Say goodbye to happy hour. Says Rachel Stassen-Berger in the Strib, “Late Wednesday night, the Minnesota House took up a measure to make clear that lawmakers can be arrested for drunken driving during legislative sessions.” [It passed 115-15.] “The Minnesota Constitution says lawmakers have immunity from arrest while the Legislature is in session, except for specific crimes, including breach of the peace. It’s a provision that was meant to ensure legislators weren’t detained as a way to prevent them from voting on certain bills.”
There’s something perversely appealing about this. Mark Zdechlik of MPR reports, “Republican Mike McFadden called reporters to a news conference Thursday to talk about his plans to fight wasteful government spending, but when reporters started asking questions about other issues McFadden declined to offer specifics. McFadden is a political newcomer who hopes to run against DFL Sen. Al Franken in November. … The Sunfish Lake businessman said his campaign has begun issuing ‘Waste of the Week,’ reports to highlight what he says is needless federal government spending. The first report is on state-run Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges like Minnesota’s MNsure.” It’s like if Chauncey Gardiner were running for Senate.
Appease the base! Corey Mitchell of the Strib says, “Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen voted to send U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder a letter that seeks a criminal investigation of actions by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner, whom Republicans accuse of improperly scrutinizing tax exemption requests from conservative organizations. … The top Democrat on the committee, Sander Levin of Michigan, said the Justice Department is already investigating the IRS’s actions. ‘Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee have decided that they do not want to be left behind in the Republican campaign to declare this a scandal and keep it going until November’, Levin said in a statement.” Damned straight!
Is this with the pepperoni and anchovies? KARE-TV is saying, “Health investigators are looking into what they call an outbreak of norovirus at a popular restaurant in Maple Grove. Hennepin County Health Department spokesman Bill Billknap says the department received calls from numerous people reporting they became sick after eating at Chuck E. Cheese’s in Maple Grove the this past weekend. Billknap says by going through cash register receipts the department was able to contact customers and found numerous people reporting gastrointestinal illness symptoms.”
“Presumed dead” … . Kieran Nicholson of The Denver Post says, “A father and son from Minnesota who went missing in the Colorado mountains are presumed dead, according to grieving family members and friends. The search near Echo Lake for Damian McManus, 51, and Evan McManus, 18, of St. Louis Park, Minn., was called off Wednesday by search teams after four fruitless days. A Facebook page — ‘Missing: Damian and Evan McManus’ — with more than 5,400 members and ‘made to raise awareness for the safe return of Damian and Evan McManus’ now has posts memorializing the father and son.”
After the winter from hell … straight to fire season. Jim Anderson of the Strib says, “The National Weather Service on Thursday issued a ‘red flag’ warning for most of southwest and south-central Minnesota after a mix of high winds and dry conditions spawned a risk of fast-moving wildfires. Much of the state, including the seven-county Twin Cities area, is also at a ‘high’ or ‘very high’ risk of fires, prompting the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources DNR to ban burning permits until conditions change.”
The House hasn’t forgotten synthetic drugs. The Forum News Service’s Don Davis says, “Minnesota representatives sent a strong message against synthetic drugs Wednesday, unanimously passing a bill to give a state agency more authority over them. ‘If you are not seeing this in your community, it is because you are not looking hard enough,’ Rep. Erik Simonson, D-Duluth, told fellow lawmakers. The bill that passed 130-0 now moves to the Senate.”
We’re going to have to do some “keepin’ up” with the Cheeseheads … . Carrie Antlfinger of the AP says, “The Milwaukee Art Museum, known for its bold expansion designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava 13 years ago, is planning another expansion along Lake Michigan. When finished, the $25 million project will give the museum 17,000 square feet more space and renovate two of its older buildings, including the War Memorial Center designed by modernist architect Eero Saarinen, whose works include the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.” Fine. But we got stadiums.
You might want to take your Memorial Day road trip now. Says Tim Harlow in the Strib, “The summer driving season usually brings higher gas prices, but motorists won’t see a big spike at the pump this year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Short-term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook. Gas prices will peak at an average of $3.66 in May and then steadily decline to around $3.46 per gallon by September, the report released Wednesday said.” May is always when the refiners are caught off guard by summer and can’t convert fast enough, right?