Many Americans will hear the word “Brexit” for the first time today. No, it’s not the name of some newly concocted stock index or a must-try low-calorie cereal; it’s in fact the term used to describe United Kingdom leaving (or potentially leaving) the European Union.
Rep. Rena Moran, who represents district 65A in St. Paul, has been the key author of the Women of Color Opportunities Act. Moran recognizes gender gaps women of color have had to face and the negative effects it has had for our communities. Moran understands this issue better than most as she illustrates the gender gap by being the only African American woman serving in the Minnesota State Legislature.
To stem the effects of this gender gap, Moran has sought to create a comprehensive piece of legislature that is designed to address gender gaps for women of color in education and the workforce. A video of her speaking about it can be found here.
The bill H.F. 3396, also called the Individual’s Right to Privacy and Safety in Public Accommodations Act, authored by Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen has ignited a heated debate in Minnesota over transgender rights. If passed, the bill would define sex in Minnesota as being either a male or a female as biologically defined. There are a great deal of transgender citizens living in Minnesota who are excluded from the definition of sex proposed by Gruenhagen in his bill.
Gruenhagen’s bill, based on his definition of sex, would ban transgender people from using “employer restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and similar facilities relating to sexual orientation.” The bill’s provisions would also be extended to public schools and universities. Understandably, this has caused quite a stir in Minnesota.
The normally bone chilling Minnesota was really “Feeling the Bern” on Tuesday, January 26th as Bernie Sanders rode into Minnesota to speak in front of thousands of Minnesotans in Duluth and St. Paul. Excited attendees braved turbulent masses of people and the cruel Minnesota gusts outside the RiverCentre in Downtown St. Paul to catch a glimpse or hear a word from the Vermont Senator.
On Monday, Donald Trump proposed blocking all Muslims from entering the U.S. for an indefinite period of time.
This proposal was almost universally criticized or condemned by every imaginable figure spanning the entire U.S. political spectrum from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton to Paul Ryan to Dick Cheney. The White House said Trump’s statement “disqualifies” him from being President. Representatives from all over the world also weighed in to chastise the leading Republican Presidential candidate for what many view as dangerous and provocative rhetoric.
Minnesota’s DFL stood strong against a storm of GOP victories that swept the country Tuesday. There will be no change in the levels of blue and red that our state will send to Washington D.C., with only a personnel shift: Tom Emmer rather than Michelle Bachmann; but as the proverb goes, the devil is in the details: and this election had plenty of details.
Minnesota Connected was recently given the chance to interview the gubernatorial governor candidate Jeff Johnson (GOP) — the interview took place hours before his first debate with Mark Dayton (DFL) in Rochester (available to view here). Our conversation focused on a variety of policy issues, but we found a number of non-political tangents to wander down as well.
Minnesota Connected: Obviously the debate today is a big deal, what are three of the major points you want those viewing to take with them?
Jeff Johnson: Mark Dayton is out of touch with the middle-class and his interest is more in government bureaucracy and special interests than in serving the middle-class. That’s my overall theme, but I can break that down into three pieces: first, we aren’t growing good jobs in the state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics last week we’re dead last in the Midwest for job growth rate in the last year and we’re 41st in the country. We may be growing jobs, but we are growing them at a slow rate and we aren’t getting the good wage jobs that the middle-class needs to survive.
Some Minnesotans might be surprised to hear that we’re at the brink of a major political storm. A slow stream of articles have touched on some of the races sprouting from the August primaries, but a full-scale clash (annoying TV ads, smear campaigns, debates, etc.) between the parties is still on hold. The building pressure will likely result in short but sharply negative contests.
Tuesday had its share of winners and losers in the world of Minnesota politics. The big story was the sub 10% turnout of eligible voters (which is low for our state); but for me the excitement was found in the genesis of full-fledged autumn campaigns. A notable few are actually quite interesting.
For the fourth straight month Minnesota has taken a significantly lower amount of tax revenue than expected. Back in February, budget officials announced a projected $1.23 billion surplus for the fiscal year 2014-2015. This forecast, which helps to inform lawmakers on tax and spending issues, is not quite holding true to form; though officials urge caution in drawing conclusions for how it will surface in the budget.