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DFL starting to stand up for Obamacare

Minnesota’s teacher tenure debate sure to return; Southwest LRT deadline looms; sex trafficking on rise in Fargo-Moorhead; vulnerable adults to get new help; and more.

This took long enough … MPR’s Tom Scheck writes: “Republicans have been criticizing the federal health care law for years, and Democrats have been on the defensive. But as the 2014 election approaches, Democrats are starting to push back. … But after taking some early lumps on MNsure — the rollout of the state website led to botched applications and the resignation of MNsure’s executive director in December — Democrats are becoming more aggressive about promoting what they say are the program’s benefits.” Are spine transplants covered now?

Teacher tenure is coming under the microscope in Minnesota after the California ruling. Kim McGuire of the Strib says: “A reignited debate over teacher tenure is almost guaranteed in Minnesota in the wake of a California court’s landmark ruling that seniority systems hurt students. Some legislators and education reform advocates who have pushed to change Minnesota’s teacher tenure laws say they’re likely to revive their ­challenges to seniority rules.”

If you stall long enough, it will just go away … Pat Doyle of the Strib reminds readers: “As deadlines loom for the $1.68 billion Southwest Corridor light-rail project, concern is growing that Minneapolis hasn’t scheduled a public hearing needed to move it forward. … The Metropolitan Council, the agency overseeing the project, has cited state law in setting a July 14 deadline for a vote on the project by the cities and Hennepin County. A spokeswoman for Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said this week that the city will hold a hearing in time to meet the deadline for that vote on whether to grant consent.” How much do you think the mayor would like to be somewhere else when that finally happens?  

He didn’t look good when WCCO-TV’s Esme Murphy interviewed him recently. Now the AP reports: “An 83-year-old man imprisoned for killing a Minnesota teacher in 2011 has died.The Minnesota Department of Corrections confirms Delbert Huber died Wednesday night. … Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner says Delbert Huber was one of a number of people his department spoke with recently about the 1989 Jacob Wetterling abduction. Investigators began taking a closer look at stranger assaults that happened in Paynesville around the time of Jacob’s abduction.”

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Fargo-Moorhead has a sex trafficking problem. MPR’s Dan Gunderson reports: “Police Chief David Ebinger said such cases are becoming more common in the Fargo-Moorhead area as traffickers travel Interstate 94 from the Twin Cities to North Dakota oil fields. ‘If you’re going to drive in from Minneapolis and go all the way out to the Bakken, Fargo-Moorhead’s a pretty good place to stop and pick up a little business on the way,’ he said.”

The state will be giving you a heads-up about those property tax and renter refunds. Says Mark Sommerhauser of the St. Cloud Times: “Most taxpayers who qualify for one of the property tax refunds may file for it immediately. That includes taxpayers who don’t qualify for any of the March income tax cuts, who filed their income tax returns after the changes took effect or who filed before the changes took effect but have been notified that they qualify for one or more of them. Aug. 15 is the due date to file for the renter’s or homeowner’s refund.”

The GleanLong overdue … Says Paul Levy of the Strib: “An ambitious new resource will be added to the campaign against elder abuse in Minnesota, taking square aim at a growing 21st Century crime: financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. The Minnesota Elder Justice Center [is] slated to open at the William Mitchell College of Law in October.”

While it may be difficult to keep clear all of the various pipelines proposed and being litigated, Dave Shaffer of the Strib reports: “A judge on Thursday backed a proposed upgrade of the Alberta Clipper crude oil pipeline across the state, saying it’s needed to supply petroleum refineries serving Minnesota and neighboring states. … The judge’s ruling, which now goes to the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a final decision, is a defeat for the climate change group MN350, which opposes development of Canadian oil sands and argued that the pipeline expansion isn’t needed.”

Jason Macintyre of The Big Lead website got a quick interview with the Timberwolves’ Kevin Love:
Q: What’s the best word that sums up what it’s like to jump on the internet or social media and find hundreds of different rumors about what may or may not happen to you in the coming weeks?
Love: In a lot of ways it’s laughable, but in other ways I guess it’s humbling for a number of reasons. I can’t go anywhere without someone saying I’m going to their team. A Brewers game? I’m going to the Milwaukee Bucks. If I spend time in South Beach, it’s the Miami Heat. It’s funny how the world works. I respect what people put out there, but a lot of it is not true and laughable. At the same time, it’s fun and nice to be wanted.”