Tag Archives: Minnesota

‘Families’ Needs Over Corporate Greed’: US Childcare Providers, Parents Hold Day of Action

“If our leaders don’t step up and legislate a solution to this crisis, we all will pay the price of an underfunded system,” said organizers.

By Julia Conley. Published 5-13-2024 by Common Dreams

Renee Edwards conducts early literacy outreach at a childcare center in Fairfax County, VA. Photo: Fairfax Library Foundation/flickr/CC

Flanked by her fellow childcare providers from Minnesota’s Iron Range region at a press conference in St. Paul, Shawntel Gruba on Monday explained that the childcare center she runs had shut its doors for the day to “demonstrate how vitally important childcare is to our community.”

“We are the workforce behind the workforce,” said Gruba, CEO of Iron Range Tykes in Mountain Iron. “Without us, no one goes to work.”

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Supreme Court Rejects Bid by API, Exxon, and Koch to Kill Climate Case

“Big Oil companies will continue fighting to escape justice, but for the third time in a year, the U.S. Supreme Court has denied their desperate pleas,” said one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 1-8-2024 by Common Dreams

The Pine Bend oil refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota, run by Flint Hills Resources, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons/CC

For the third time in less than a year, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday allowed a key case against the fossil fuel industry to proceed in state court, delivering a win for the movement to make polluters pay for driving the climate emergency.

“This decision is another step forward for Minnesota’s efforts to hold fossil fuel giants accountable for their climate lies and the harm they’ve caused,” said Center for Climate Integrity president Richard Wiles, pointing to the previous denials of other cases last April and May.

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Experts ‘Terrified’ of AI-Driven Misinformation ‘Tsunami’ in 2024 Election

“If people don’t ultimately trust information related to an election, democracy just stops working,” said a senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 1226-2023 by Common Dreams

An ad for a deepfake video maker. Screenshot: OpenAISee

As 2024 approaches and with it the next U.S. presidential election, experts and advocates are warning about the impact that the spread of artificial intelligence technology will have on the amount and sophistication of misinformation directed at voters.

While falsehoods and conspiracy theories have circulated ahead of previous elections, 2024 marks the first time that it will be easy for anyone to access AI technology that could create a believable deepfake video, photo, or audio clip in seconds, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

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Complying With Right-Wing Supreme Court, Biden EPA Guts Wetland Protections

“Congress and local elected officials must now step in and do more to protect clean water through durable legislation and state-based action,” said one advocate.

By Julia Conley. Published 8-29-2023 by Common Dreams

Located on the western edge of Eugene, Oregon, the West Eugene Wetlands is a beautiful and rare area of grassland habitats. Comprised of less than one percent of the original native wet prairie, Photo: Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington/flickr/CC

Under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling condemned by clean water advocates earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday announced a revised rule that could clear the way for up to 63% of the country’s wetlands to lose protections that have been in place nearly half a century under the Clean Water Act.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said he had been “disappointed” by the 5-4 decision handed down in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency in May, but he was obligated under the ruling to issue a final rule changing the agency’s definition of “waters on the United States.”

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Like Tobacco and Big Oil, Secret Docs Show Chemical Companies Knew PFAS Dangers

“These documents reveal clear evidence that the chemical industry knew about the dangers of PFAS and failed to let the public, regulators, and even their own employees know the risks.”

By Brett Wilkins. Published 6-1-2023 by Common Dreams

Activists protest PFAS outside the Massachusetts State House in Boston on June 16, 2022. (Photo: Seaside Sustainability Inc./Twitter)

An analysis of previously secret documents published Wednesday sheds new light on how chemical corporations aped Big Tobacco by conspiring to conceal the extreme toxicity of a class of synthetic compounds contaminating the Earth’s air, water, soil, plants, and animals—including most of the world’s people.

Commonly called “forever chemicals” because they do not biodegrade and accumulate in the human body, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—which include PFOS, PFOA, and GenX—have myriad uses, from nonstick cookware to waterproof clothing to firefighting foamAccording to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, PFAS is linked to cancers of the kidneys and testicles, low infant weight, suppressed immune function, and other adverse health effects. It is found in the blood of 99% of Americans and a similar percentage of people around the world.

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‘This Is the First Step’: Minnesota Passes Most Comprehensive PFAS Ban in the Nation

“This law shows that states are a key part of ensuring that communities are safe from PFAS,” one advocate said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 5-26-2023 by Common Dreams

Amara Strande, the late frontline anti-PFAS advocate who gave her name to Minnesota’s sweeping ban on forever chemicals, speaks in support of the bill. (Photo: Clean Water Action)

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.

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Minnesota Dems Set Bar for State Legislatures, Passing Nearly Every Item on ‘Transformational’ Agenda

“The work we’ve done over the last five months will make a generational impact on our state—it will lower costs, improve lives, and cut child poverty,” said Gov. Tim Walz.

By Julia Conley. Published 5-23-2023 by Common Dreams

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz hugs students at Webster Elementary School in Minneapolis on March 17, 2023 after signing a law that makes school meals free for all public and charter school students. (Photo: @GovTimWalz/Twitter)

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.”

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North Dakota GOP Approves Near-Total Abortion Ban After Rejecting Free School Lunches

“Mandating birth is state responsibility. Helping feed those kids is not,” is how Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom summarized the Republican position.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 4-25-2023 by Common Dreams

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. Photo: North Dakota National Guard/flickr/CC

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.”

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‘Beautiful’: Minnesota Becomes 4th State to Provide Free School Meals to All Kids

“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.”

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 3-18-2023 by Common Dreams

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

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Nuclear Plant, Minnesota Officials Hid 400,000-Gallon Leak of Radioactive Water for Months

Xcel Energy reported a leak of tritium-contaminated water at its Monticello nuclear power plant on November 22. State authorities just acknowledged they’re monitoring the ongoing cleanup effort.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 3-17-2023 by Common Dreams

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

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