Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday signed into law the broadest ban on dangerous “forever chemicals” in the nation.
The ban forms part of H.F. 2310—an omnibus environment bill—and is one of the many new policies to come out of what progressives say is a “transformational” legislative session for the state. Minnesota is now the first of any U.S. state to prohibit per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) in menstrual products, dental floss, cleaning supplies, and cooking equipment.
Progressives are applauding what Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman called the state’s “transformational” legislative session, which ended on Tuesday after the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party passed nearly every item on its agenda, securing economic justice, reproductive rights, and labor protections for Minnesotans.
With the DFL holding only a narrow majority in the state House and Senate—a six-vote and one-vote margin, respectively—policy researcher Will Stancil said on social media that “the scale of their achievement cannot be overstated.”
Republican Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota on Monday signed one of the nation’s most draconian abortion bans into law, just weeks after the state’s GOP lawmakers shot down a proposal to provide free school lunches to low-income students.
The new forced pregnancy law, which takes immediate effect, prohibits abortion care in nearly all cases. Abortion is allowed in cases of rape or incest, but only during the first six weeks of pregnancy—before many people realize they are pregnant. Abortion is also allowed without gestational limits if terminating a pregnancy could prevent the pregnant person’s “death or a serious health risk.”
“Let this serve as a reminder that poverty is a policy choice,” said one advocate. “In the richest country in the world, it is absolutely inexcusable that millions of our children go to school hungry because they are living in poverty.”
Students hug Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz after he signed a universal free school meal bill into law on March 17, 2023. Photo: Prem/Twitter
Surrounded by students, teachers, and advocates, Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Friday afternoon signed into law a bill to provide breakfast and lunch at no cost to all of the state’s roughly 820,000 K-12 pupils regardless of their household income.
The move to make Minnesota the fourth U.S. state to guarantee universal free school meals—joining California, Maine, and Colorado—elicited praise from progressives. Continue reading →
Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant, Unit 1 Photo: NRC/flickr/CC
Xcel Energy in late November told Minnesota and federal officials about a leak of 400,000 gallons of water contaminated with radioactive tritium at its Monticello nuclear power plant, but it wasn’t until Thursday that the incident and ongoing cleanup effort were made public.
In a statement, Xcel said Thursday that it “took swift action to contain the leak to the plant site, which poses no health and safety risk to the local community or the environment.” Continue reading →
“We give every kid in our school a desk. There are lots of kids out there that can afford to buy a desk, but they get a desk because they go to school,” said the Democratic author of the bill, pushing back against GOP means-testing canards.
Members of the Minnesota House of Representatives vote on a universal school meal bill on February 9, 2023 in St. Paul. (Photo: Rep. Mary Frances Clardy/Twitter)
The Democratic-led Minnesota House of Representatives voted Thursday night in favor of legislation to provide free school meals for all students, a move meant to alleviate childhood hunger in a state where 1 in 6 children don’t have enough to eat.
The bill, HF 5, provides universal school meals—lunch and breakfast—to all of Minnesota’s 600,000 pupils at no cost. House lawmakers voted 70-58 along party lines in favor of the measure. Continue reading →
“Taking advantage of children, exposing them to workplace dangers—and interfering with a federal investigation—demonstrates Packers Sanitation Services Inc.’s flagrant disregard for the law and for the wellbeing of young workers,” said the Labor Department.
A federal judge on Thursday granted a nationwide injunction against an industrial cleaning company, ordering the company to end its use of “oppressive child labor” after an investigation found it was employing dozens of children as young as 13—some of whom were injured while working in meatpacking facilities.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) requested the injunction in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska after completing an investigation of Packers Sanitation Services, Inc. (PSSI) that began in late August. Continue reading →
The Supreme Court is about to hear arguments about the constitutionality of a 1978 law enacted to protect Native American children in the U.S. and strengthen their families.
That law, the Indian Child Welfare Act, was originally passed by Congress in response to requests from tribal leaders and other advocates for Native Americans to stop states from removing Indian children from their families. Continue reading →
Attorney General Merrick Garland. Screenshot: CNBC
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday invited the Biden Justice Department to offer its position on a hugely consequential case in which oil giants are attempting to move climate liability lawsuits from state to federal courts, where they believe they would be more likely to prevail against efforts to make them pay for damaging the environment.
In Suncor Energy Inc. v. Board of County Commissioners of Boulder County, Suncor and ExxonMobil are urging the conservative-dominated Supreme Court to intervene after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the fossil fuel companies’ argument that such climate liability cases belong in federal court. Continue reading →
Police in Hubbard County, Minnesota blockade a driveway to an Indigenous camp of water protectors protesting the Line 3 pipeline. (Photo: Giniw Collective)
Indigenous water defenders and their allies on Tuesday celebrated a Minnesota court ruling protecting a Line 3 protest camp from illegal government repression.
Hubbard County District Judge Jana Austad issued a ruling shielding the Indigenous-led Giniw Collective’s Camp Namewag—where opponents organize resistance to Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline—from local law enforcement’s unlawful blockades and harassment. Continue reading →