State government is preparing to provide better care for retirees in the coming decades, at a time when many young people are concerned for their financial security at the end of their careers. With the rising student debt levels and the projected depletion of the nation’s Social Security Trust Fund, some college students expect a difficult retirement, and a new legislative committee hopes to alleviate stress for current and future retirees.
A patient turned violent against a nurse at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, in early September, choking her and leaving her uncertain about the profession she chose. “My life has turned completely upside down because of this,” said Kim, who asked to go by her first name due to the nature of the incident. Kim’s story represents an increase in violence toward nurses and other health care professionals, a trend that’s prompting lawmakers to address the issue and further protect those who serve others.
University of Minnesota basketball player Daquein McNeil plans to plead not guilty to charges that claim he assaulted his girlfriend and wants to return to school as soon as possible, his attorney said Monday. McNeil is currently in custody after allegedly beating his girlfriend with a belt and strangling her last week. He made his first court appearance Monday afternoon. The sophomore guard is suspended from all team activity until his case is resolved.
State and school leaders agree that curbing Minnesota’s achievement gap, or the differences in educational results between white students and students of color, begins with early childhood development. Advocates say there is more the state Legislature can do to narrow the disparities and that the recent elimination of a legislative committee designated to address youth education could potentially be a step backward.
A new grassroots student group hopes to fight corruption in government by changing the laws around political donations at the local and national levels. The University of Minnesota chapter of the national campaign Represent.Us took root on campus this semester with the goal of ridding politics of corruption. The group wants to push for stricter laws pertaining to special interest donations to political campaigns, the transparency of donor identity and more regulations for lobbyists.
As Minnesota lawmakers push for the use of alternative fuel, some say progress should be quicker. Changes to biofuel requirements and electric vehicle charging rates have led Minnesota’s efforts to increase alternative fuel consumption, but environmental advocates say more action is needed. “A token amount of renewable energy isn’t going to cut it. We need a total transition,” said Simone Childs-Walker, a member of the student group Fossil Free Minnesota. The Legislative Energy Commission met on Thursday to discuss alternative fuel sources.
The task of running Minnesota’s new Office of Medical Cannabis falls to a University of Minnesota student. Michelle Larson, a third-year doctoral student, is in charge of making sure the state’s controversial medical marijuana program is operating by July 1, 2015. To do so, she has to juggle academic work, professional challenges and raising two young children. “Trying to balance all that out is complicated, but I’m really well organized,” Larson said.
Majority control of Minnesota’s Legislature will be split in 2015 for the first time in eight years, which could lead to gridlock in policymaking and higher education issues. Republicans took control of the state’s House of Representatives on Tuesday, while the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party held on to the Senate. To overcome possible political strife, experts and lawmakers have stressed that elected officials will need to compromise during this spring’s legislative session.
State Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, defeated Republican challenger Jon Heyer on Tuesday in the race to represent Minnesota House District 66A. Hausman won by a wide margin and captured more than 67 percent of votes, sending her to the Legislature for a 14th term to represent the district that encompasses the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. Hausman celebrated the victory from her home Tuesday night. “It is always something unknown, and you never take anything for granted,” she said.
In the brisk early afternoon hours of Halloween, a group of costume-clad campaigners went door-knocking — not to collect candy but to collect signatures. The volunteers were working to persuade people to vote and tracking youth voting habits as part of an effort led by the University of Minnesota’s chapter of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, a non-partisan student organization.
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