Now can we move on to something a bit more substantive? MPR’s Tim Pugmire reports, “The Minnesota House and Senate will take final action Thursday on legislation to delay DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s big raises for commissioners until July 1. On Wednesday night, House and Senate negotiators approved the conference report on a divided voice vote. The report reflects a deal reached between Dayton and legislative leaders. It will shift authority over the raises back to the Legislature on July 2. That provision effectively gives Dayton a one-day window to reinstate the raises.”
Progress in the 21st century. In the Strib, Dan Browning says, “A bipartisan group of lawmakers hopes to expand the reach of “telemedicine” in Minnesota by requiring health insurers to pay for remote consultations the same way they do for in-person visits. Clinics and hospitals across Minnesota already use telemedicine, but some insurers don’t cover it and some services — such as nurses who educate diabetics how to care for themselves — are not covered by insurance at all.”
First the Keystone XL, now Robert Street. Nick Ferraro of the PiPress says, “West St. Paul has awarded a $23 million construction bid for the massive makeover of South Robert Street, paving the way for the first phase of the city’s most expensive public works project to get underway in the spring. The city council’s unanimous approval of the bid Monday night comes after five years of anticipation and planning — as well as nearly a dozen cost increases and subsequent criticism, including fresh comments made by newly elected Mayor Dave Meisinger before the vote. Late Wednesday, Meisinger, a vocal opponent of the project who ousted former Mayor John Zanmiller in November, said he planned to use his mayoral authority to officially veto the council’s resolution Thursday morning.”
A change of money men for the Minnesota Wild. At Forbes, Mike Ozanian says, “Former billionaire Philip Falcone is no longer a minority owner of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. He sold his less than 40% interest the hockey team to Matthew Hulsizer. … In 2010, Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners was investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney’s office over a $113 million loan to founder Philip Falcone and possible preferential treatment of some investors. Three years later, The SEC announced that New York-based hedge fund adviser Philip A. Falcone and his advisory firm Harbinger Capital Partners agreed to a settlement in which they must pay more than $18 million and admit wrongdoing. Falcone also agreed to be barred from the securities industry for at least five years.” Other than that, a solid citizen.
Libor Jany of the Strib says, “University of Minnesota police will stop sending out what they consider vague descriptions of suspects in campus crime alerts after criticism that authorities sometimes release racial descriptions and little other concrete information. From now on, the campuswide bulletins triggered by serious crimes such as robbery and aggravated assault will only include the suspect’s description “when there is sufficient detail that would help identify a specific individual or group,” U Vice President Pamela Wheelock said Wednesday in an e-mail to students, faculty and staff. The announcement came after a series of student-led protests on the issue and marks a significant step for a university dealing with tension over the racial climate on campus.”
They’re killing me, here. Says Mary Lynn Smith in the Strib, “Road work will shut down parts of Interstate 394, nearby frontage roads and the Lyndale Avenue bridge this summer, causing major commuter headaches along one of the metro area’s busiest stretches of highway. A 3-mile stretch of I-394 between Hwy. 100 and I-94 in Minneapolis will be resurfaced along with the frontage roads on both sides of the highway. The Lyndale Avenue bridge over Dunwoody Boulevard will be redecked. The project will be done in phases in June and July.” Another reason not to go downtown.
The state’s top copy desk has spoken. Stribber Dave Chanen writes, “The Minnesota Supreme Court employed an extended grammar discussion Wednesday in ruling on when a person is hunting and requires a license. The justices’ decision ended a three-year fight in ruling against Roger B. Schmid, 82, of Avon, Minn., who had received a misdemeanor citation for hunting without a license. … In its review, the state high court looked at whether the law Schmid violated was ambiguous. It also discussed whether in the rules of grammar, ‘take’ and ‘taking’ share the same underlying definition when used in hunting descriptions. The justices even looked at whether different tenses of words in a statute can have different meanings.” After that I hope they diagrammed the difference between “its” and “it’s”.
Elections are so messy. The Forum News Service’s Don Davis reports, “A few Minnesota counties annually seek legislative approval to turn elected offices into appointed ones. Now, a bill making its way through legislative committees would give county commissions and the public a new way to decide if the change makes sense for them. The Senate State and Local Government Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill by Sen. Sandra Pappas, D-St. Paul, to set up a procedure for appointing county auditors, treasurers and recorders. Nearly 30 counties have gone to appointed recorders and a majority of Minnesota counties have opted out of the traditional system of separately electing auditors and treasurers.”
I assume you also have a list of your “most important eating experiences.” Minnesota Monthly Editor Rachel Hutton talked about hers with MPR host Tom Crann. “The Foodie 40 includes the all-you-can-drink milk at the State Fair, the tasting menu at Travail, and the Honeycrisp apple: What do they possibly have in common? To make the list, the item had to be both excellent and distinctive, a Minnesota specialty that I’m excited to introduce to people. I decided to embrace the fact that this was an inherently subjective judgment call and made the list even more personal by including memories associated with foods. For example, my mom making me SPAM for breakfast when I was a kid, my husband bicycling from Minneapolis to St. Paul to bring me a Cafe Latte turtle cake for my birthday, or the time I was reporting a story about Galactic Pizza and they let me ride along and deliver pizzas with a superhero while wearing a pink spandex costume.”
This in from next door. Dave Jamieson at The Huffington Post writes, “Spelling more trouble for organized labor in the U.S., Republican legislators in the Wisconsin state Senate approved a right-to-work bill here on Wednesday, sending the measure to a GOP-controlled Assembly where it’s also expected to pass. Republican leaders chose to fast-track the bill in what’s known as an extraordinary legislative session, allowing for less debate than usual. Debate over the bill drew thousands of protesters to the state Capitol on Tuesday and Wednesday, reminiscent of the passionate labor demonstrations surrounding Act 10 in 2011. But as with that earlier legislation, which stripped most collective bargaining rights from public-sector employees, vocal opposition from the state’s unions wasn’t enough to stop the right-to-work bill in its tracks.”
Be among the first 120,000 to queue up to enjoy a wilderness experience. Andy Rathbun of the PiPress tells us, “The ice caves of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore could open this weekend if windy conditions don’t spoil the fun. About 90 percent of Lake Superior is covered in ice, including the area that forms the path to ice caves near Bayfield, Wis. But what’s not clear yet is whether that ice is stable enough for the thousands of visitors likely to come out to see the caves.”
Here’s something out of one of those lame-o stoner movies. From Aaron Rupar at KMSP-TV: “At 2:40 p.m. last Saturday, a suspect later identified as Eddie Dee Loyd Jr. allegedly stormed out of the Maple Grove Guitar Center with two guitars. He hadn’t paid for either of them. Loyd Jr., 23, loaded both the guitars and himself into the back seat of a white Dodge Charger with stripes running along the side. A juvenile then drove the Charger out of the parking lot at a high rate of speed. … The complaint says Loyd Jr. initially gave officers a false name and said he’s about six years younger than he actually is. But the chain of events that resulted in his true identity being revealed began when Loyd Jr. wet his pants in the squad car. From the complaint: ‘[Loyd Jr.] had wet his pants when he was in the squad car. When his clothing was removed to give him clean clothes, officers observed the name Eddie Loyd tattooed on his chest. Officers also found a Minnesota ID in his pockets bearing the name Eddie D. Loyd.’” Swear to god officer, I have no idea who planted that on me!