Well … Amy Forliti of the AP reports: “The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed the convictions of a former nurse accused of encouraging two people whom he met online to kill themselves. The court ruled that the language in the state’s assisted-suicide law that pertains to ‘encouraging’ suicide is unconstitutional. However, it upheld the part of the law that bans ‘assisting’ suicide. … [William] Melchert-Dinkel, 51, was convicted on two counts of aiding suicide in the deaths of two people: Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England, who hanged himself in 2005; and Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario, who jumped into a frozen river in 2008.”
In the Marshall Independent, Per Peterson writes about the family pushing for tougher DUI laws: “Some 20 months after her five-month-old boy was killed by a drunk driver, Heather Bigler stood inside the State Office Building at the Capitol as a bill designed to come down harder on repeat DWI offenders was introduced to the public. … The bill, named ‘Drake’s Law’ after Heather and Brad’s son, would increase the maximum sentence for criminal vehicular homicide occurring within 10 years of a previous qualifying DWI offense.”
How much is your time worth? Don Davis of the Forum News Service says: “Local Minnesota governments could offer classes instead of fines to drivers ticketed for minor traffic violations, a House transportation committee decided Tuesday. On a unanimous vote, the committee approved a bill by Rep. Jay McNamar, D-Elbow Lake, to let cities and counties establish driving safety classes that violators could take instead of a traffic ticket being placed on their records.”
I’m sorry, “E-cigarette juice”? The Forum folks also report: “The tenfold increase in Minnesota youngsters poisoned by e-cigarette juice last year is alarming, a local anti-smoking advocate said. ‘It’s a startling increase and something we should be very concerned about,’ said Pat McKone, Duluth-based director of tobacco control programs and policy for the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest. … The Minnesota Department of Health reported Tuesday that 50 teens and children were victims of poisonings related to e-cigs in 2013, compared with five the year before.”
This might work … again. Dan Haugen at Midwest Energy News reports: “Minnesotans may soon be able to pay for insulation, energy-efficient appliances, and even solar panels through a line item on their utility bill. A proposal to encourage on-bill repayment of energy loans is advancing in the Minnesota Legislature with bipartisan and utility support. Such arrangements are already allowed in the state and were used in the 1980s and ’90s, but utilities say they need more legal protection before they would consider reintroducing a program.”
The GOP has a new tax-cut idea … Baird Helgeson of the Strib says: “State Senate Republicans want to increase tax relief for Minnesotans this year by proposing more than $360 million in permanent sales tax relief. ‘Sales taxes affect everybody,’ said Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie. Sales tax relief ‘is abundantly fair.’ Senate Republicans want to lower the state sales tax rate to 6.375 percent, from 6.875 percent.” If that’s the case, I will buy that Porsche.
If you, too, had a hard time understanding what was going on with the bill that some said would “gut” or “nullify” or “kick to the curb” the EPA in Minnesota, Sally Jo Sorensen at Bluestem Prairie has some context to apply to your news feed: “The Duluth Tribune account (discussed below) varies considerably from the Northland News’ account of the bill, and neither reporter looked at the national legislative history of the copycat bill. … This latter resolution reflects a long standing concern of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has with the EPA’s jurisdictional authority under the Clean Waters Act; witness a resolution posted in 2013 opposing federal legislation that would have extended that authority.”
You pity the mailman as it is … Jeremy Olson of the Strib says: “A screening test that requires people to send stool samples in the mail for laboratory analysis is proving nearly as reliable as a colonoscopy in identifying potentially fatal colon cancers. Invented at the Mayo Clinic, the DNA test could become an equivalent option to the colonoscopy — or at least an alternative for the millions of Americans who ignore their doctors’ recommendations because they are squeamish about the rectal exam or concerned about the cost of the invasive procedure.” The gastroenterology lobby will being firing up pretty fast over this news.
You mean the target demo didn’t care? The AP says: “Plain old Cheerios are no longer made with genetically modified ingredients, but the switch hasn’t yet translated to a boost in sales. General Mills, the company that makes the cereal, in January announced it would start making its plain Cheerios without GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. … CEO Ken Powell said in a phone interview that the company has gotten supportive letters and online comments for its decision. But he said the company was ‘not really seeing anything there that we can detect’ in terms of a sales lift.” They could always add sugar …