A constitutional amendment to protect electronic data?

REUTERS/Eric Thayer

This will be tricky. Abby Simons of the Strib writes, “A proposed Minnesota constitutional amendment would protect text messages, e-mails and other electronic data from warrantless searches, but the initiative faces hurdles from some lawmakers who say such communications are already protected under current law. … Although the bill cleared its first House committee Tuesday, it faces a more significant hurdle in the Senate, where one a once instrumental leader says data privacy questions have already been resolved by the courts. Sen. Ron Latz, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, refused to give the bill a hearing last month, saying he prefers to avoid legislating by constitutional amendment when he believes electronic data is already protected.”

Place your bets on when they collect. The AP story on that $11 million Toyota verdict says, “Jurors said the company was 60 percent to blame for the accident, which left three people dead and two seriously injured. But they also found that Koua Fong Lee, who has long insisted he tried to stop his car before it slammed into another vehicle, was 40 percent to blame. … Under Minnesota law, Tuesday’s verdict means Toyota is responsible for paying all damages minus 40 percent of the amount awarded to Mr. Lee, bringing Toyota’s total liability to $10.94 million. Mr. Lee will receive $750,000 of that total.”  

Minnesota sand is getting to business. Tony Kennedy of the Strib says, “A major frac sand proposal for southeastern Minnesota, which stalled two years when the state demanded an extensive environmental review, is back on track with a $130,450 payment made to regulators to fund the first phase of study. Minnesota Sands LLC delivered the cash in late December for the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (EQB), founder Rick Frick said, and will submit a revised business plan by the end of February involving several related frac sand operations in at least four counties: Winona, Fillmore, Olmsted, Goodhue and possibly Wabasha.”

Speaking of digging, John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune reports, “Minnesota lawmakers on Tuesday heard from supporters and critics of proposed copper mine projects in the state even though no legislation is proposed on the issue. …  Critics noted that the recent Mt. Polley copper mine disaster in Canada, where a tailings basin dike collapsed and sent billions of gallons of contaminated water downstream, shows that even modern mines can cause massive environmental damage, especially in a water-rich environment like Northeastern Minnesota.”

And closer still to becoming another socialist hellhole. Says Dan Kraker for MPR, “A coalition of labor, faith and community groups is hoping to make Minnesota the fourth state in the country to guarantee paid sick time off for workers. … State Rep. John Lesch of St. Paul coauthored the bill, which would require employers to offer at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. It would make all full- and part-time employees in the state eligible for the benefit after three months on the job.” Obviously these people don’t know how miserable everyone is in Denmark and Sweden with giveaways like this.

And wasn’t it exciting and edifying? MPR’s Catharine Richert tells us, “Between money spent by the parties, political groups and the two major candidates for governor, Minnesota’s 2014 campaign cost at least $28 million. That figure is based on final fundraising reports from last year’s election available today through the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. It includes at least $15.6 million in independent expenditures – money that parties and political groups spend on things like ads and campaign fliers – to boost or attack certain candidates.”

Mmmm. Bad pub for Target. Susan Du of City Pages reports, “Back in April 2012, Erik Lundin was unloading a box from the top of a truck that had been packed heavier than it was supposed to be. He lost his balance, twisted and smashed into the side-wall of the trailer. He ended up with three disc herniations in his upper back. At first, Target took responsibility for the accident. But then they faltered when it came down to actually paying for things like physical therapy and medication. … So Lundin faced Target in court. After about a year and half, the judge ruled the retail giant was liable for Lundin’s medical bills after all. Now, Target’s continuing to space out, Lundin says. The company says it’ll foot the bill for his medical bills, but they’re taking their sweet time. And even though under workers’ compensation law, the liable employer needs to pay two-thirds of all wages lost since the accident, Lundin hasn’t seen a dime of that since September 2012.”

What are the chances the Governor ever saw “Airplane!”? Stribber Patrick Condon reports, “Gov. Mark Dayton, who rarely misses a chance to bash Minnesota’s neighbors to the east, has branded a TV ad campaign for Wisconsin tourism as ‘one of the most idiotic things I’ve ever seen.’ The ads play off the 1980 disaster movie spoof ‘Airplane.’ Actor Robert Hays and former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who appeared in the film, are reunited in the cockpit of an airplane that’s flying low over scenes of Wisconsin tourism. … Dayton proceeded to joke that Minnesota should pay Wisconsin to keep the ads on the air. ‘I’ll write that on a piece of infrastructure and send it to Gov. Walker,’ Dayton said, a reference to the Wisconsin Republican governor’s publicized act of minor vandalism against Minnesotans.”

He says he’s not done yet. In the Superior News-Telegram, Maria Lockwood writes, “Chris Grover of Poplar stopped by Barker’s Island Tuesday to check on the city’s growing ice sculpture. ‘I work in Superior,’ he said. ‘Whenever I drive past it’s good to check it out. I thought it was a fantastic endeavor.’ But at 10:06 a.m. Tuesday, the 66-foot-tall structure collapsed. Within seconds, it become a pile of ice chunks. … Mother Nature has won this bout, [architect Roger “the Iceman”] Hanson said, but he’s not throwing in the towel. There’s still a 15-foot base of tumbled ice to work with. ‘I’m not done yet,’ he said. ‘I work very hard at this; I don’t give up. If there’s a chance I can make something of this, I’m going to do it.’” It is Wisconsin. Maybe he could try using Keystone Light cans.

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Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by cory johnson on 02/04/2015 - 07:04 am.

    Another thing we’d have in common with Sweden and Denmark…..

    if this passes is their unemployment rates of over 7%.

    • Submitted by Joe Schweigert on 02/04/2015 - 09:07 am.

      Or maybe we’d be more like Connecticut?


      Or California?


      “91 percent of employmenrs say no noticeable effect or a positive effect on profitability and performance”

      Maybe treating your employees well is actually good business?

      • Submitted by cory johnson on 02/04/2015 - 09:40 am.

        Have you looked at their unemployment rates?

        6.3 and 7.3%. If that’s really what you want then be prepared to “invest” a lot more in government unemployment programs.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/04/2015 - 09:57 am.

      The unemployment rate and paid sick leave have no correlation. How would you suggest one affects the other?

      • Submitted by cory johnson on 02/04/2015 - 02:49 pm.

        That’s like saying the PPACA didn’t affect hiring practices….

        Every mandated benefit reduces the willingness/ability of private employers to take the risk of hiring additional employees. Especially full time ones.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/04/2015 - 04:17 pm.


          I didn’t say that the ACA didn’t affect hiring practices. I said that paid-sick leave wouldn’t affect the unemployment rate. You’ve neglected to offer insight as to how it would, aside from some loose comparison to the national health care overhaul.

          • Submitted by cory johnson on 02/04/2015 - 04:59 pm.


            I did. Mandated paid sick leave would increase labor costs (as did he PPACA). Therefore employers would less willing and/or able to hire more workers or afford the ones they currently employ.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/05/2015 - 09:39 am.

              The law as written allows for 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. For a full time employee that still offers less than one full paid sick day per month. I seriously doubt that this will lead to less hiring- because employers hire people when they have a work need to fill. And, if the employee never took a sick day, the employer would still be paying the same amount regardless.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 02/05/2015 - 09:40 am.

              Not to mention that be effectively forcing people who are sick to come to work just exposes more people to illness and drives up costs across the economic board.

  2. Submitted by richard owens on 02/04/2015 - 08:04 pm.

    Silica Sand

    Let’s all hope it doesn’t become the new asbestos of public health.

    The shards of glass in silica are sharp enough to lodge in lungs.

    They are small and persistent enough that they can’t be expelled in breathing.

    A soil born fungus Valley Fever infects Southern CA lungs at a high rate.

  3. Submitted by Tom Melchior on 02/04/2015 - 12:29 pm.

    Denmark’s most recent

    unemployment rate is 4.0 percent. Try dealing with facts.

  4. Submitted by James Hamilton on 02/04/2015 - 01:30 pm.

    I’d much prefer

    to see employees organize and negotiate based on what they believe they need, rather than have the Legislature make that decision for them. 1.25 hours of sick leave per 40 hour week = 72.8 hours (10.25 days) per year for a full-time employee. There may well be other things employees would prefer (e.g., vacation or personal days, partial payment for unused personal time each year, etc.).

    In my experience, sick leave readily becomes personal leave, unless an employer resorts to the already draconian process of requiring a doctor’s note confirming an illness.

    Beware of unintended consequences, no matter how noble the goal.

  5. Submitted by cory johnson on 02/05/2015 - 03:56 pm.

    spoken like someone who hasn’t had to make a payroll….

    Every additional mandate makes employers more reluctant to hire full time help. Its part of the reason I’m glad I’m not just graduating from college. The underemployment rate for college graduates is in the mid-teens.
    And this is just the first step. Its “only” one day to start, but of course that won’t be enough so we’ll have to tack on some more later out of compassion.

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