Forum News Service
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ST. PAUL -- Minnesota lawmakers are looking into legislation that would allow people to drive three-wheel vehicles without a motorcycle license. Minnesota's Polaris Industries is asking to allow drivers of three-wheel vehicles that are hybrids of motorcycles and cars to be able to use regular licenses, but a House committee modified that idea.
ST. PAUL -- A $500 million program to improve Minnesota's science, technology and cutting-edge manufacturing is being proposed by state Rep. Paul Thissen, D-Minneapolis. The Innovation, Research and Development Fund would focus on significantly expanding Minnesota’s research and development capacity, Thissen said, by training the next generation of Minnesota innovators.
ST. PAUL -- Mental health groups and legislators from both major parties are pushing for Minnesota leaders to increase mental health spending $8.5 million for the next three years. The money would be used to improve community-based mental health and addiction services. Supporters include the Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs and the Minnesota Hospital Association.
ST. PAUL -- Legislation to remove tax from ambulance services is making its way through the Minnesota House. A 2 percent health-care provider tax has been charged for ambulance runs, as well as doctor visits and other health-care related needs. Rep. Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River, said ambulance services discovered they needed to pay as much as $100,000 in back taxes.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Senate Republicans say their 2016 priorities are tax cuts and a long-term transportation plan. "We can’t let another session go by without passing a long-term transportation plan and significant tax relief and reform," Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said Thursday. "Our plan focuses on ideas that will actually work to build roads and bridges, let Minnesotans keep more of the money they earn and lower their healthcare costs."
ST. PAUL -- Owners of wineries on Minnesota farms are asking lawmakers give them a tax break like other alcohol makers receive. Legislation by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, would provide excise tax credits for wine and cider makers that produce up to 75,000 gallons a year. No farm winery reaches that level.
LITCHFIELD, Minn. — A Litchfield woman accused of financially exploiting nearly $220,000 from her elderly mother, a vulnerable adult, entered a plea agreement Wednesday in Meeker County District Court. Ann Marie Zillmer, 56, asserted an Alford plea, in which a defendant does not admit to the crime but acknowledges there is enough evidence to lead a jury to convict. It is recorded as a guilty plea.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota job vacancies were up 8.1 percent from a year ago to 96,000 from and were the most for a fourth quarter since the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development began tracking job vacancies in 2001, according to report released Thursday. The record for quarterly vacancies was 115,072 in the second quarter of 2001.
ST. PAUL, MN – The Commission on Judicial Selection announced Thursday it is recommending three candidates to Gov.Mark Dayton for consideration to fill a current vacancy in Minnesota’s Seventh Judicial District. This vacancy was created upon the upcoming retirement of Judge Conrad I. Freeberg and will be chambered at Milaca in Mille Lacs County. The district also consists of Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd, and Wadena counties.
CROOKSTON, Minn. -- An inmate is facing charges after smuggling drugs with a balloon inside herself into the Crookston jail, according to court documents. Jessica Renee Marciniak, 25, is charged with a felony count of fourth-degree controlled substance crime, two felony counts of fifth-degree controlled substance crimes and two gross misdemeanors for introduction of contraband into jail.