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GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

State lawmakers are set to return to the Capitol on Monday, Jan. 31, and will face a variety of issues. Here's what you need to know.
Lawmakers didn't know until December that they'd have several extra billion dollars to sort out ... now it's the biggest topic of conversation at the Capitol.
The County Board approved the use of $1,930,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds toward a number of capital improvement projects already planned for this year during its Tuesday, Jan. 25, meeting.
Of the 12.5 miles to be added to the system, half will be newly constructed trails, while the other half will use existing undesignated and unmanaged forest trails already open to ATV use.

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Included in the Zoom call was Paul Preimesberger, dean of enrollment management and student success at Central Lakes College.
The governor said the prohibition of marijuana hasn't worked for Minnesota, and the state should instead seek to harness its economic benefits and allow law enforcement to focus on violent crime. Walz's proposal to legalize marijuana recommends funding for a new Cannabis Management Office, grants for business owners, and education programs. It also calls for a tax on marijuana and expungement of nonviolent offenses involving marijuana.
At the current rate of increase, the most likely scenario shows the office should expect as many as 600 mental health calls a year by 2025.
Senate Republicans on Wednesday laid out their top priorities for the 2022 legislative session: tax cuts, combatting crime and boosting student literacy.
Extending participation in the party to people typically excluded from the political process is the culmination of a six-year effort according to DFL Chairman Ken Martin, who said he first started pushing for the change in 2016.
Journalists from around the state will be able to pose questions to the state's top leaders during the virtual news conference on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

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City Attorney Brad Person drafted a memo regarding the council’s legal standing in response to a Baxter resident who brought his concerns to the council.
Renters seeking up to 18 months in rent support have until 9 p.m. Jan. 28 to complete their applications for state assistance.
The governor announced the plan Tuesday as part of his priorities for Minnesota's $7.75 billion budget surplus.

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