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Governor Dayton, once castigated by families, to sign medical marijuana bill

No lottery tickets at gas pumps; bike bridge sensationalism; charter-school segregation; and more.

MinnPost file photo by James Nord

In addition to our Doug Grow, coverage of the deal on medical marijuana comes from the likes of Mike Cronin at the AP. “The compromise bill allows for two manufacturing facilities and eight dispensaries statewide, more than the House bill called for. But it covers fewer conditions than the Senate favored. Its prohibition against using plant material disappointed some advocates, who said vaporizing the leaf or smoking the drug were the only ways some patients could get relief from their maladies.”

Don Davis of the Forum News Service says, “About 5,000 Minnesotans a month could benefit from marijuana, state officials say. … Medical marijuana could be used to treat some cancer that is accompanied by severe pain, nausea or severe vomiting; glaucoma; HIV-AIDS; Tourette’s syndrome; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; severe and persistent muscle spasms such as those in multiple sclerosis patients; some forms of seizures; Crohn’s disease; and terminal illnesses accompanied by some specific complications.” Dang. Nothing about just general peevishness … .

At City Pages, Jesse Marx says, “Critics were quick to point out that lawmakers just approved a bill that costs $5 million and benefits an estimated 5,000 people, over a bill that would have paid for itself and benefited an estimated 39,000 people — all so that the governor could save face.”

And I know this one means a lot to some of you … .  The AP says, “Instant-play lottery games won’t be available on the Internet or Minnesota gas pumps as of November if legislation ready for final votes prevails. … The bill reels in a Minnesota Lottery that has gradually expanded into new areas without getting lawmaker permission first.” The vendor says the cancellation would cost the state $4 million, but lawmakers believe they can cancel the expansion without penalty.

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The Strib’s Steve Brandt goes all sensationalist on bikes, inflating a $3 million Minneapolis bike bridge in tricky terrain to a “per-mile rate of $12 million,” then gets go-to City Hall griper Cam Winton complaining North Side kids will be crime victims because of the spending. As long as we’re doing equivalencies, $3 million would pay for 30 cops for one year, or fix 3,000 potholes until they re-sprout. The new St. Croix bridge at Stillwater costs $97 million per mile, by the way.

It’s a “down payment” … . Says the AP, “Supporters of expanded broadband in rural Minnesota claimed victory Thursday as the Legislature appeared ready to set aside $20 million for their cause. The amount was far short of the $100 million they proposed, but the money included in a supplemental budget bill was seen as a first step on a critical need.”

At MPR, Dave Peters says, “The new legislation requires communities to come up with at least a 50 percent match to get any money. … The maximum grant will be $5 million, Schmit said. The money has to go to areas that don’t meet the state speed goals of 10 megabits per second download and 5 megabits per second upload, and the top priority will go to areas that have far slower speeds.”

At the PiPress, Emily Gurnon reports, “The woman involved in the criminal sexual conduct case of a Maplewood priest has received threatening letters, and the prosecutor wants a sample of the priest’s DNA to see if he may have sent them. … “The woman ‘has received at least five cards or other correspondences’ from an anonymous sender, said prosecutor Therese Galatowitsch. They contained ‘very disturbing references to the Bible, what an evil person she is, even her parents, how they spawned an evil child,’ she said.” That does have a certain Biblical tone to it … .

In the interest of shareholder value … . Susan Feyder of the Strib says, “Finding an apartment in today’s tight rental market can be tough for anybody, but it’s getting a lot tougher to find one that accepts Section 8 vouchers. When rents are rising as they are now, there’s less economic incentive for landlords to participate in the program, a longtime pillar of rent support for low-income people used by about 30,500 households in Minnesota, about two-thirds in the metro area. … .”

What? Congress is actually doing something useful? Henry Jackson of the AP reports on agreements in D.C., one of which may bring a large chunk of federal money to the Red River Valley. “House and Senate negotiators on Thursday unveiled a compromise bill that authorizes billions of dollars for water projects over the next decade … as much as $800 million for a flood diversion project that would protect the Red River Valley region of North Dakota and parts of Minnesota, which have suffered major floods in four of the past five years.”

In a Strib commentary, Will Stancil, a researcher at the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity. Notes the 60th anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education and declares, “Single-race schools have been making a comeback in Minnesota. It’s the charter schools that are the problem. Charters are rapidly growing, but … a disturbing reality … is widely overlooked: Many boast student bodies that are entirely composed of members of one race. Nonwhite students are particularly isolated.”