MN private colleges split on SEIU professors’ union

By   /  July 23, 2014  /  Education, Minnesota, News, unions  /  No Comments

TWIN CITIES CAMPUSES TARGETED BY SEIU:  Adjunct faculty at 3 Twin Cities private college campuses were subject to organizing drives this summer with mixed results for the union. Photo by Mike Ekern, University of St. Thomas website.

By Tom Steward  | Watchdog Minnesota Bureau
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Hamline University’s part-time professors in June voted decisively to join the Service Employees International Union.
The momentum appeared to be with SEIU organizers, as the first private college campus in Minnesota to unionize adjunct professors quite possibly cleared way for an even bigger domino in July—the University of St. Thomas.
“I’m confident [...]

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From Miami to Minnesota, protests call attention to immigration crisis

By   /  July 22, 2014  /  Federal Government, Florida, Immigration, Issues, Minnesota, National, News  /  No Comments

AP photo

 
By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org
Along East Seventh Street in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood of St. Paul, Minn., more signs are in Spanish than English, advertising everything from used cars to groceries.
That backdrop certainly made Larry Dalin’s sign stand out.
Holding a sign that read “In Mexico, illegals are jailed,” Dalin was a lone sentry outside the Mexican [...]

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Critics of wind power blame feds for killing, ‘chopping up’ eagles, other birds

By   /  July 21, 2014  /  Energy and Environment, Minnesota, News, Public Utilities  /  No Comments

LICENSE TO KILL: Following a public outcry, the US Fish and Wildlife Service will reassess 30 year permits exempting wind turbines from liability for unintentional fatalities of bald and golden eagles. USFWS photo.

Wind industry insiders call it a “turbine collision,” though the feds prefer “non-purposeful take.”

But critics such as Sharon Klemm get real on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife website: “Why don’t you call it what it is? Shooting eagles. Killing Eagles. Murdering Eagles.”

The backlash over a controversial 2013 USFWS rule exempting wind farms from prosecution for the unintentional deaths of bald and golden eagles — for up to three decades — continues to play out in emotional online comments.

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MN commissioner’s moonlighting raises conflict of interest questions

By   /  July 17, 2014  /  Iowa, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

original_photo_josh_tilsen-240x300

His resume posted on the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board website stands out: “Conducted hundreds of grievance hearings and mediation sessions.”

So does his daily fee: $1,200 per day, plus “actual costs for meals, lodging and miscellaneous; IRS rate for mileage.”

But what most distinguishes Josh Tilsen from the other 59 arbitrators listing their services on the Iowa state government website? His full-time day job in the next state over, serving as commissioner of the Minnesota Bureau of Media Services at a salary of $95,000 per year.

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Minnesota doubles down on nation’s top biodiesel law

By   /  July 10, 2014  /  Business, Energy and Environment, Legislature, Minnesota, News, transportation  /  No Comments

WHEN YOU GOTTA GO: Some MN truckers go out of their way to refueling instate due to concerns over nation leading 10 percent biodiesel mandate.  Kottke Trucking photo.

Fill it up with diesel fuel. Just do it in Fargo, Sioux Falls, Eau Claire — or any truck stop across the Minnesota border.

That’s the road map for fueling 90 big rigs operated by Kottke Trucking, the result of plan driven by a state biodiesel B10 rule, which the Minnesota company calls “unfair, expensive and wrong.”

Minnesota became the first state to require every gallon of diesel contain at least 10 percent biodiesel — produced mostly with homegrown soybeans — as of July 1.

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Millions in MN taxpayer funding goes for local government lobbying

By   /  July 7, 2014  /  Legislature, Lobbying, Local Government, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

DOWN TO THE TOWNSHIP: All but 2 of MN's 1,783 townships pay dues to support a lobbyist in St. Paul, including $84 from Sunrise Township residents who still vote in the oldest building still holding government meetings in the state.
Township of Sunrise photo.

Local governments in Minnesota burned through more than $8 million in taxpayer-funded lobbying last year, up more than 3 percent over 2012, according to a new state report.

A Watchdog Minnesota Bureau analysis indicates the practice has become so ingrained that every Minnesota taxpayer likely funds at least one local government entity to lobby another level of government.

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