Ellison Faces Scrutiny for Use of San Francisco Firm on Lawsuit Against Energy Companies

Keith Ellison

A trio of Republican lawmakers are asking Attorney General Keith Ellison to provide the public with more details on his office’s contract with a San Francisco-based law firm hired to aid in an ongoing climate change-related lawsuit against three major oil companies.

Sens. Mark Koran and Andrew Mathews, and Rep. Jim Nash sent Ellison a detailed letter last week that claims the law firm, Sher Edling, LLP, has received more than $13 million from special interest organizations outside of Minnesota to help fund its climate litigation efforts, including the one ongoing in Minnesota. And they want Ellison to provide the public with “a complete accounting of who is providing financial support for Sher Edling’s work on the Minnesota case.

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State Republicans Accuse DFL, Walz of Playing Politics with Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment Results Release Date

Classwork in school

For more than 20 years the Minnesota Department of Education has released to the public aggregated results of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment test during the first weeks of the school year — before or by Sept. 1, to be exact. That’s almost certain to change.

Last week DFL lawmakers who control the House stood firm in defending a provision in their education policy bill that would give MDE a 12-week extension to release MCA results to the public.

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Wisconsin Election Integrity Journalist Who Exposed Allegedly Illegal Democratic ‘Smurfing’ Donations Arrested

Peter Bernegger

Peter Bernegger, president of Election Watch in Wisconsin, was arrested last week after filing complaints against officials and candidates he exposed for accepting donations allegedly facilitated by progressive activists in the names of people who were unaware of them. He was charged with a felony, simulating a legal process.

Bernegger posted on X after posting bail and being released, “This is politically motivated where they are trying to shut me up, to shut us all up. For those who don’t know, this is the second time they have come after me; the first time was dismissed in 15 minutes when the judge learned the truth of the matter.”

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Minneapolis City Council Votes to Delay New Pay Standards for Uber, Lyft Drivers

Uber Driver

The Minneapolis City Council voted to delay the enforcement date for new minimum compensation standards for drivers with transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft. Pending approval from Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, the minimum compensation standards would go into effect on July 1.

In March, the Minneapolis City Council authorized an ordinance which mandates that a driver for Uber or Lyft must be paid $1.40 for every mile driven while transporting a rider, and $0.51 for every minute a rider is being transported, or $5.00 (whichever is greater). The per mile and per minute rates would be annually adjusted under the ordinance.

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Green Bay Broke Same-Day Voter Registration Rules, Allowed Illegal Votes, Election Group Alleges

Celestine Jeffreys

The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a complaint on Monday against the Green Bay city clerk to the Wisconsin Elections Commission for not following state law to verify same-day voter registrations. Same-day voter registration, which is when people can register to vote and cast a ballot at the same time, is a practice that both PILF and the Honest Elections Project warn may let illegal votes be counted before a voter’s registration can be verified.

PILF reported the Green Bay city clerk to the Wisconsin Elections Commission for failing to follow state law on same-day voter registration, an election practice that election integrity advocates warn can allow illegal votes to be counted.

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Wisconsin Directs Federal IDEA Funds Toward Racism, Equity Workshops

Teacher with Students

A project housed under the Wisconsin Department of Education is using federal special education funds to pay speakers to provide instruction to teachers on race, equity and Black queer feminist methodology.

Wisconsin’s Educational Equity Network’s virtual events feature presentations from authors and activists, including notable and controversial writers such as Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo, about racism, inequity and marginalized gender or sexual identities.

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‘Ban on Book Bans’ Included in Education Bill Passed by Minnesota DFL in Senate

Library Books

A proposed statewide “ban on book bans” in public schools and libraries is just one of about 100 new provisions contained in a DFL-backed omnibus education policy bill that passed off the Senate floor this week.

SF3567 is sponsored by Democratic Sens. Steve Cwodzinski of Eden Prairie and Mary Kunesh of New Brighton. It passed on a 35-31 vote Tuesday, with Sen. Jim Abeler of Anoka casting the lone vote for Republicans.

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Poll Shows Potentially Close Race Between Ilhan Omar and Don Samuels

Ilhan Omar and Don Samuels

Democratic congressional candidate Don Samuels is in a potentially tight race against Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, according to a new poll released by his campaign. Running in Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District, Samuels is challenging Rep. Omar for the district’s Democratic nomination.

In the new poll, when likely Democratic primary voters were initially asked about their preferences between Omar and Samuels, 49% said Omar, 30% said Samuels, and 21% said Undecided. However, the same poll found that the margin shifted to a tie between the two candidates (41% – 41%) after those same voters heard Samuels’ message of being “a progressive and pragmatic alternative to Rep. Omar without the divisive comments and history of taking unpopular votes.”

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Wisconsin Gov Shoots Down Bill to Keep Boys Off Girls’ Sports Teams

Girls Basketball

Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a bill Tuesday barring biological men from competing in women’s sports just weeks after it passed the state Senate.

The bill was passed by the state Senate in March by a 20 to 11 vote and would require athletes to compete in sports categories in line with their biological sex. Evers had expressed displeasure with the legislation in the past and opted to veto the bill, arguing that it would only embolden “anti-LGBTQ harassment, bullying, and violence,” according to a press release.

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ACLU Argues Michigan Law Requiring Parental Consent for Abortions Harms Minors

Pregnancy Test

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a report Thursday arguing that a Michigan law requiring parental consent for abortions harms minors.

The law, which became effective in 1991, requires all Michigan residents under the age of 18 to obtain parental consent before getting an abortion or receive a waiver from a judge. The ACLU of Michigan chapter, alongside Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health (MOASH), however, argued that the law “undermines the safety, health, and dignity” of minors and that the process to waive parental consent is “traumatizing.”

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Minnesota Democrats Introduce Multiple Bills to Transfer Ownership of State Land to Tribes

Land back Minnesota

Four pieces of legislation that Democrats have introduced at the Minnesota Legislature in recent weeks aim to transfer ownership of property they say tribal nations inside Minnesota lost decades ago due to federal and state government policies.

But while proponents believe these land reclamation, or “land back,” bills are gaining momentum, many residents and local government officials in those areas are criticizing the legislation and opposing it at the Capitol.

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Audit: Michigan Liquor Control Loses 62,294 Bottles of Liquor

Liquor Bottles

State Rep. Tom Kunse wants reform within the Michigan Liquor Control Commission after an audit found more than 62,000 liquor bottles were missing.

The audit from the Office of the Auditor General marked three “material conditions” – the most severe rating – for the group composed of five unelected governor appointees that oversee liquor distribution through authorized agents using 11 state-owned warehouses.

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Minnesota Democrats Reject Amendment to Allow Police to Buy Defensive Armored Vehicles

Armored Vehicle

Democratic members of the Minnesota House of Representatives rejected an amendment that would have allowed local law enforcement agencies to purchase armored and tactical vehicles with state funds.

Last year, Minnesota state government authorized legislation that allocated $300 million to law enforcement agencies around the state. Agencies that received the money could use those funds to update equipment, offer raises, give out retention bonuses, and other needs. However, the agencies who received those funds were barred from using the money to purchase armored or tactical vehicles.

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Election Integrity Attorney Stefanie Lambert Arrested on Unrelated Bench Warrant After She Turned Over ‘Criminal’ Documents from Dominion to Law Enforcement

Stefanie Lambert

Stefanie Lambert, an election integrity attorney in Michigan, was arrested on Monday in Washington D.C. for failing to appear at a court hearing in Michigan involving charges against her for allegedly breaching voting machines. After agreeing to surrender to authorities in Michigan, Lambert was released on $10,000 bond. Lambert said in court filings and a statement that she failed to show up for the hearing due to a miscommunication with her former counsel, who told her the meeting was canceled. 

Lambert was arrested after taking part in a hearing Monday representing her client, former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, against a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit Dominion Voting Systems filed against him in 2021. Dominion sued Byrne for predicting months before the 2020 election that there would be illegal election activity to change the results of the election, and named Dominion as one of the actors involved.

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Ranked-Choice Voting Push Continues at Minnesota Capitol

MN RCV

A pair of DFL lawmakers who fell short last year of gaining enough support in the legislature to turn Minnesota into a ranked-choice voting state aren’t giving up on their goal. They’ve just scaled back their efforts to more incremental steps.

On Wednesday, a committee in the state House approved a bill that would make it easier for cities across the state to implement ranked-choice voting as a method of electing local representation.

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Wisconsin Has Awarded 14 $3 Million Tax Credits for Investors in Innovative Businesses in 2024

Wisconsin Capitol

Wisconsin’s Department of Economic Development has awarded $3 million in tax credits to investors in 14 startups in the state so far in 2024.

The tax credits are part of the state’s Qualified New Business Venture program, which began in 2005. It gives 25% transferrable tax credits for investors in qualified new businesses capped at $3 million for a $12 million cash equity investment.

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Republicans Introduce Bill to Ban Sanctuary Cities in Minnesota

Rasmusson Minnesota

Over two dozen Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature are supporting legislation that would prohibit Minnesota cities from becoming so-called “sanctuary cities.” Known as SF 4328, the proposed law would also increase penalties for human trafficking and fine employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

SF 4328 is authored by Minnesota Sen. Jordan Rasmusson, R-Fergus Falls.

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Gov. Evers OKs Millions for University of Wisconsin Construction, Tuition Distribution Changes

UW Campus

There’s going to be a building boom on some University of Wisconsin campuses across the state.

Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday signed a new law that clears the way for a new engineering building at UW-Madison, as well as classroom renovations in both Madison and Whitewater. The new law also includes nearly $200 million for central plant renovations and demolition projects.

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Minnesota DFL Legislators Want to Enshrine Trans Sports in State Law, Ban Removal of LGBT Flags

A group of Democrats are putting forward legislation to enshrine transgender sports in state statute and ban the removal of LGBT flags in many public places.

Dozens of Democratic lawmakers have signed on to HF 4394 in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Authored by Rep. Leigh Finke, D-St. Paul, this bill would require the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) commissioner to develop a “gender inclusion policy” that must be adopted in some form by school districts across the state.

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Democrats Advance Two Gun Control Bills in Minnesota House

MN Gun Bill

Democrats in the Minnesota House of Representatives advanced two gun control bills on Thursday that have Republicans, gun groups, and private citizens concerned.

HF 4300, authored by Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, D-Roseville, would set new laws for how firearms must be stored. Under the proposed law, gun owners must either leave their firearms unloaded with a locking device, or store their firearms in a legitimate “firearm storage unit” such as a safe. Citizens who fail to do so will face legal consequences ranging from misdemeanors to felonies depending on the offense.

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Eligible Michigan Residents to Receive Additional Tax Credit

Paper Work

by Carly Moran   Michigan plans to send $219 million in tax credits back to taxpayers over the next few weeks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently announced. Whitmer said a supplemental Working Families Tax Credit will be sent to Michigan families who already received a 2022 tax year Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit for Working Families. The checks should arrive over the next few weeks. Once sent, qualified Michigan households will have received an average of $550 each, totaling more than $219 million statewide. “With the Working Families Tax Credit check now making its way into the mailboxes of Michiganders, many families will feel a great sense of relief,” Whitmer said. The Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit is a tax benefit for those below a certain income level. Since 2022, it represents a 30% match of the federal income tax credit. “My team is working hard to ensure that 700,000 Michigan households receive their supplemental checks while simultaneously processing tax returns,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. “These checks are being sent in batches due to seasonal mailing demands. We anticipate this mailing will be completed in the next few weeks and ask eligible taxpayers to be patient as we work as…

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Green Bay School Superintendent Resigns After Calling Colleague ‘Witch,’ Wisconsin ‘Lily’ White on Hot Mic in Atlanta Radio Interview

Radio Interview

A Green Bay, Wisconsin school superintendent resigned on Tuesday after he was captured on a hot mic describing the district as “lily” white and expressing his displeasure at working in a “white district” during an appearance on WAOK-AM as he visited Atlanta to recruit educators.

Former Green Bay Area Public School District (GBAPS) Superintendent Claude Tiller Jr.’s hot mic comments were broadcast on YouTube while the radio station broadcast was on a commercial break.

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