Spring's just a rumor at this point; a cornerstone of health care overhaul appears closer to realityby Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
Today on the MPR News Update, a late-season snow storm slows down the commute across the region, legislative leaders get ready to release their spending targets for the next two years, the state Senate votes on Minnesota's proposed health care exchange, and more.
SPRING? NOT YET, MINNESOTA: A blast of winter weather is closing roads, schools and colleges around the state. MnDOT has shut down parts of Interstate 94 and Highway 10 east of Moorhead, and Minnesota Highway 210 between Breckenridge and Fergus Falls. MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht says travel on other roads is also difficult.
SENATE EXCHANGE VOTE: A bill that would create a new way for more than a million Minnesotans to obtain health insurance is getting its final vote in the Legislature today as the state Senate takes up health insurance exchange legislation. It's a cornerstone of President Obama's federal health care overhaul. The Minnesota House passed the bill Thursday, with Republicans uniformly opposed.
BUDGET PRIORITIES: DFL legislative leaders say they plan to release their spending targets for the next two-year budget this week. The figures will give the public the first glimpse of how much money the House and Senate want to spend on schools, health care and other state services. Committee chairs will then use those targets to start crafting their respective budgets.
COLEMAN'S ST. PAUL: St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman hasn't officially announced he's running for re-election this year, but he's widely expected to seek a third term. And at the moment... the DFL incumbent appears to be a shoo-in in a city dominated by Democrats. That's in spite of a record that includes substantial tax increases and weak job growth.
FEDERAL BUDGET BATTLES: This week the U.S. House and Senate will pass budgets, but both are expected to pass strictly along party lines, says MPR Washington correspondent Brett Neely, who spoke today with Morning Edition's Phil Picardi. BACHMANN BACKS I-94 EXPANSION: There's push to widen I-94 northwest of the Twin Cities by a lane in each direction in the Rogers area. Business and political leaders in the area say rush-hour congestion is already bad, but it gets worse during the warm months when people head out of town. Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann represents the area and is backing federal legislation to pay for the lane expansion.
HPV LAGGING: A larger percentage of parents say they won't have their teen daughters vaccinated for human papilloma virus, or HPV, a Mayo Clinic study has found. Forty percent of parents surveyed in 2008 said they would not vaccinate their daughters against HPV. In 2010, 44 percent said they wouldn't have their girls get the vaccine.
TEEN'S GERMAN BOOK: Cadence Klemp has always enjoyed writing. So it was natural when her German teacher at Hope Lutheran High School, Larry Finke, instructed his students late last year to develop their own project that Klemp got creative with pencil and paper. The end result, though, surprised even her. Klemp, 17, has self-published a 14-page children's book that she wrote and illustrated for the assignment.
HILLARY CLINTON BACKS SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: As the same-sex marriage debate continues in Minnesota, the issue got another booster nationally Monday in the form of former Secretary of State - and presidential candidate -- Hillary Rodham Clinton.
WAR CASUALTY: Capt. Peter Linnerooth was an Army psychologist. He counseled soldiers during some of the fiercest fighting in Iraq. Hundreds upon hundreds sought his help. For nightmares and insomnia. For shock and grief. And for reaching that point where they just wanted to end it all. Linnerooth did such a good job his Army comrades dubbed him The Wizard. But his own life spiraled downwards, and in January it came to a tragic end.
Matt Sepic is a newscaster and general assignment reporter for MPR News.