The Pulse: Citizens League Issues Scan

"The Pulse", the Citizens League issue scan looks at topics of interest to members of the Citizens League (

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Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Friday, May 09, 2003
Energy and the Environment. Minnesota ranks high for per capita energy-efficiency program spending. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Minneosra ranks 11th out of the fifty states for per capity energy-efficiency program spending. The spending is at a level of more than $10 per person. Our neighbors of Wisconsin and Iowa are ranked 7th and 13th respectively. North Dakota ranked 19, while it's southern neighbor ranked 38th. (348)

Thursday, May 08, 2003
Demographics. State's median age to peak in 2040. The state's demographic office recently announced that the state's median age is expected to peak in the year 2040 at 40.9 years. The population will increase to more than 7 million by 2060. By 2060, the Minnesota population of people 65 and older is expected to almost triple the current level. The full demographic report, "Long-term Illustrative Population Projections for Minnesota" is available at (347)

Thursday, May 01, 2003
Technology. Minnesota "state food" banned in one state, probably in more. That's right, Minnesota's own "spam" (although not the delicious pork product, but rather the unsolicited e-mail) is illegal in Virginia and set to be come illegal in Arizon. Commercial or bulk e-mail, the new tool for businesses to attract customers is better at frustrating citizens whose inboxes get filled with the unwanted e-mails. Now, Arizon is set to make the disrtibution of "spam" a misdemeanor while it is a felony in Virginia. The Arizon bill carries some heafty penalties if the spammer is caught: fines of $10 per message or $25,000 (whichever is less) for individuals or $10 per message or or $25,000 for internet providers (whichever is greater). (346)

Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Public Service Delivery. Rent vouchers may be a thing of the past President Bush is proposing a new plan to provide housing assistance to the poor by replacing the rent voucher system with a new system of blok grants which will be operated by the states. Under the plan, the states will get a lump payment to use for housing vochers, but the states will have greater administrative authority over the programs. This will permit the possible combination of housign and welfare policies. Administration officials state it will be easier for the department to administer the funds to the states rather than deal with the 2,500 housing agencies across the nation. (346)

Monday, April 28, 2003
The Economy. States get $437 million from Wallstreet settlement. In a recent settlement from conbflict-of-interest charge against Wallstreet analysts is expected to net the states $437 million; most of the settlement will go to the states and will help with the budget shortfalls. The funds will be divided up among the states based on population, so California will be the big winner with a settlement of about $42 million. The smallest states will receive the least. Although this will come nowhere near solving Minnesota's shortfall, it will be a part of the solution. For more information, go to (345)

Friday, April 25, 2003
Transportation. U.S. Highways deadliest in 12 years. A recent report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced that the 2002 accident deathtoll across the nation was the highest in 12 years. An estimated 42,850 people were killed in auto accidents last year, an increase of 734 from 2001. More than half of the increase is attributed to rollover crashes involving SUVs and pickup trucks. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for individuals ages 1 to 65. Two problem swere leading casues of the fatalities: 59 percent of deaths are attributed to lack of seatbelt use, while 42 percent were alcohol related.

Motorcycle deaths are also on the climb with 3,276 in 2002, a 3 percent increase. The number of motorcycle deaths for those age 50 and older rose 24 percent. Many critics attribute the increase in motorcycle deaths to the increase in riders not using helmets as a result of many states abolishing mandatory helmet laws. Sue Ferguson of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says, "Helmet use drops by 50 percent when the laws go." (344)