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March 24, 2015 - Issue 12

MNA Legislative Report - March 24, 2015  


The frenzy surrounding the arrival of the first committee deadline at the Capitol—which was last Friday, March 20—has now passed, but the second committee deadline is already this coming Friday.  So the pace in St. Paul remains fairly hectic.
 
MNA’s main legislative focus continues to be on a few key bills that are of broad importance to our members, including ones that would clarify where mortgage foreclosure notices should be published, and that would restore publication of unclaimed property notices covering property held by the state.  As always, we are working on a variety of public access issues as well.
 
Mortgage Foreclosure Notice Publication. The bill (SF 1147/HF 953) that would add a provision to state foreclosure law specifying where foreclosure notices should be published surmounted two important hurdles last week.  On Thursday evening, the measure was approved by the House Civil Law Committee, and on Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed the bill.  As a result, the legislation has met both the first and second committee deadlines and now moves on to the floor of both bodies for final action.  The bill provoked little discussion and no controversy in either the House or Senate committees.  We want to again sincerely thank the chief authors for their efforts on this bill, Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell) in the House, and Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) in the Senate.
 
Unclaimed Property Notices.  Legislation that would restore some publication of notices containing the names of those who have unclaimed property held by the state was heard and approved last week in the House Commerce Committee, and it therefore met the first committee deadline as well.  The bill is SF 1645/HF 1693; chief authors are Sen. Jim Metzen (DFL-South St. Paul) and Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights).  The Senate version of the bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday of this week. 
 
Other Public Notice Bills.  At this juncture, it does not appear that any other bills seriously affecting the publication of public notices will be considered this session.  However, there is no certainty until the session adjourns in May, so something could still happen, with several weeks remaining in the 2015 session.
 
Freedom of Information Issues.  Over the past several days, MNA’s legislative representatives have also been actively engaged with a number of bills that could affect access to records and open meetings. 
 
Body Camera Data.  Among the bills is legislation that would address the treatment of audio and video data collected by body cameras used by law enforcement agencies.  The more this topic has been debated during the session, the more its complexity has been revealed.  As a result, MNA currently takes the view that no legislation comprehensively dealing with the classification of body camera data should be attempted this year because the chances are too high that the topic isn’t fully understood yet. 
 
The current Senate version of the bill—SF 498—would impose a broad private data classification covering most body camera data.  MNA’s has testified against this approach, but our concerns haven’t obtained much evident traction in the Senate yet, as a number of strong interests favor extensive privacy protections, including groups representing law enforcement officers.  However, in the House, the bill (HF 430) hasn’t received a hearing and probably won’t by the second deadline at the end of this week. That doesn’t mean the bill is dead for the session, though its prospects for passage would be reduced if it isn’t heard.  
 
Addresses on Birth Certificates.  Another open records issue that just popped up last Friday during a hearing on SF 1818 is contained in an amendment adopted by the Judiciary Committee that would prohibit public access to the home addresses and certain other information about the parents of newborns shown on birth certificates.  Birth certificates have always been publically accessible, but the proponents of the amendment contend that access to the home addresses in particular is being used for improper purposes.  MNA’s legislative representatives are attempting to determine if this particular restriction on access could pose a problem for journalists.
 
Public Employee Relations Board.  One other issue that has percolated over the last few days involves a new public body created last year by the Legislature, called the Public Employee Relations Board, or PERB.  Its purpose is to deal with labor relations disputes involving public employee unions.  PERB is now pursuing legislation that would exempt the board from the Open Meeting Law when addressing certain narrow issues unique to the board’s jurisdiction.  MNA has some concerns about the proposal, and is working with PERB representatives in an effort to strike a compromise on the proposed restrictions. The bill is SF 1794/HF 1918. 
 
The full spectrum of legislative issues that MNA is working on this year can be found on the MNA legislative bill tracking list, which is available at MNA’s website.  It summarizes the nature of each bill, and also provides the bill numbers, chief authors, and status in the House and Senate.
 
If you do have any comments, questions, or suggestions about any bill of interest to MNA and its members—especially those involving mortgage foreclosure notice publication and birth certificate access as described above—please let us know.  Only with your regular input can we be fully confident that we are best advancing the interests of our members. 

Download the current Legislative Bill Status Report

It's Here! 2015 Pohlad Internship Program

MNA is excited to announce the 11th year of the Pohlad Internship Program. Thanks to a generous grant from the Pohlad Family Foundation, MNA is pleased to once again provide members with a program that will help reduce the costs associated with hiring high school-aged summer in-terns. In 2014, we placed 65 interns at member newspapers.

How the program works:

  • You choose a high school student, age 16-19, who will work for your newspaper in any aspect of the business half-time for 10 weeks; recent high school graduates are eligible.
  • Complete an enrollment form stating that you will hire a high school intern and wish to participate in the Summer Youth Employment subsidy program. Forms are available on the MNA website, and can be submitted by mail, fax, or email.
  • College students and relatives of newspaper staff do not qualify for this program.
  • The Pohlad Family Foundation requires that newspapers pay a portion of the intern’s wage to ensure a strong commitment from the participants and recommends an hourly wage of $8.00/hour for interns participating in the program.

Download 2015 Program Application
Download Frequently Asked Questions

V
isit our website for more information and for a 2015 recap...

Sunshine Week 2015


This year, the Minnesota Newspaper Association teamed up with the Minnesota Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists to celebrate Sunshine Week across the state of Minnesota.

Sunshine Week 2015 was last week. An annual event, Sunshine Week calls on journalists to shed light on issues of open government and have conversations with their readers about the importance of open and transparent government, whether that government body is a municipality or a large federal agency.

This year we encouraged local media to look into the increasing amount of public work that is being done by private organizations. 

Sunshine week audit by St. Cloud Times:
Stearns contracts for more than 60 services
Editorial: Don't let technology cloud the sunshine

Column from the St. Peter Herald:
Go ahead, take closed government personally

Editorial from the Shakopee Valley News:
Keeping public business in the open

Redwood Falls Gazette:
Don Landgren cartoon about Sunshine Week

Star Tribune:
On Sunshine Week, a salute to data sharers

Alexandria Echo Press column: 
Celebrate Sunshine Week and your right to know

From the Associated Press:
Sunshine Week spotlights how public is kept in the dark
In e-world, public information disappears despite laws

Send us a link to your Sunshine Week story and we'll feature it next week! Email sarah@mna.org

1st Quarter MCAN/2x2 Tracking Forms Due by April 1st

The 1st quarter tracking information for 2015 is due back by Wednesday, April 1st.

The forms were emailed to ALL participating members earlier this year.

If you did not get the form, CLICK HERE to download the form from the MNA website.

MNA Public Notice Site Training

 
In 2014, MNA successfully launched mnpublicnotice.com an online clearinghouse – an aggregate collection – of Minnesota public notices. Many MNA-member newspapers are up and running on the site, posting public notices weekly - or more often - on the 
site.
 
At the MNA Convention, MNA Program Director Sarah Bauer lead two sessions for attendees, giving a tour of the site, and providing a hands-on tutorial of the notice-posting process. 

If you've just signed up or are interested in getting started, MNA will provide training and support. We are available to answer questions and walk you through the process of posting your notices. Please contact Sarah Bauer to set up training for you or your staff - there are a variety of options, in person, by phone or Google Hangout. 

Our goal is to have 100% participation by MNA member newspapers and we're getting closer every day. Please sign up today, or give us a call to learn more about the site.

Continue reading and sign up today!

2015 Midwest Journalism Conference

The Midwest Journalism Conference is fast approaching, and the conference planning group has been hard at work planning a great conference for 2015.  Click here to preview the conference schedule and information. Registration information, forms and much, much more can be found on the conference site: www.midwestjournalism.com.  

A  block of rooms has been reserved at the Crowne Plaza MSP Airport Mall of America for conference attendees.  Rooms are only $105.  To ensure that you get the promotional conference rate, please click on the link below and reserve your room by March 17.  Attendees staying at the hotel will enjoy a conference registration discount.

Click here to reserve your hotel room.

Click here for more information or to register.

Sponsored Contests: Enhance your newspaper's visibility


Thursday, April 2 
10:00 a.m.

About the program: 
Sponsored contests are a low-cost, low-effort way to increase visibility for both your newspaper and your sponsors. In this session, learn how the Brentwood (CA) Press & Publishing Co. has used a variety of contests – both print and online – to add value for its clients; and learn how you too can put sponsored contests into play at your paper. 

Leading the Discussion: 
HOST - Stan Schwartz, National Newspaper Association 
GUEST STAR - Michele Chatburn, Brentwood (CA) Press & Publishing Co.

Registration fee: $30, Register by Monday, March 30 
(Registrations submitted after this date are subject to a $10 late fee)

PUB AUX LIVE, featuring revenue-generating ideas for community newspapers, is brought to you by The National Newspaper Association, in partnership with the Iowa Newspaper Foundation.

Register online now

Learn Valuable Skills for your Newsroom in Upcoming Webinars!


Check out upcoming webinars from Online Media Campus!

THURSDAY! Successful Interviewing in Emotional Situations

Thursday, March 26
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

They are upset.

  • At what just happened that changed their lives.
  • At themselves.
  • At someone else.
  • At you.
  • At anyone.


And you have to interview them.

This webinar can give you tips on how to handle sensitive interviews that even you might rather not have to do, but which are necessary to do your job.

More information and register...

Mobile Video Editing

Thursday, April 9
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Short, timely video is in high demand at all media companies.

Video editing on mobile or on a computer is an important skill for telling good stories. In this 60-minute session, you will learn to quickly edit short form news and entertainment videos using iMovie for iOS8 on the iPhone or iPad.

No matter what device you have or how you plan to edit your video, this session will teach you the most efficient way to edit video stories for multiple platforms.

More information and register...


If you have news to share in the MNA Tradewinds,
please email us: member@mna.org.


Jordan Independent welcomes new editor
Rachel Wittrock has joined the staff of the Jordan Independent as the new editor. Wittrock graduated with a degree in print journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2010. She began her career as a reporter with the Sun Prairie Star in June of 2010, and served as the paper’s associate editor from April of 2011 until August of 2013. For the past 18 months, she has been employed as a reporter with the Edgerton Reporter, a weekly publication in southern Wisconsin. More...
 


Member Classifieds


Education/Health Reporter
The Bemidji Pioneer, a Forum Communications Company six-day daily newspaper, is seeking an experienced education/health reporter who also can fill in when the editor is absent. More...

STAFF WRITER/NEWS EDITOR
Full-time reporter/photographer/editor needed for Dassel-Cokato newspaper. Duties include top responsibility for all local coverage – meetings, features, events, etc.  More...

Advertising Account Executive
We’re looking for the right candidate to join our dynamic, integrated, world-class sales team and help businesses reach their customers. More...

Publishing for Sale: MN & SD
Publishing for sale in Minnesota and South Dakota. Photos available. More...

Weekly Newspapers For Sale
Strong Weekly and Companion Shopper in Southern Minnesota near Rochester, MN. This one is set to grow with the vibrant economy in the region. More...

Editor
The Montevideo American News is looking for an energetic, hard-working, creative and dedicated person to lead our news team as the editor. More...

Community Journalist
We’re looking for a talented journalist to join an award winning newspaper staff. More...

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Upcoming Events


Check out upcoming training events from the Local Media Association
Discounted rates for MNA Members!

Successful Interviewing in Emotional Situations
March 26 | 1-2 p.m.

Mobile Video Editing
April 9 | 1-2 p.m.

MNA Board Meeting
April 9-10

Midwest Journalism Conference
April 10-11

Editors & Publishers Community Leadership Program Retreat
April 16-18

Out-Servicing the Competition: Adding value for your customers
April 23 | 1-2 p.m.

International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors Conference
June 24-28
MNA/MNI Event Calendar
MNA/MNI Event Calendar
MNA Member Classifieds
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