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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

MN poised to establish standardized minimum wage

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Thursday, May 16, 2024   

Minnesota is moving closer to ensure all workers are eligible for the state's minimum wage of $10.85 an hour.

The Legislature has been taking action on a labor policy bill which includes a provision to essentially do away with minimum-wage carveouts. If passed, certain groups of workers, such as those hired by small businesses and employees 18 and younger, would no longer have to settle for the lower wage of $8.85 an hour.

Sen. Jennifer McEwen, DFL-Duluth, defended the changes during a Senate floor debate.

"Our businesses in Minnesota are prepared to have a good quality of life for the people in their businesses," McEwen stated.

Republican senators argued the state is creating a burdensome environment for small businesses. The provision in a larger bill also raises the cap on annual wage adjustments tied to inflation from 2.5% to 5%. The omnibus bill cleared its final legislative hurdle Wednesday and now goes to the governor.

Some GOP senators said they acknowledged higher consumer costs are making life hard for low-wage workers.

Sen. Gene Dornink, R-Brownsdale, worried about the tone being set for small businesses.

"Unfortunately, some of the mandates that we've continued to pass over these last few years have made it so businesses are getting discouraged," Dornink contended.

Democrats countered their approach is not about mandates but rather boosting the dignity of workers propping up the state's economy. As for other provisions within the labor bill, there are new requirements for salary transparency in job postings, as well as child labor protections.


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