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High School League approves new transgender policy

“The Minnesota State High School League board has approved a new policy for transgender students that will begin with the 2015-16 school year," Paul Klauda writes in the Strib. "The vote was taken late Thursday morning.”

At MPR, Tim Post says, “The vote was 18 for, one against and one abstention. The decision came at a packed hearing where more than 20 speakers addressed the high school league board before the vote. Three Republican state lawmakers told the board that the Legislature, not the high school league, should be the ones to handle policy on transgender student athletes. State Rep. Barb Yarusso, DFL- Shoreview, countered that the transgender policy would only apply to a handful of students and urged the board to act.”

FoxNews’ coverage notes, “It appears unlikely the policy will prompt a flood of gender-crossing among high school athletes. Helen Carroll, the sports project director for The National Center for Lesbian Rights, told MPRNews.com that only about five transgender students across the country make the sport transition each year.” But all of them are the size of an NFL linebacker, if I hear right.

Elsewhere, our job creators’ pockets have been picked clean. Ricardo Lopez’s Strib story on the state’s hefty surplus says, “Since February, when the Minnesota Management and Budget agency published its last forecast, the state’s economy has expanded largely as projected, aided by stronger employment growth. The job gains have shrunk the unemployment rate to its lowest level in more than eight years — 3.9 percent. The state's fiscal picture has brightened considerably since February 2012, the last time the state faced a deficit, which stood then at $627 million. The state’s budget reserve is now replenished, and tax revenue is pouring in.”

The AP story says, “The current fiscal year that ends in June should close with the state having $556 million in unspent money. Of that, $183 million would be automatically transferred to the budget reserve, but the rest could be parceled out for one-time needs. … Including across-the-board inflationary estimates in their prior forecast would have added about $900 million to state expenses in the next budget. Lawmakers who want inflation kept out of the economic analysis argue that program advocates should have to make the case for higher spending and shouldn’t presume the state budget is on auto-pilot.”

The GleanMPR’s Tim Pugmire reminds readers, “Legislators will make final budget decisions based on the next forecast, which comes out in late February or early March. Under a new law enacted last session, a portion of any surplus is committed to boosting the state budget reserve. There is no longer any money owed to schools from previous budget-balancing deals. A surplus would run counter to Republicans' election-year warnings that tax collections were not keeping pace with spending growth. It was one of the campaign messages they used to win control of the Minnesota House.” OK. But the sky is falling, right?

Big sale … by … Best Buy. Laurie Burkitt at the Wall Street Journal reports, “Best Buy Co. is selling its China division to a Chinese real estate group, exiting a country where the American electronics retailer has struggled for years as it streamlines its global business to focus on its core U.S. operations. … Best Buy has invested heavily in its website and has leaned on suppliers to help finance improvements to its more than 1,400 U.S. stores. It also exited Europe last year, selling its 50% interest in Carphone Warehouse Group PLC’s European business back to Carphone in a mostly cash deal valued at about $775 million.”

Following news that charitable giving has for the most part risen back up to pre-recession levels, an MPR story says, “Minnesota Council on Foundations executive director Trista Harris said charitable giving by foundations and corporations has returned to pre-recession levels. Although individual charitable giving still lags slightly behind pre-recession levels, it too is closing up the gap. … Education continued to be the main focus of grant givers, with 29 percent of grants funding education. About 23 percent of grants focused on human services and 16 percent on public affairs.”

A fight over (yet another) apartment complex at the 394/100 interchange. Sam Black at The Business Journal says, “The Minnesota Supreme Court said Wednesday that it will hear arguments in January for a land development dispute involving an $80 million apartment project proposed next to the Good Day Cafe in Golden Valley. The suit, which was filed in Hennepin County in 2013, involves the Three-Nine-Four development, an apartment and senior-living complex planned for a Golden Valley site near Interstate 394. The project, first proposed in 2012 and approved by the city in 2013, has been in limbo for more than a year due to a court challenge by the owner of the adjacent Good Day Cafe, who says he wants to buy the land instead.” Mmmm. That place has good beignets.

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