Gov. Mark Dayton is holding a town hall meeting today in Isle, Minn. to discuss the needs of resort owners of Lake Mille Lacs. The DNR is closing the walleye season early due to low numbers of fish in the lake. Dayton is advocating a special session to address the economic woes of the resort owners, writes MPR News reporter Tom Scheck.

DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk agrees a working group should be formed to discuss the walleye situation on Mille Lacs. But he also supports Dayton’s call for a special session. Bakk disagrees with the notion that state government should not help area businesses. He said the Legislature helps other industries, including taconite workers on the Iron Range, farmers and turkey producers.

“We’re creating less volume in business traffic, so I think we have some obligation,” Bakk said. “It’s kind of like if we took a road out and you can’t access your business any longer. There’s a process, through the Legislative Coordinating Commission, where a business can come and look for relief in those kind of situations, and they do.”

Bakk said the details of public assistance have to be worked out, but it could likely include zero-interest loans, tourism promotion and property tax relief.

Dayton, too, defended the idea of providing state help to resort owners. A recent economic survey of Mille Lacs County showed that 22 percent of the workforce is in the leisure and tourism industry. That’s second only to education and health services.

Today’s Question: Should Minnesota provide relief for Lake Mille Lacs resort owners?

6 comments • Add yours →

Amnesty International will meet next week in Dublin to debate a proposal that prostitution is a human right.

The Guardian editorializes against the proposition:

Amnesty is arguing that prostitution is a matter of free choice, a stance heavily promoted by the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry. The group is putting forth the view that sex work is compatible with the principle of gender equality and nondiscrimination, as if it were a job like any other.

“By definition,” Amnesty’s proposal states, “sex work means that sex workers who are engaging in commercial sex have consented to do so.” This definition fails to take into account the dire economic need, the childhood sexual abuse, the brutal coercion employed by pimps, and the vast power differences of sex and race that drive the commercial sex industry.

Amnesty contends that “such conditions do not inevitably render individuals incapable of exercising personal agency”. This argument ignores the reality for the vast majority of individuals exploited by the commercial sex industry. When United Nations personnel trade food for sex, these transactions – called “survival sex” – might technically be consensual, but can hardly be considered examples of free will. Almost all prostitution is some form of survival sex. There is no choice in the absence of the freedom to choose otherwise.

Today’s Question: Do you agree with Amnesty International’s proposal that prostitution is a human right?

27 comments • Add yours →

The U.S. Senate is on the verge of making changes to the time and type of criminals that the country incarcerates, reports the New York Times.

As senators work to meld several proposals into one bill, one important change would be to expand the so-called safety-valve provisions that give judges discretion to sentence low-level drug offenders to less time in prison than the required mandatory minimum term if they meet certain requirements.

Another would allow lower-risk prisoners to participate in recidivism programs to earn up to a 25 percent reduction of their sentence. Lawmakers would also like to create more alternatives for low-level drug offenders. Nearly half of all current federal prisoners are serving sentences for drug crimes.

Today’s Question: Do you support reducing the sentences of drug offenders?

12 comments • Add yours →