All posts by Julie Liew

ACTION ALERT – Urge the Legislature to include child care facilities in the bonding bill!

As the Minnesota Legislature moves into the second week of its special session, talk about a potential bonding bill has intensified. As those discussions continue, it is vital that Greater Minnesota business and community leaders reach out to key legislators and urge them to include $10 million for child care facilities in the bill.

GMNP was instrumental in the creation of the Greater Minnesota Child Care Facilities Grant Program, which was established in the 2020 bonding bill. However, the program was not funded. As Greater Minnesota businesses and families continue to recover from the economic fallout caused by the pandemic, it is vital that the Legislature include funding for child care facilities in the bonding bill to help address this critical need across the state.

You can learn more about the Greater Minnesota Child Care Facilities Grant Program here.

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Join Greater Minnesota city leaders at the CGMC Summer Conference

Our partner organization, Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC), is excited to announce its return to n-person events with the 2021 CGMC Summer Conference, which will be held July 29-30 at Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center in Alexandria. All GMNP members are welcome to attend; register at greatermncities.org/product/2021-summer-conference-registration/.

The conference agenda includes speakers, presentations and panel discussions featuring state leaders, key legislators and policy experts on an array of important topics such as:

  • Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and how they can help make your city even stronger
  • Plans for possible changes to the Local Government Aid formula
  • How bills and budget plans passed in the 2021 legislative sessions could impact your community
  • Tips on how to better communicate and find common ground with people in your community and your fellow city leaders despite the rise in polarization
  • Creative ideas on ways to improve local parks & trails and capitalize on the recent increase in visitors Continue reading

Budget agreement includes $70M for broadband

The state budget agreement reached by the legislative leaders and Gov. Walz includes more funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant program.

The good news is that it will provide $70 million in funding, the largest investment in the program since it was created in 2014.

The bad news is the Governor’s own broadband task force says the state needs $120 million this biennium to reach the 2022 broadband speed goals of 20 mbps download and 3 mbps upload and to stay on track to hit the 2026 target of 100 mbps download and 20 mbps upload. The task force has stated that 3 mbps upload is “inadequate to support remote business and education needs and can no longer be considered high-speed broadband.” Continue reading

Center for Rural Policy to host virtual event on health care access

The Center for Rural Policy and Development and the Citizens League are hosting the third virtual event in their Interconnected series, this time focusing on access to health care in urban and rural areas.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, June 3 at 2:30 p.m. To register, please visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Ni72-ec_TJ-9Op-o97fOaQ

Discussion participants include:

• Toby Freier – President, New Ulm Medical Center, Allina Health
• Mark Jones – Executive Director, MN Rural Health Association
• Vayong Moua – Director, Racial & Health Equity Advocacy, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MN
• Kelly Asche – CRPD Research Associate

Notes from the Capitol

The 2021 legislative session has come and gone, and we are once again headed into extra innings. The legislature adjourned yesterday, as required by the Minnesota Constitution, without passing a budget, without addressing how to appropriate the $2.8 billion Minnesota received from the federal American Rescue Plan, and without acting on major tax policies including federal conformity for the Paycheck Protection Program and COVID-19 unemployment benefits.

Although the legislature did not wrap up the budget before the adjournment, Governor Walz and legislative leaders announced yesterday that they have reached an agreement on budget targets. This means we now have a framework for how the legislature will proceed with a special session. Most Capitol observers expected some delay following the end of the session before the budget framework would come together.

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Survey: Share your thoughts on which issues most impact your community

The Center for Rural Policy and Development (CRPD) is looking for feedback from leaders across Greater Minnesota on what issues are most affecting your communities and region. To aid in this process, the CRPD has a new survey, available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GreaterMNPartnership​, the results of which will help them develop their research agenda in the coming years.

The work of the CRPD is a great resource in the policy work we do and is directly tied to recent legislative successes in areas such as child care, broadband and housing. We encourage you to take two minutes to complete the survey.   

Governor unveils Minnesota’s path to ending all COVID-19 restrictions

On Thursday, Gov. Walz shared the state’s three-step plan to completely dial back COVID-19 restrictions. The announcement comes as cases are receding, vaccination capacity continues to increase, and the state’s health care system is stabilizing.

Beginning May 7 at 12 p.m.:

  • No limits on outdoor dining, events, and social gatherings  
  • No mask requirements on outdoor venues with less than 500 people
  • Indoor social gathering limit increases to 50 people  
  • Indoor group size and table size increases to 10 people
  • No mandatory closing time for bars and restaurants
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Update on GMNP legislative priorities

The top priorities for the Partnership this session are addressing three critical shortages in Greater Minnesota: child care, workforce housing, and broadband. Here is a quick update on where things stand on these issues. (More information on the Partnership’s legislative priorities can be found here).

Child care, or lack thereof, has become a major economic barrier throughout Greater Minnesota. We are currently short almost 40,000 child care slots, each of which impacts a family, an employer, and a community. While there are a number of policy provisions and individual investments that can make a difference, this session we focused on two areas that are specific to the challenge in Greater Minnesota: providing support for child care providers to access training and technical support, and addressing the shortage by supporting community planning and providing access to expansion capital.

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Next installment of ‘Interconnected: Rural-Urban Conversations’ to focus on workforce issues

On Thursday, the Center for Rural Policy and Development and the Citizens League are hosting the second webinar in their series “Interconnected: Rural-Urban Conversations.” This event will focus on workforce strategies, where panelists will explore questions such as: What are the similarities and differences in workforce between urban and rural Minnesota? How did the pandemic effect employment in rural and urban areas differently? What are some possible solutions?

Event details:
Thursday, April 29, 2021
2:30-3:45 p.m.
Online meeting with recording available afterwards​
Registration link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Eae7oxQiQNynEfIYt4er5g
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Register for the 2021 CGMC Summer Conference

Back together again!

The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, GMNP’s partnership organization, announced their return to in-person events with the 2021 CGMC Summer Conference, which will be held July 29-30 at Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center in Alexandria. All GMNP members are invited to attend! Registration is now open.

Attendees can look forward to:

  • Informative speakers, presentations and panel discussions featuring state leaders, key legislators and policy experts
  • Interactive sessions where city leaders can discuss recent challenges and successes in their own communities — and learn about what’s happening in other cities across Greater Minnesota
  • Discovering how lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic could help make your city even stronger
  • Finding out how bills and budget plans passed in the 2021 legislative could impact your community
  • Learning about plans for possible changes to the Local Government Aid formula
  • The return of our annual awards dinner celebrating legislators and city leaders who had a strong positive impact on Greater Minnesota during the past year
  • Opportunities to meet with old friends and make new ones!
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