Spar over Nursing Homes Funding in Passing Omnibus

Minnesota taxpayers would spend $6 billion on nursing homes if a bill the Minnesota House of Representatives passed Tuesday becomes law.

Human Services Finance Committee Chair State Rep. Mohamud Noor, DFL-Minneapolis, is a House author of the bill, SF2934/HF2847, which passed 70-60 Tuesday.

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DFL Wants to Strike Anti-Pedophile Language from Minnesota Statutes

Minnesota Democrats want to remove language from the state’s Human Rights Act which clarifies that pedophilia is not included in the protected “sexual orientation” class.

“‘Sexual orientation’ does not include a physical or sexual attachment to children by an adult,” the Human Rights Act says. HF 1655, a bill carried by Rep. Leigh Finke, DFL-St.Paul, seeks to remove that language from state statutes.

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Amendment to ‘Trans Refuge’ Bill Fails amid GOP Absences

Does a “trans refuge” bill that passed in the Minnesota Senate on Friday contain language that could unintentionally drag Minnesota families into child protection services proceedings if someone reports a parent has refused to seek puberty blockers or hormone replacement therapy for their child who claims to want it?

State Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, offered an amendment during debate over the legislation, HF146, he hoped would eliminate legal confusion over that possibility. But that amendment narrowly failed after four of his fellow Republicans failed to cast a vote on it.

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Minnesota Lawmakers Approve 40 Percent Increase in State Operating Expenditures, Move to Study Ranked Choice Voting

Forming a commission to redesign the state flag, studying the possibility of instituting ranked choice voting in statewide elections, and signing onto a national popular vote compact for selecting president — these proposed provisions were rolled into two versions of a $1.5 billion omnibus state government bill that passed along party lines in the House and then the Senate last week.

The DFL holds a majority (70-64 in the House and 34-33 in the Senate) in both chambers.

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Minnesota House Passes ‘Green Shaming’ Bill

The DFL-controlled Minnesota House passed an expansive, 473-page environment and natural resources bill that would increase spending in this area by $670 million while raising fees on outdoor activities like fishing and boating.

With about a month remaining in the legislative session, omnibus policy and spending bills are making their way to the floor, including HF2310, which passed late Monday night.

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DFL Scales Back Rebate Checks, Social Security Tax Elimination in Minnesota Tax Bill

With under six weeks remaining in the 2023 legislative session, budget bills are making their way to the floors of the House and Senate. And so is a way to pay for them.

House DFLers who unveiled their tax bill on Monday said it represents the largest tax cut in state history and is aimed at helping those who need it most. Senate Republicans returned serve and claimed that provisions Democrats have touted — if approved without any concessions — would add up to nearly $10 billion in tax hikes on Minnesotans over the next four years.

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Minneapolis First Big City to Broadcast Muslim Call to Prayer Five Times Daily Year-Round

Minneapolis has become the first major city in the United States to allow the Muslim call to prayer to be broadcast over speakers five times per day, year-round, including in the early mornings and late evenings. The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously Thursday – during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan – to approve an amendment to the city’s noise ordinance that would allow the “adhan” – “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” call to prayer to be sounded every day, year-round, five times daily.

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Great Lakes States’ Social Security Disability Backlog Increased Between Five and 130 Percent Since 2019, Report Finds

Nearly every U.S. state recognized increased backlogs for new Social Security disability benefit applications since 2019, And the Great Lakes states were no different. 

In fact, Wisconsin’s backlog more than doubled, ranking in fifth nationwide for increased backlogs.  From 2019 to 2023, Wisconsin’s backlog grew 130 percent, with an increase of 11,500 backlogged applications. It has the fifth highest backlog increase in the nation.

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Republicans Shine a Light on Swiss Billionaire’s Role in U.S. Elections During House Debate

How did a Swiss billionaire who has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to left-leaning American nonprofit political advocacy groups become a topic of debate over an elections bill on the floor of the Minnesota House of Representatives?

Republican legislators allege that Hansjörg Wyss, a former medical device industry executive turned political activist, has his fingerprints on a provision included in a sweeping elections reform bill the DFL House majority passed on a party-line vote late Thursday night.

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AG Ellison Implores Minnesota State Republican Legislators to Support Gun Control Bills

In an effort to whip up more support from legislators in his own party — and perhaps a vote or two from across the political aisle — Attorney General Keith Ellison held a press conference Tuesday imploring bipartisan support for two controversial gun restriction bills with just six weeks left in the session.

While a number of gun control bills have been introduced at the Capitol in 2023, Democrats have narrowed their focus in the last few weeks on two: universal background checks and Extreme Risk Prevention Order (ERPO) legislation.

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Sarah Sanders Signs Bill to Ban Parole for Rapists and Human Traffickers

Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders signed a bill Tuesday to stop criminals in prison for rape, first-degree murder, human trafficking and some other felony offenses committed after 2024 from being released early.

The Protect Arkansas Act will make those who commit any of 24 felonies including rape, aggravated robbery and child pornography possession ineligible for parole and require people incarcerated for a variety of other felony crimes like manslaughter and fentanyl delivery committed in 2025 or later to serve at least 85 percent of their court-assigned sentences. Sanders signed the act surrounded by law enforcement personnel, and tweeted, “The failed public safety status quo ends today in Arkansas.”

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DFL Raises White Flag on Statewide Ranked Choice Voting Push this Session

A well-funded push to make Minnesota a ranked choice voting state appears to have run out of steam — at least this session at the Minnesota Legislature.

On Monday, State Sen. Jim Carlson, DFL-Eagan, told his colleagues in the Senate Elections Committee that a bill introduced last month that would implement ranked choice voting for statewide and legislative races by 2026 “is much more complicated than we originally thought.”

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Christian Group Sues over Minneapolis Ordinance Prohibiting Protests Outside Abortion Clinics

A Christian pro-life group filed a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis Wednesday over an ordinance that prohibits any protests or demonstrations outside of abortion clinics, according to the lawsuit.

Pro-Life Action Ministries (PLAM), an “interdenominational” organization, has been doing sidewalk ministry and sit-ins at abortion clinics for decades, but an ordinance adopted by the city in November 2022 banned “disrupting access to reproductive healthcare facilities” from the driveway or “sidewalk or bikeway, that provides vehicular access from a street to a reproductive healthcare facility.” As a result, PLAM could not hold any sort of protest or sidewalk counseling around or nearby the clinic, prompting the group to file a lawsuit Wednesday.

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Minnesota State Representative Resigns, Criticizes ‘Punitive, White, Carceral System’

Honor the Earth founder and executive director Winona LaDuke announced her resignation Wednesday after a jury ordered her organization to pay $750,000 in damages to a former employee in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

LaDuke is a prominent environmental activist who ran for vice president twice on the Green Party ticket and led the protests against the Line 3 pipeline replacement project.

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University President in Minnesota Will Retire After Firestorm over Fired Professor Who Showed Muhammad Picture in Class

Hamline University President Fayneese Miller announced on Monday that she will retire months after she walked back an administrator’s claim that a professor’s lecture was “Islamophobic” for showing an unveiled portrait of the prophet Muhammad.

Miller will officially step down on June 30, 2024, according to the announcement sent to the Daily Caller News Foundation. Faculty members demanded she resign following a controversy that involved Professor Erika López Prater’s contract not being renewed for the spring semester after a student complained that she showed an unveiled portrait of the prophet Muhammad during a lecture on Islamic art.

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Minnesota’s Ban on Gun Permits for Young Adults is Unconstitutional, Judge Says

A federal judge ruled Friday that Minnesota’s policy of denying permits to carry to 18 to 20-year-olds is unconstitutional.

The case began with a June 2021 lawsuit filed by three gun-rights groups, including the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, on behalf of three adults under the age of 21.

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Left-Wing ‘Honor the Earth’ Ordered to Pay $750,000 in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Environmental group Honor the Earth will be required to pay $750,000 in damages to a former employee who accused the organization of failing to take her sexual harassment complaints seriously, a jury declared Thursday.

Honor the Earth was a leading opponent of the Line 3 pipeline replacement project. The group’s executive director, Winona LaDuke, is a prominent activist who has been showered with praise and accolades by the media, lawmakers, and the education establishment. LaDuke ran for vice president twice on the Green Party ticket.

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University of Minnesota Report: Evidence Doesn’t Support Claims of Ranked Choice Voting Advocates

There is little evidence to support the claims of ranked choice voting (RCV) advocates, according to a new report from the University of Minnesota.

Professor Larry Jacobs and PhD candidate Penny Thomas with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs said they have “carefully reviewed the track record” of RCV and it “fails to support four of the advocates’ promises for improvements over today’s system.”

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Minnesota Gov. Walz, DFL Legislators Express Confidence on Gun Control Bills, Despite Slim Majority

Will a publicity push this week from Gov. Tim Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison and former congresswoman turned gun control activist Gabby Giffords be enough to ensure that all 34 Democrats in the Minnesota Senate vote to pass a pair of high-profile and politically polarizing gun restriction bills on the floor this session?

Walz expressed optimism at a press conference Thursday that SF1116 and SF1117 will get the votes required from his DFL colleagues in the Senate that would then almost assuredly send both bills to his desk for signatures.

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‘Don’t Want to Get in the Way’: Pete Buttigieg Declines to Visit Site of Minnesota Fiery Train Derailment

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Thursday that he will not visit a small Minnesota town that was evacuated after a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train derailed and caught fire earlier that morning.

Raymond, Minnesota, residents who live within a half mile from the derailment site were evacuated after approximately 22 cars derailed and four caught on fire around 1:00 a.m. CST. The train was carrying mixed freight including ethanol and corn syrup.

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Minnesota Governor Walz to Temporarily Relocate to Taxpayer-Funded $17,000 a Month Lakeside Mansion

Gov. Tim Walz and his family will temporarily relocate to a $17,000-a-month lakeside mansion later this year during renovations to the St. Paul governor’s residence.

The Minnesota Department of Administration entered into an 18-month lease agreement with MFM Properties II, LLC for a five-bedroom, 7,900-square foot home in Sunfish Lake.

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Minnesota Elementary School to Hold ‘Gender Resource Fair’ for Kids

Minneapolis Public Schools will be hosting a “Gender Resource Fair” for elementary school students next month.

The local teachers union promoted the event on Twitter, calling it a “very cool event for families and their gender-creative kids.”

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‘Radical Progressives’ Are ‘Targeting the Minds of Our Children,’ Senator Says

A state senator is attempting to keep drag queens away from Minnesota kids with a bill introduced at the Capitol.

Sen. Eric Lucero, R-St. Michael, has introduced SF 933 to classify drag queen performances as adult entertainment.

Lucero spoke to Liz Collin on her podcast about the bill and other topics from the legislative session.

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Methodology and Motive Questions Surround Poll Showing DeSantis Ahead of Trump in Iowa

Two polls showing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis “running more competitively” against former President Donald Trump in first-in-the-nation nominating states Iowa and New Hampshire are missing some key data, raising questions about the validity of the surveys.

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Minnesota House Passes ‘Trans Refuge Bill’ That Would Reform Child Custody Laws

The Minnesota House passed legislation, dubbed a “Trans Refuge bill” by proponents, that would prevent laws in other states from interfering with the medical gender transition of children in Minnesota, but critics argue the bill could cause parents to lose custody if they do not support their child’s life-altering sex change.

Minnesota’s first transgender lawmaker, Rep. Leigh Finke of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, introduced the bill, HF 146, which passed the House in a 68-62 vote Friday.

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Minnesota Teacher Wants to ‘Secretly Inject’ Kids with Puberty Blockers

A Bemidji High School teacher fantasizes about secretly injecting children with puberty blockers, according to a Facebook post obtained by Alpha News.

“Me coming to the realization I will never fulfill my lifelong quest of moving to Tennessee to secretly inject 11 year olds with hormone blockers while I do an interpretive drag dance to my favorite Judy Blume novel,” said the post, published to the Facebook page of Gina Marie Bernard.

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Minnesota Gov. Walz Promotes Sexually Graphic Book at Reading Event

In his latest attempt to raise his national profile, Gov. Tim Walz took shots at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Wednesday, saying the Republican’s state is “where freedom goes to die.”

The remarks were made during an event to promote reading month, where Walz unveiled a Little Free Library outside of his office.

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Minnesota Lawmakers Agree to $17.9 Billion Target

Minnesota lawmakers agreed to spend an additional $17.9 billion on top of the base budget of $52.4 billion, likely depleting the state’s current $17.2 billion surplus. 

The target includes $3 billion in tax breaks but doesn’t specify how relief will be delivered. 

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Sex Abuse Allegations Surrounding Nonprofit Are ‘Irrelevant,’ Says Minnesota Dem Looking to Fund Their Work

A Democratic state representative called the past alleged sexual assault of a minor at the hands of a nonprofit employee “irrelevant” during a Minnesota committee meeting to consider funding to display artifacts from Honor the Earth, an indigenous group that brings awareness to environmental issues.

HB 2091 would allocate $200,000 to Honor the Earth and other organizations that would be used to curate and display their collections in a Minnesota museum over two years, according to the bill. Michael Dahl, a central community organizer for Honor the Earth, was accused in 2015 of assaulting a teenage boy during the 1990s, according to a lawsuitfiled by former employee Margaret Campbell, but one legislator said those allegations were “irrelevant” to the current legislation.

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