At Issue: Feb. 4 – Super Bowl LII; New Health Commissioner; MNLARS Funding

February 04, 2018 10:51 PM


This week on "At Issue," Richard Davis, executive chairman of U.S. Bank and one of the Co-chairs of the Super Bowl Host Committee, stopped by to talk about the Super Bowl and related festivities.


He says it's a real show-off moment for Minnesota, the planning for which began a few years ago but really picked up steam in the past year.

Even though it's been cold, Super Bowl LIVE on Nicollet Mall has been busy with fans every day and night. Concerts have been taking  place all week long outdoors on the mall.

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Armory opened its doors for its first major concert on Thursday, when Imagine Dragons took the stage.

Organizers hope the 10,000-person venue has a nightclub feel. Pink performed on Friday, and Jennifer Lopez on Saturday.


A new person is in charge at the Minnesota Department of Health.

Gov. Mark Dayton made the announcement this week that Jan Malcolm will take over. The move comes after former commissioner Ed Ehlinger stepped down after reports about substantial backlogs in dealing with complaints about nursing home abuse.

Malcolm has held the position before, under then Gov. Jesse Ventura, from 1999 to 2003.

Dayton said Malcolm has a track record of turning around health organizations that are doing good work but need improvement on the administrative end.



State officials say they need a lot more money to make corrections to the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System, or MNLARS.

Top project managers say they need another $43 million to get MNLARS on track this year after a tumultuous rollout of the new computer system this past summer. Since then, the system has been plagued by glitches.

Officials say if state lawmakers don't approve the funds, they won't be able to get high priority fixes done until the end of 2020, which could complicate everything from license tab renewal to obtaining a driver's license.

Some Republican lawmakers say MNLARS is being held for ransom, and likened the situation to a giant road rodeo.

"At Issue" analysts weighed in on the situation.

Former DFL Party Chair Mike Erlandson says the program is becoming a political football.

Annette Meeks with the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota says Minnesota should join the six other states that are suing the contractor before approving the additional funding.



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