Minnesota Lawmakers Look Through Maps
(AP) Minnesota state lawmakers are just starting to sort through options after the release this week of new state political boundaries. The redistricting maps released by a court panel Tuesday paired up 48 House and Senate incumbents. Those lawmakers are now deciding if they will run against a fellow incumbent, move to a new district or retire from the Legislature.
A few lawmakers are facing off. In southwest Minneapolis, Democratic representatives Frank Hornstein and Marion Greene say they'll run against each other in a primary. Greene says they're friends but neither wants to quit. In the Bemidji area, Republican Rep. Larry Howes and DFL Rep. John Persell will face off. A number of other paired lawmakers say they are still considering their options.
Latest Vikings Stadium Proposals
(AP) Several Republican state lawmakers are proposing a Vikings stadium plan that would drastically reduce the size of the taxpayer contribution. Sen. Roger Chamberlain of Lino Lakes says Thursday his bill would have the state contribute $300 million from sales taxes on stadium-related purchases including tickets, concessions and parking. That's less than half the $600 million to $700 million taxpayer share under discussion in recent stadium negotiations. Vikings owners would have to make up the difference on a roughly $1 billion stadium. A Vikings spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Chamberlain's bill eliminates the state's business property tax which he says would make it easier for the Vikings to get private support for the project. He says he's trying to find a plan that can pass the Legislature.
New Health Program Starts Monday In La Crosse
If your trying to lose weight or want to lead a healthier lifestyle, the the La Crosse County Health Department has a new program for you. It's called The Biggest Health Challenge-La Crosse. And Kim Hottenstein says there are all kinds of ways you can get fit....starting Monday.
The 8 week program runs until April and you can sign up for free or pay $10 and get entered into contests and giveaways. She says now is the best time to get on board as February is the month many of the new year resolution setters start to slack.
Redistricting Maps Go On Trial
(AP) After two days of delays, a federal trial is set to begin in Milwaukee in a case involving the state's latest election maps. The maps show which voters are in which voting districts. The district boundaries are adjusted every 10 years to reflect updated U.S. Census numbers. Republican lawmakers drew up the latest maps in strict secrecy last year and passed them in a GOP-led Legislature. Democrats have challenged the GOP-friendly maps for shifting the districts for hundreds of thousands of voters without a good reason. An immigrant-rights group has also sued, alleging that the boundaries divide Latino blocs, weakening their voting power. They're suing the state Government Accountability Board to prevent it from implementing the new maps. The trial starts Thursday morning. It's expected to wrap up late Friday.
Group Says Wetlands Bill Has Potential Negative Impacts
A new bill headed to governor Walker for a signature is meant to help businesses in the state. But wetland regulation reforms also pose significant threats to the environment and to flood protection around the state, says Tracy Hames (haims), executive director of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association. That's because the new rules allow developers to skip the part of the permit process that gets them to look at other areas besides wetlands to build
Hames says it's silly to think that developers will be able to replace natural wetlands they fill in with ones they build in other areas.