ST. PAUL - A federal grant could make it easier for roughly 7,500 Minnesotans facing foreclosure this year to keep their homes. State housing officials and Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday a $4.3 million grant will double the number of counselors available for a mortgage counseling program. The grant to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency will provide an additional 37 counselors statewide, bringing the total number to 76.
ST. PAUL - A statewide smoking ban has cost Minnesota's charitable gambling industry $100 million a year in revenue, according to a report that confirmed ban opponents' predictions. Ban supporters questioned the report. Charitable gambling organizations in recent years have experienced a steady, 2.5 percent annual decline in gross receipts, Tom Barrett, executive director of the Minnesota Gambling Control Board, told lawmakers Monday. But in the last three months of 2007 - after the smoking ban went into effect - receipts dropped 12.8 percent from the same period in 2006.
ST. PAUL - Natural resource officials want state funding for a Koochiching County forest program after $3.5 million of federal aid was secured Monday. The federal dollars could help protect 76,000 acres of private land in far northern Minnesota from being developed, said Mark Rey, an undersecretary of the U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Democratic lawmakers say they are shielding Minnesota college students from further tuition increases by calling for higher education budget cuts at a fraction of what Gov. Tim Pawlenty proposes. College and university spending cuts are part of larger budget plans proposed to fix a projected $935 million state budget shortfall for the two-year budget period. Republican Pawlenty proposed most state agencies - including the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities systems -- make 4 percent spending cuts to help erase that deficit.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's diesel vehicles will burn more renewable fuel if state policymakers agree on a plan to boost biodiesel production. Proponents of increasing biodiesel fuel use in Minnesota by tenfold in the coming years are optimistic the plan will be put into law this year. It would be the next step in Minnesota's pursuit of increased renewable fuel production. At a farm festival last summer, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Minnesota should expand the use of biodiesel in the state's diesel supply from 2 percent to 20 percent.
Highlights of how Minnesota public school funding is affected by competing proposals to erase the state's $935 million deficit: Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Democratic education leaders want to bump up education spending by raiding money meant for Gov.
ST. PAUL - A divided Minnesota Senate gave preliminary approval Thursday to a health care reform package some lawmakers described as bold and necessary and others said moves too fast. The bill aims to bring down health care costs, get more Minnesotans health insurance and lead to better health care results, said author Sen.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota companies already export agricultural goods, including livestock, to Cuba but a state delegation is headed there to plant seeds for increased trade. Officials leaving Saturday on a five-day trip to Havana say Minnesota is positioning itself to meet the island country's growing food and agriculture needs. Minnesota exported more than $18 million of agricultural products to Cuba in 2007.
Key features of health care reform bills moving through the Minnesota Legislature: -- Creating a statewide health improvement plan providing grants to local communities to curb obesity and tobacco use.