Frac sand rules, same-sex marriage, child care unions and moreby Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
Today on the MPR News Update: Lawmakers consider new restrictions on frac sand mining, Minnesota Republican lawmakers who support same-sex marriage are targeted for defeat by a conservative group, and DFLers at the state Capitol hope to ease restrictions on illegal immigrants who want to attend state colleges and universities.
FRAC SAND: A busload of concerned citizens from southeastern Minnesota will attend a hearing today on legislation that would regulate the silica sand mining industry. The Senate Committee on Energy and the Environment is expected to vote on the bill, which would impose a production tax on the industry and require the state to create a generic Environmental Impact Statement on silica sand mining.
MARRIAGE: A national conservative group says it will spend $500,000 to defeat Republican lawmakers in Minnesota who vote to legalize same-sex marriage. The National Organization for Marriage issued the warning Monday. The group contributed more than $2 million to last fall's failed campaign to define marriage in Minnesota constitution.
CHILD-CARE UNION: Republican lawmakers who fought off an attempt last year to unionize state-subsidized child care providers are lamenting the issue's return in the form of a DFL-backed bill. New legislation would allow for the union vote that DFL Gov. Mark Dayton tried unsuccessfully to get via an executive order last year. A judge later ruled that Dayton had exceeded his authority in bypassing the Legislature.
HARLEM SHAKE: The head of the Mound Westonka Schools has apologized for the suspension of six varsity hockey players just before of a playoff game Friday, which the team lost. Superintendent Kevin Borg says the school activities director is on leave after suspending hockey players who took part in a dance called the Harlem Shake in the school's lunchroom.
TUITION BREAK DREAM: Under a bill being considered by the Legislature, students whose parents brought them to the United States without permission could be classified as residents of Minnesota for purposes of tuition and financial aid at all public colleges and universities in the state. To qualify, students would have to attend a Minnesota high school for at least three years before graduating.
CAPITOL OUTLOOK: We're in the 8th week of Minnesota's legislative session. But the big battles over things like the budget, taxes and same sex marriage have yet to be fought. This morning, two capitol veterans --DFLer Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Republican Marty Seifert -- joined Morning Edition's Cathy Wurzer to parse out some of the political maneuverings in St. Paul.
SCHOOL SECURITY: It's been two months since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Since then school officials in Minnesota and across the country have struggled with how to increase security while keeping their schools open and welcoming. US Rep. Kline, the Republican who chairs the House Education Committee, met with over a dozen school officials in Burnsville Monday to get their input on the issue.
ORCHESTRA CONTRACTS: Management and locked out musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra met all afternoon Monday in the first face-to-face talks the two sides have had in some time. They are trying to hammer out an agreement which may get the musicians playing again, and ultimately lead to a settlement in the long-running contract dispute.
CALCIUM, VITAMIN D: Popping calcium and vitamin D pills in hopes of strong bones? Healthy older women shouldn't bother. A new report says that for otherwise healthy postmenopausal women, adding modest supplements to their diet won't prevent broken bones and can increase the risk of kidney stones. It's a confusing message considering that for years, calcium and vitamin D supplements have been widely considered an insurance policy against osteoporosis.
Matt Sepic is a newscaster and general assignment reporter for MPR News.