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MN2020: Discussion http://www.mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion Input and wisdom from our readers Tue, 21 Nov 2017 08:55:16 -0600 FOIA Improvement Act: Why Minnesotans Should Care http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/foia-improvement-act-why-minnesotans-should-care http://mn2020.org/8792 <p> By </p> <p> The frenzy is on as the 113th Congress moves into its last lap and mid-term electioneering hits peak. Left in suspension is a rush of politically charged bills pulsating to get through committee, desperate to avoid sudden death at the stroke of a partisan pen.</p> <p> Standing apart from the teeming mass is one critical bipartisan bill, the FOIA Improvement Act, co-authored by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT). By unclogging the flow of government information Senate 2520 will improve access to information by and about the federal government, thus to facilitate the transparency that undergirds government accountability. Because it is not sexy, pricey or viciously partisan the FOIA Improvement Act escapes the limelight; because it affects every American&rsquo;s right to know, it deserves attention, understanding and discussion.</p> <p> FOIA has a deserved reputation as a wonkish tool wielded by investigative journalists and attorneys. Most of us have never taken the treacherous path that the Star Tribune's James Eli Shiffer described in his recent series relating his<a href="http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/274136841.html" target="_blank"> &ldquo;mystifying journey&quot;</a> into the world of FOIA.</p> <p> What we fail to realize is that the information that reaches us through the press, advocacy groups, social media, even distorted propaganda, depends on someone having delved into the public record to ferret out the facts. It&rsquo;s worth paying attention to FOIA, the &ldquo;bill of rights&rdquo; for the individual or organizational information seeker.</p> Is a clean and healthy Mississippi a concern? The <a href="http://www.epa.gov" target="_blank">Environmental Protection Agency</a>&nbsp; collects the essential data that informs the work of organizations such as Clean Water Action or the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. Worried about food safety? You&rsquo;ll need direct or indirect access to the <a href="http://www.fda.gov" target="_blank">Food and Drug Administration</a>, the <a href="http://www.usda.gov" target="_blank">U.S. Department of Agriculture</a> and to the information mavens at Food and Water Watch, the Environmental Working Group or the Minnesota Extension Service&mdash;all of these and countless others depend on ready access to federal government data and research. Threatened by the oil-loaded trains traveling across Minnesota rails? Start with the <a href="http://(a href="http://www.mn2020.org/?URL=http%3A%2F%2Fntlsearch.bts.gov%2Fresearchhub%2F"http://ntlsearch.bts.gov/researchhub/"/a target="_blank">US Department of Transportation Research Hub</a> to understand the players and pressure points. Think there may be something to <a href="http://www.globalchange.gov/about" target="_blank">climate change</a>? Information from the feds is the essential first step. Questions about services for <a href="http://www.va.gov/vetdata/" target="_blank">veterans</a>? Planning a family vacation in Our Nation&rsquo;s Capitol? You&rsquo;ll want to tap into the<a href="http://dc.gov/page/visitors-resource-center" target="_blank"> DC Visitors&rsquo; Center</a> Worried that the<a href="/www.fbi.gov/foia/requesting-fbi-records" target="_blank"> FBI still has a file on you</a>? Can&rsquo;t hurt to ask. Want to track the FOIA Improvement Act? Thomas at the Library of Congress is just one of the options you have to follow<a href="http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php" target="_blank"> legislation-in-progress</a>. <p> The point is that the federal government is the sole source of massive data and practical day-to-day information on which we as a nation and as individuals depend. Our democracy rests on the ability of citizens to keep an eye on our government and to hold our officials accountable.</p> <p> Information by and about the government is the resource with the power to enlighten, misinform, shape an issue, turn a profit, and/or create a strong, accountable, functional and accountable democracy.</p> <p> Truth to tell, communications and information technology have outstripped our individual and collective ability to keep up -- and politics can clog the gears. That doesn&rsquo;t mean we give up. Over time agencies have intentionally or inadvertently created barriers of time, cost, efficiency. That doesn&rsquo;t mean we relinquish our rights.</p> <p> The original FOIA as it was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 4, 1966 (with some reluctance)1 was built on a common understanding of the underlying principles. The FOIA Improvement Act of 2014 holds to and reinforces those principles. Bottom line: by eliminating the barriers that have thwarted the process over time, the FOIA Improvement Act restores FOIA to its original, intended &ndash; and absolutely essential -- purpose.</p> <p> The FOIA Improvement Act must pass through the Senate Judiciary Committee on which both Minnesota&rsquo;s Senators serve. The House is already on board. Every Minnesotan can benefit to having access to information.</p> <p> Want to review the FOIA basics?&nbsp; Check<a href="http://www.foia.gov/faq.html" target="_blank"> here for FOIA FAQs</a> - print and video, English and Spanish.</p> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:00:27 +0000 Discussing Racial Bias in Law Enforcement http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussing-racial-bias-in-law-enforcement http://mn2020.org/8790 <p> By Deb Balzer, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}Deb Balzer, Communications Director </p> <p> Recent high profile cases of alleged police misconduct have propelled the conversation about police treatment of the black community, especially black men and what many believe is a different set of standards. Nationally, the tragic shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri and locally, the case of a Chris Lollie, who was tasered and arrested by St. Paul police while waiting for his children in a skyway have raised questions and concerns about general community trust in our law enforcement officers.</p> <p> We at Minnesota 2020 ask: &quot;<strong>What can we do from a policy perspective to ensure that our laws are enforced according to standards of racial equity, and to ensure that police practices are safe and equitable across communities?</strong>&quot;</p> <p> Today, we have an opportunity to talk with two experts about what builds trust in our community:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Dr. Duchess Harris is Professor of American Studies at Macalester College and an author who has written extensively on the role of race in our country.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Wintana Melekin is a civic engagement organizer at Neighborhoods Organizing for Change</p> <p> Join us for conversation and share your questions.&nbsp;This conversation is open all day. Dr. Harris and Wintana will both be joining us from 8-9:30 am.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&nbsp;Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:00:23 +0000 Discussion: The Role of Startup Companies in Minnesota http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-the-role-of-startup-companies-in-minnesota http://mn2020.org/8761 <p> By Deb Balzer, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}Deb Balzer, Communications Director </p> <p> More than 50,000 new businesses were registered with the state last year, according to Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. That&rsquo;s the third largest number of new businesses ever recorded. It&rsquo;s what Ritchie calls part of Minnesota&rsquo;s healthy entrepreneurial spirit.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s that spirit that brings together aspiring business owners for the first Twin Cities Startup Week. Organizers are inviting budding entrepreneurs and innovators seeking strategic advice, resources and networking opportunities to join in a series of 20 events across the metro.</p> <p> <strong>What is the role startup companies play, and can play, in Minnesota&rsquo;s economic development?</strong></p> <p> Joining us today to talk about the role these startups play in our state economy, and their potential for economic development is Justin M.C. Porter of the University of Minnesota Venture Center.</p> <p> <em><strong>Sidenote:&nbsp;</strong>The Startup Week kicks off this evening with a Beta.MN 1.5 gathering which describes its events as &ldquo;place for entrepreneurs, hackers, artists, investors, teachers and students to get to know each other in a comfortable, agenda-less setting.&rdquo;&nbsp;</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&nbsp;Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:00:29 +0000 Discussion: Back to School Hopes http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-back-to-school-hopes http://mn2020.org/8742 <p> By Michael Diedrich, Education Fellow </p> <p> What are your hopes and dreams for school this year?</p> <p> Starting today, all Minnesota students will be back in school across the state. As you look forward to this year and further into the future, what do you envision and wish for your children, your students, and/or the schools in your community?</p> <p> Minnesota 2020 Education Fellow Michael Diedrich (fresh off the statewide press tour for &ldquo;Valuing the Whole Child: Education Beyond Test Scores&rdquo;) will be available from 8-9:30 am to facilitate this discussion, and will continue to respond throughout the day. We welcome your questions and comments.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 10:59:05 +0000 Discussion: Racial Equity &amp; Budgets http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-racial-equity-budgets http://mn2020.org/8726 <p> By Deb Balzer, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}Deb Balzer, Communications Director </p> <p> Across the state, unemployment is at 4.5 percent, below the national rate of 6.2 percent. While the recovering economy brings new opportunities to some Minnesotans, the unemployment rate in July 2014 was 10.7 percent for African Americans&mdash;about 2.5 times the unemployment rate for Whites in Minnesota. By almost any measurement, including wealth, income, housing, incarceration rates, educational opportunity, and health, Minnesota is a state with a lot of work to do on racial equity.</p> <p> Equity figured especially prominently in the recent city elections in Minneapolis. Having won on an equity platform, Mayor Betsy Hodges recently released her first budget proposal and has focused heavily on equity and growth for the City of Minneapolis in her public presentation of that budget. She echoes the sentiment of Joe Biden: &ldquo;Show me your budget, and I&rsquo;ll tell you what you value.&rdquo;</p> <p> In her proposed 2015 budget, Mayor Hodges proposed a number of specific initiatives with a clear racial equity component. Some of the highlights include:</p> An additional $1 million City dollars in affordable housing, focusing on family housing. Planning dollars for the redevelopment of the Upper Harbor Terminal, to ensure North Minneapolis has its own valuable riverfront amenities. Two new positions in the City Coordinator&rsquo;s office to focus exclusively on the city&rsquo;s equity work, ensuring the best possible equity outcomes in every department and every division. $1,140,000 in capital dollars to implement a program of body cameras for the police department. <p> We&rsquo;ve invited Mayor Hodges to join us for a discussion on the connection between budgets and equity. She&rsquo;ll share some of the strategies they&rsquo;re trying in Minneapolis, and lead a discussion about what more we could be doing in Minneapolis, in other cities and counties, and at the state level to advance racial equity. Mayor Hodges will be with us from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. to share her insights and answer your questions.</p> <p> <strong>Please join the discussion! </strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:00:45 +0000 Discussion: Minnesota Mental Health http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-minnesota-mental-health http://mn2020.org/8698 <p> By Deb Balzer, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}Deb Balzer, Communications Director </p> <p> The recent death of beloved entertainer, Robin Williams, has opened conversation about depression, mental illness and suicide. Here in <a href="http://mn2020hindsight.org/view/minnesotas-suicide-rates" target="_blank">Minnesota</a>, deaths by suicide have increased over the last decade&mdash;especially among the baby boomer generation.</p> <p> While suicide is a complex issue, in many cases it can be prevented. Officials say there are many contributing factors that can lead to suicide or an attempt, including depression and mental illness which can be treated.</p> <p> <strong>What needs to be done to address mental health issues in our state? </strong></p> <p> Joining us is Ed Eide, executive director of the <a href="http://www.mentalhealthmn.org">M</a><a href="http://www.mentalhealthmn.org" target="_blank">ental Health Association of Minnesota</a><a href="http://www.mentalhealthmn.org">,</a> an advocacy and education organization. His organization works to enhance mental health, promote individual empowerment, and increase access to treatment and services for persons with mental illnesses.</p> <p> The conversation is open all day. We welcome your questions and invite you to join in the discussion!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&nbsp;Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:00:23 +0000 Discussion: What can open data do for MN? http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-what-can-open-data-do-for-mn http://mn2020.org/8683 <p> By Deb Balzer, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}Deb Balzer, Communications Director </p> <p> The Minneapolis City Council recently passed an open data policy that opens the door for private citizens to access the city&rsquo;s more than 450 government databases. This new policy both illustrates a shift in culture as well as expectations.</p> <p> City Council Member Andrew Johnson has been a proponent of open data, <a href="http://www.minnpost.com/cityscape/2014/08/embracing-open-data-big-shift-culture-minneapolis" target="_blank">as he told MinnPost</a>: &ldquo;The old models, the old way of doing things are no longer acceptable to a lot of folks.&quot;</p> <p> <strong>What are the benefits of open data and how can it impact economic development?</strong></p> <p> <strong>What potential uses of open data are you most excited about?</strong></p> <p> Minneapolis City Council Member Andrew Johnson joined us this morning for a couple of hours. The conversation is open all day. We welcome your questions and invite you to join in the discussion!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 11:17:47 +0000 Discussion: Minnesota Immigration Reform http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-minnesota-immigration-reform http://mn2020.org/8653 <p> By Deb Balzer, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}Deb Balzer, Communications Director </p> <p> Minnesota has a <a href="http://www.mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/economic-development/a-cold-shoulder-or-welcoming-arms-for-children-in-danger" target="_blank">long history of helping</a> those in need; from the &ldquo;mercy wheat&rdquo; mission of 1946 where we sent wheat from Climax, MN to starving Europeans ravaged by World War II to opening our homes and communities to Hmong refugees from Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam beginning in the 1970&rsquo;s. Today, Minnesota&rsquo;s economy and culture are defined and enriched by the contributions of new Minnesotans from Somalia, Liberia, Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central America, Tibet, and more.</p> <p> <strong>Where will Minnesota stand on the heels of the growing crisis of the unaccompanied children of Central America fleeing violence and seeking safety? Will we continue our history of helping those in need?</strong></p> <p> Joining today&rsquo;s discussion is Javier Morillo, immigration reform activist and president of the SEIU Local 26&mdash;a union representing 6,000 janitors and security officers. Javier will lead a discussion both about what Minnesota&rsquo;s role should be in helping the children arriving at our borders and also about what we need to do to fix our country&rsquo;s broken immigration policy.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 11:00:08 +0000 Discussion: Co-ops Not Just for Farmers Anymore http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-not-just-for-farmers-anymore http://mn2020.org/8628 <p> By John Van Hecke, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}John Van Hecke, Publisher </p> <p> Co-ops are a jointly owned and managed business structure based on member cooperation rather than direct competition. Members share the organization&rsquo;s profits and benefits.</p> <p> The best known co-ops are Minnesota&rsquo;s oldest and largest co-ops like CHS, Land-O-Lakes and American Crystal Sugar. Co-ops regularly touch all Minnesotans lives yet most of us barely recognized their impact, much less their potential for growing Minnesota&rsquo;s economy.</p> <p> <strong>How do we use co-ops to help people create wealth, grow family stability and anchor communities? </strong></p> <p> <strong>How can we move from traditional co-ops to new uses?</strong></p> <p> Economic Development Fellow and international co-op expert Lee Egerstrom will join us today from 8-9:30 am.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:00:53 +0000 Discussion: First a Super Bowl, Then a World’s Fair! http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-first-a-super-bowl-then-a-worlds-fair http://mn2020.org/8600 <p> By John Van Hecke, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}John Van Hecke, Publisher </p> <p> From the MLB All-Star game to a youth soccer tournament to a dog show, public events, performances and gatherings are both entertainment and economic development. What is the public&rsquo;s return on investment?</p> <p> Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie proposes that Minnesota host a World&rsquo;s Fair, using the multi-month event to achieve transformative community and economic development.</p> <p> Planned correctly, advocates argue, a Minnesota World&rsquo;s Fair Expo could generate $10-15 billion in increased tourism spending alone.</p> <p> <strong>If we&rsquo;re willing to support a Super Bowl, why not a cultural-business-entertainment event built to last six months rather than six days?</strong></p> <p> This conversation is still open for you to jump in. Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie joined us on Tuesday morning to answer questions and offer more details about a Worlds fair in MN. Still have comments? Add them in!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:06:43 +0000 Invisible Women Workers, Right in Front of Our Eyes http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/invisible-women-workers-right-in-front-of-our-eyes http://mn2020.org/8571 <p> By John Van Hecke, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}John Van Hecke, Publisher </p> <p> Women dominate low-wage hospitality industry jobs and minimum wage and tip credit debates overwhelmingly impact women workers. They work invisibly, yet in plain sight.</p> <p> Work life&rsquo;s financial rewards most reluctantly accumulate to women. Women still earn 20% less than male counterparts for the same work.</p> <p> Minimum wage increases overwhelmingly affect women workers. Family childcare and eldercare responsibilities still force women to choose between caring for family and going to work.</p> <p> Invisibility makes discounting women workers&rsquo; contributions easier.</p> <p> In the 2014 Women&rsquo;s Economic Security Act, Minnesota took important steps to improve women&rsquo;s family and financial stability. It&rsquo;s an overdue step but it&rsquo;s not enough. What can Minnesota do to aid women workers and address long-term wage and working conditions inequity?</p> <p> <strong>How do we make invisible workers visible?</strong></p> <p> This conversation is open all day. Debra Fitzpatrick, Program Director of the University of Minnesota, Humphrey Institute&rsquo;s Center on Women and Public Policy, and home care worker,&nbsp;Jane Conrad have been contributing their wisdom to the conversation.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 11:25:17 +0000 Discussion: What does it mean to be a progressive patriot? http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-progressive-patriot http://mn2020.org/8516 <p> By John Van Hecke, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}John Van Hecke, Publisher </p> <p> Three days from now, Minnesota will kick back, celebrating Independence Day. From a policy perspective, we&rsquo;ve spent the last two years righting many policy wrongs. The economy is growing, school funding is up, MNsure enrollment surpassed expectations, and the Green Line LRT opened to 100,000-plus first weekend riders.</p> <p> We have much to celebrate. We also have much yet to do.</p> <p> Reversing Minnesota&rsquo;s conservative policy turn makes us, we believe, progressive patriots.</p> <p> <strong>What does progressive patriot mean to you? What is the patriot&rsquo;s responsibility and obligation to protect communities?</strong></p> <p> This discsussion is open all day. In addition, retired Metropolitan State University Professor Tom O&rsquo;Connell will join us from 8-9:30 am, as he reflects on these questions, poses more and listens to you.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 22:55:58 +0000 Discussion: Technology and Education http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-technology-and-education http://mn2020.org/8487 <p> By Michael Diedrich, Education Fellow </p> <p> How can we make sure technology is used productively in education?</p> <p> Minnesota school districts have made headlines with major classroom technology purchases. (In fact, the Saint Paul school board has a major vote on district-wide iPads scheduled for this evening.) Teachers have found many great ways to use technology to engage and help students, but classroom technology can also end up mostly unused if teachers are left unsupported.</p> <p> <strong>What technology challenges or successes has your school seen? </strong></p> <p> <strong>What advice would you give district and state decision-makers about the best ways to support technology in the classroom?</strong></p> <p> Join Minnesota 2020 Education Fellow Michael Diedrich and Brooklyn Center teacher Chris Porter today from 8-9:30 am with your questions about classroom technology policies. Share your stories and your perspectives online, all day.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Mon, 23 Jun 2014 21:41:59 +0000 Discussion: What’s next for transit in MN? http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-whats-next-for-transit-in-mn http://mn2020.org/8452 <p> By John Van Hecke, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}John Van Hecke, Publisher </p> <p> After fits and starts, Minnesota finally has a second light rail transit line. The Green Line, which opened over the weekend, will bring $2.5 billion in new private capital investment along the University Avenue corridor linking Minneapolis&rsquo;s and St. Paul&rsquo;s downtowns.</p> <p> Soon, the Southwest Corridor LRT project, moving people from downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie and stopping at major employer clusters, will join this growing network. Coordinating bus service further leverages transit system capacity, creating life-changing residential and user options.</p> <p> These modernized transit routes represent economic opportunity for the region. Yet, transit seems to be a partisan issues in Minnesota when it&rsquo;s not in states like Texas and Utah.</p> <p> <strong>What are the next steps for transit&rsquo;s expansion in Minnesota? What&rsquo;s standing in the way of better public transit policy and planning?</strong></p> <p> Join Transit for Livable Communities Executive Director Barb Thoman this Tuesday. From 8-9:30am, Barb will answer your questions and engage Minnesota transit&rsquo;s future.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&nbsp;Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 11:00:15 +0000 Q&amp;A on MN’s Role in EPA’s Carbon Cutting Proposal http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/qa-on-mns-role-in-epas-carbon-cutting-proposal http://mn2020.org/8423 <p> By Joe Sheeran, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}Joe Sheeran, Communications Director </p> <p> With newly proposed federal carbon pollution standards, Minnesota has a golden opportunity to prove itself as a clean energy leader. Recently the EPA <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-05/documents/20140602proposal-cleanpowerplan.pdf" target="_blank">proposed rules</a> that would have power plants cut carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030.</p> <p> Minnesota had already taken steps to ensure renewable energy accounted for 25% by 2025 with the 2007 Next Generation Energy Act. Seeing an opportunity to increase those standards in 2013, a broad coalition of environmental, community and labor groups pushed for a bolder carbon cutting measure. While the call for 40 percent renewable energy by 2030 didn&rsquo;t pass, it sent policymakers a strong signal.</p> <p> <strong>What will it take to live up to federal carbon cutting challenges?</strong></p> <p> <strong>What should Minnesotans do to show our leadership on this issue?</strong></p> <p> On Tuesday Fresh Energy&rsquo;s J. Drake Hamilton Science Policy Director joined us for a discussion about the new carbon cutting proposal and Minnesota&rsquo;s possible role. This conversation is still open for comments.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 10 Jun 2014 11:16:05 +0000 Discussion: Can Economic and Environmental Sustainability Live in Harmony on the Farm? http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-can-economic-and-environmental-sustainability-live-in-harmony-on http://mn2020.org/8387 <p> By Joe Sheeran, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}Joe Sheeran, Communications Director </p> <p> Environmentalists say that modern farming practices are destroying natural resources, specifically soil quality and clean water supplies. Some farmers fight back by either downplaying the farming practices&rsquo; environmental impact or by highlighting industry driven solutions they&rsquo;re participating in.</p> <p> This doesn&rsquo;t have to be an adversarial process. Farmers and environmentalists both deeply care about the land and water, but they come at the issue from differing cultural and economic perspectives.</p> <p> <strong>So what&rsquo;s the way forward for more sustainable agricultural -- economically and environmentally? </strong></p> <p> <strong>How do we collaborate to provide guidance for a new generation of farmers? </strong></p> <p> Join the discussion from 8:00-9:30 today with Mark Schultz from the Land Stewardship Project, a farm and rural organization, and members of the Sustainable Farming Association.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 11:00:52 +0000 Discussion: What’s driving the need for cheap college labor? http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-whats-driving-the-need-for-cheap-college-labor http://mn2020.org/8348 <p> By Joe Sheeran, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}Joe Sheeran, Communications Director </p> <p> It&rsquo;s a little known fact outside of academia, but an overwhelming majority of higher education instructors are adjunct faculty, generally making little more than $3,000-$4,000 per course. Nationally, nearly 80 percent of these teachers receive no health insurance through the college and rarely accrue retirement benefits. This is a dramatic shift from the early 1970s, when the majority of professors were full-time tenured or on a tenure track.</p> <p> Adjunct faculty at three Minnesota schools&mdash;Hamline, Macalester and St. Thomas&mdash;are currently trying to unionize in hopes of gaining more economic security.</p> <p> <strong>How can we balance delivering a high-quality education with ensuring all college employees are fairly compensated?</strong></p> <p> <strong>What&rsquo;s changing in education that&rsquo;s driving this increased reliance on meager faculty salary?</strong></p> <p> Today between 8-9:30, adjunct faculty members and a former college administrator, join us for a broad discussion on higher education finance.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&nbsp;Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 27 May 2014 11:00:51 +0000 Discussion: What should be done about segregation? http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-what-should-be-done-about-segregation http://mn2020.org/8329 <p> By Michael Diedrich, Education Fellow </p> <p> As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board, the Supreme Court case ending legal school segregation, we find <a href="http://www.law.umn.edu/uploads/16/65/1665940a907fdbe31337271af733353d/Charter-School-Update-2013-final.pdf" target="_blank">many Minnesota schools tend to be just as, if not more</a>, segregated than during the civil rights era.</p> <p> There are a number of reasons why, including systemic racism in housing policy and the self-selecting school choice movement.</p> <p> <strong>How important is this problem to educational outcomes? </strong></p> <p> <strong>What do you think should be done about it?</strong></p> <p> Join our education policy fellow, Michael Diedrich, for a discussion about the impacts of and reasons behind school segregation.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 20 May 2014 11:00:38 +0000 Q&amp;A: Preventing a Minnesota Water Crisis http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/qa-preventing-a-minnesota-water-crisis http://mn2020.org/8299 <p> By Joe Sheeran, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}Joe Sheeran, Communications Director </p> <p> We usually take for granted that the Land of 10,000 Lakes will have plenty of clean water available for drinking, boating, and fishing. In some pockets of the state, however, clean, abundant water has become scarce. One of the metro area&rsquo;s largest lakes is drying up, aquatic life statewide suffers from agricultural runoff, and southwest Minnesota doesn&rsquo;t have enough water to meet certain demands.</p> <p> Several bills in legislature right now will determine whether or not we make progress in addressing these water concerns.</p> <p> <strong>What more should all Minnesotans do to prevent a water sustainability crisis?</strong></p> <p> <strong>How can we engage more than just advocates and researchers to bring mainstream attention to declining water resources?</strong></p> <p> This is an all-day conversation. Trevor Russell, from the Friends of the Mississippi, joined us this morning for a Q&amp;A on the latest from the capitol about protecting Minnesota&rsquo;s water resources.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Post your comments or questions in the box below, scroll down to see the ongoing conversation, and use &quot;refresh&quot; to see new comments.</strong></p> Tue, 13 May 2014 11:00:37 +0000 Discussion: MN Progressive Policy, What’s Next? http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/Discussion/discussion-mn-progressive-policy-whats-next http://mn2020.org/8275 <p> By Joe Sheeran, {related_entries id="article_author_blogger"}Joe Sheeran, Communications Director </p> <p> How close is MN to a progressive utopia?</p> <p> In the last two years, with progressive state policy leadership, we&rsquo;ve moved forward faster than anyone could have imagined, especially after the Pawlenty years. We now have a fairer tax system, better school funding, all-day kindergarten, a strong anti-bullying policy, marriage equality, a higher minimum wage indexed to inflation, and we&rsquo;re about to make a major investment in our state&rsquo;s infrastructure.</p> <p> We&rsquo;re still far from a progressive utopia. After all, Seattle just passed a $15 minimum wage. So what&rsquo;s next?</p> <p> <strong>Share your ideas! Which policy areas remain largely unaddressed in Minnesota?</strong></p> <p> Minnesota 2020 staff and writers will stop by to share some of their own ideas. The discussion continues all day.</p> Tue, 06 May 2014 11:00:18 +0000