A gift card? As the session gets under way in St. Paul, the first bills responding to Target’s data problems are seeing light. An AP/PiPress collaboration says: “The theft late last year of financial and personal data from millions of customers is a driving force behind a bill that a Minnesota House commerce committee was discussing Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. … Notification must occur within 48 hours of discovery of the breach. Victims of data theft also must be offered free credit monitoring for one year. And individuals whose data were compromised would be entitled to a $100 gift card that is valid for at least one year.”
Here’s Don Davis of the Forum News Service on the impact of election year on the session: “With the House up for election, it appears to be up to [Speaker Paul] Thissen to temper expectations from liberal DFL activists, many of whom want more taxes and more spending in a variety of areas. More taxes and spending could alienate voters who tend to be moderates. The House and Senate transportation finance chairmen recently proposed two new taxes: a motor fuel sales tax and another one on crude oil transported through Minnesota. Thissen tried to squelch talk of either tax, at least for this year.”
Like a scene out of “Fargo” … Paul Walsh’s Strib story says: “A violent encounter between two men and a sheriff’s deputy in western Minnesota has left the men dead, a gun recovered nearby, and the deputy virtually unscathed thanks to his bulletproof vest. … One of them shot the deputy in the chest, a shot that was stopped by the deputy’s bulletproof vest. The deputy returned fire as the vehicle sped away. The vehicle became stuck in the snow, and the men then fled on foot. Authorities discovered the men, both dead, not far away near an outbuilding.”
Wrong way … John Flesher of the AP writes: “One of the few remaining gray wolves of Isle Royale National Park has been found dead after escaping to the mainland across a Lake Superior ice bridge, a scientist said Tuesday.”
The Great Tweeting Scandal hasn’t disappeared from view quite yet … Says Paul Levy in the Strib: “The last parent to take the podium at Monday night’s Elk River school board meeting captured the sentiments of many in the overflow crowd: Why couldn’t the punishment for a two-word post fit the crime? … Filling two rooms at Elk River City Hall and including nearly 100 teachers, Eicher and others were anxious to weigh in on the district’s seven-week suspension of a Rogers High student … . They waited outside in the cold for more than an hour for the City Hall doors to open and many said they were puzzled by the district’s response.”
This family has taken a hit … Madeleine Baran of MPR reports: “The mother of the boys abused by the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer no longer ends her days with a silent prayer. … It’s been nearly two years since she learned that two of her sons were abused by Wehmeyer and that one of the boys, in turn, sexually abused his 5-year-old twin sisters. Last year, a third son told her that he, too, had been abused by the priest. One of the boys, she also learned, abused an additional sibling. In all, six of her nine children have been sexually abused either by Wehmeyer or each other, she said.”
The weather news is all good … if you’re a damn polar bear. At MPR, Craig Edwards writes: “There is significant water in the deep snow pack. One observer reported more than 5 inches of water equivalent in northeast Minnesota in a post on Facebook on Monday. … We are on track in the Twin Cities to move up the standings with days of sub zero this winter. The streak of sub zero days is expected to extend to Monday.”
Good … very good … From Watford City, N.D., Amy Dalrymple of the Forum News Service says: “Officials here are calling on the state to take action after a stockpile of oilfield waste was discovered in rural McKenzie County dripping crude oil and other contaminants onto the ground. … Filter socks, which look like large tube socks and are used in saltwater disposal wells to filter out the solids, contain naturally occurring radioactive material. The waste cannot be accepted at municipal landfills and it often contains radiation levels that require it to be hauled out of state.” Where exactly … “out of state”?
At least one writer at Forbes likes what she sees in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential prospects. Says Carrie Sheffield: “He reformed public sector unions and helped turned a $3.6 billion state budget deficit into a more than half-billion dollar surplus … . Of the many potential 2016 Republican candidates for U.S. president, Walker stands out as most thoroughly vetted. He weathered vicious attacks during his successful union fight and became the only governor in American history to survive an electoral recall.” It’s as wet as kisses get.