Weather Forecast


Hockey Day is coming to Bemidji; 13th annual event set for winter 2019

Brandon Law headed to governor

ST. PAUL -- The House gave final passage to Brandon's Law, a bill requiring faster police response when young adults go missing.

The measure passed 131-0 Tuesday, sending it to the governor, who is expected to sign it.

Rep. Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, promoted the bill after one of his constituents, Brandon Swanson, disappeared.

The bill requires law enforcement officers to take missing persons reports immediately and begin an investigation when there are circumstances that indicate the person may be in danger.

Union sees saving

The state's second-largest union says it knows how to save state government $350 million in the next two-year budge.

The Minnesota Association of Professional Employees suggested on Tuesday a range of options, including cutting management, collecting revenue now being written off and replacing private contractors with state workers.

MAPE reported that $240 million in already-approved revenues are not collected. It also said state agencies have too many managers and predict a $110 million savings.

The union also claims that unpaid state worker furloughs, which Gov. Tim Pawlenty proposes as a way to save money, actually would cost the state. Since 60 percent of MAPE jobs are at least partially federally funded, the state would lose that money from Washington in furloughs, the union said.

"This is a great opportunity for the governor to bring the management of his state agencies in line with the practices of the non-profit sector," Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, said. "He should also take a closer look at out-of-state travel and outside contracts to make sure every dollar is spent in the most effective way, rather than just continuing to pursue business as usual in these tough economic times."

Safer kid drinks

The Minnesota House decided children's bottles and sippy cups should no longer could contain bisphenol-A.

On a 126-5 Tuesday vote, representatives agreed with a Senate-passed bill that would ban the substance that is considered dangerous to children.

Bisphenol-A is a synthetic sex hormone that leaches out of baby bottles and "sippy" cups. Some experts say it causes a variety of health problems.

No more district

The Alexandria-area Central Lakes Sanitary Sewer District can disband if Gov. Tim Pawlenty agrees with a bill the House and Senate have passed.

The House voted 131-0 Tuesday to provide a legal way for the failed sewer district to close. It was formed as a way to provide sewer services, but never worked out and state law did not provide a way to shutter the system.

Coco warning OK'd

Stores selling coco bean mulch would be required to post warnings saying the product is dangerous to dogs under a bill representatives approved Tuesday.

After more than half an hour of debate, the House voted 68-63 for the bill.

Republicans said the bill go beyond what the government should do.

Don Davis works for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Bemidji Pioneer.