Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton is making important progress toward building a Better Minnesota. Measuring that progress by the improvements Minnesotans have seen in their lives, families, communities, and economy, the Dayton Administration is taking inventory of what has been accomplished thus far, and considering the work that still remains to be done.
One crucial measure of that progress is ensuring the safety of Minnesotans, which is one of the most important functions of state government. Our quality of life depends on the safety of our homes and communities. Governor Dayton is committed to improving safety on or roadways, in our workplaces, and in our neighborhoods. Governor Dayton is working to reduce the incidence of violent crime in our communities, keep drunk drivers off the road, and ensure that emergency personnel have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively.
The Department of Public Safety has launched several new programs to keep drunk drivers off the road in Minnesota.
The Triple Check program is designed to ensure that Minnesota does not issue a license to anyone with an active record of drunk driving in other states. To date, the program has prevented almost 15,000 drunk drivers from unlawfully obtaining a driver’s license in Minnesota.
The Ignition Interlock program requires convicted drunk drivers to prove they are sober with a breath test before their car will start. Nearly 2,900 drunk drivers are currently enrolled in Ignition Interlock, with 289 drivers successfully completing the program.
The MPCA is a major partner of Clean Air Minnesota’s Project Green Fleet (PGF). Since it began in 2005, PGF has worked with school districts and school bus fleet operators to retrofit buses with Diesel Oxidation Catalysts and closed crankcase filtration systems.
After two years in office, Governor Mark Dayton is continuing to make important progress toward building a Better Minnesota.
One crucial measure of that progress is improving the health of Minnesotans, which is essential to a high quality of life in Minnesota. Governor Dayton is pursuing a variety of strategies to improve the health of individuals, families, and communities across our state, including increasing access to high quality, affordable health insurance and promoting strong community health programs. The Dayton Administration is focused on improving the quality of life for all Minnesotans, and lowering the cost of health care in our great state of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has worked to reduce diesel emission in school buses, snowplows, fire trucks, and other large vehicles. Emissions retrofits on school buses alone have improved air quality for nearly 85,000 kids in 91 school districts statewide.
In 2012, MPCA focused on reducing diesel emission in long-haul semi-trucks. At current fuel prices, retrofits made to 282 vehicle engines, and reduced idling on 155 trucks, will save trucking companies $600,000 each year in fuel costs. Health benefits derived from these emissions reductions are estimated to total $123.5 million.
Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon recently visited the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minnesota and experienced the full-workings of the facility, including a tour, safety and survival skills training. The visit culminated in a ride in an F-16 Fighter Jet. The Lieutenant Governor donned an anti-gravity suit, or G suit, and rode in the F16, experiencing complex aerial maneuvers – even taking the wheel at one point.
The Lieutenant Governor said she was impressed with “the precision, expertise and professional capabilities of both ground and air personnel” and that she feels “confident that Minnesota has a superior National Guard”.
National cyber security experts and technology business leaders gathered Oct. 9 and 10 at the Minneapolis Convention Center for the second annual Cyber Security Summit.
Earlier this month, Governor Dayton joined governors from across the country when he declared October as Cyber Security Awareness Month to highlight the importance of empowering citizens, businesses, government and schools to improve their cyber security preparedness.
To help kick off the month, the State of Minnesota took part in the 2012 Cyber Security Summit, which brings together leaders from the government, business, and non-profit sectors to collaborate on improving digital security. The event featured speakers from all over the world sharing their insights on cyber topics – from the industry’s enormous growth potential (it’s expected to increase by nearly 80% over the next few years) to the growing pervasiveness of cyber threats (approximately $3 trillion of innovation lost by cyber-attacks each year).
Minnesota Department of Public of Safety Encourages Teens to Buckle Up. Photo Credit State Farm
Teens, here’s your chance to finally go viral: Students in grades 9–12 can produce a 30-second TV public service announcement promoting the importance of buckling up or the dangers of distracted driving. The top teen will win $1,000 and their spot will air during the MTV Video Music Awards in 2013. Cash prizes awarded by AAA.
Deadline for Buckle Up and Pay Attention, Teens! entries is April 15, 2013. Check out the rules, find tips and view previous contest-winning spots online.
Driver inexperience, risk-taking behavior, distractions, nighttime driving and seat belt non-use are the leading reasons traffic crashes are the leading killer of teens. Parents are encouraged to provide supervised driving experience for their teen in a variety of conditions and road types, especially during the first year of licensure. Parents may also use a teen driver contract to establish road rules, reinforce the laws and follow through with consequences.
A rider on Minnesota’s newest mountain biking trail at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area
Ask any Minnesotan—even those who don’t bicycle much—and chances are they’ll know that the State of Minnesota and the City of Minneapolis are consistently ranked among the top bike-friendly locations across the nation. But what many Minnesotans—especially those who don’t bicycle much—probably don’t know is that there is a great resource available online that is dedicated to Minnesota bicycling.
Pedal Minnesota is the result of a partnership between a wide range of Minnesota groups and government agencies, all centered on the goal of getting Minnesotans pedaling. The site features a map of trails and bike-friendly roads (as well as worthwhile locations like bike shops, parks, and food/lodging) across the state; a list of resources for individuals, communities, and businesses; a page highlighting the many bike events occurring across Minnesota; and a “Pedal Central” blog, featuring articles on all aspects of Minnesota biking, such as tips on keeping cool while bicycling this summer.
In recognition of the important role that bicycling plays in Minnesota—economically, recreationally, and as a form of transportation—Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed last May to be Minnesota Bike Month, in an effort to also promote further efforts for bike safety. Last October was also proclaimed to be Safe Routes to School Month by Governor Dayton, in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Health (a PedalMN partner), to promote the positive health and academic benefits that accompany students who make a habit of walking or bicycling to school each day.
An exhibit on E-Waste presented by the MPCA at the 2011 Minnesota State Fair as part of their Eco Experience facility.
In a world increasingly dependent on smartphones and laptops, the issue of responsibly disposing of these electronics is becoming more and more pressing. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) reports that in the last year, Minnesota took in nearly 33 million pounds of electronic waste for recycling, making Minnesota a national leader in collections of e-waste for recycling.
What is electronic waste? E-waste, as it’s called, is what’s created when electronic materials are disposed. This can include cellphones, computers, printers, televisions, digital cameras, etc., and as technology continues to advance and we continue to upgrade our devices, the amount of e-waste we produce continues to rise as well.
Unlike throwing away a piece of paper, however, disposing of electronics can have a huge impact on the environment and on our health; e-waste contains high levels of lead, cadmium, and other chemicals that can pollute the ground and water supply if they aren’t properly disposed of. Electronic waste should always be taken to certified recycling facilities that are trained to manage these hazardous chemicals.
As we celebrate our history and take pride in our nation this July 4th, the Dayton Administration and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) encourage Minnesotans to take extra care and caution while behind the wheel.
In Minnesota, July 4th has been the deadliest day on the road for the last three years, resulting in 15 traffic deaths over the 24-hour period. “The spike in drinking and driving deaths during the Fourth of July is a clear and simple reminder why Minnesotans need to plan ahead for a sober ride” says Donna Berger, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety. During the holiday travel period, 66 percent of traffic deaths are a result of drunk driving.
With a stated mission “to create a culture for which traffic fatalities and serious injuries are no longer acceptable,” The DPS, along with the Departments of Health and Transportation, the State Patrol, and others, have started the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) initiative which works through “education, engineering, enforcement, and emergency medical and trauma services” to improve road safety for Minnesota citizens.
Seniors are the targets of financial fraud every day. To prevent the elderly from falling victim to financial fraud, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has joined in the fight against elder investment fraud through their training program “Preventing Elderly Investment Fraud” on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day that focused on prevention through education.
Many seniors become susceptible to investment fraud and financial exploitation because of age-related factors, illnesses and cognitive impairment. It is crucial that the elder populations are protected from investment fraud because senior citizens control nearly 70 percent of the nation’s wealth. According to a 2010 Investor Protection Trust (IPT) Elder Fraud Survey, one out of every five citizens over the age of 65 has already been victimized by a financial swindle.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce recognizes the vulnerability of seniors and through their training program addressed the need to educate health care providers about how to prevent seniors from falling victim to investment fraud. Health care providers are key in the detection and prevention of elder abuse, therefore providers need instruction on how to spot and report fraud and financial abuse within the elderly and vulnerable adult populations.