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Transportation funding conflict du jour: east metro vs. west metro

PLUS: state Senate secures temporary housing; Verne Gagne died; the Minnesota House’s transgender bathroom ban; and more.

MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley

Look, can we just settle this east metro vs. west metro thing once and for all, mano a mano? In the Pioneer Press, David Montgomery takes note of a classic Minnesota east-metro-vs.-west-metro brouhaha shaping up over transportation funding: “‘The transit lines that have been funded or are in complete or in preliminary engineering are … on the left side of the map,’ Sen. Bev Scalze, DFL-Little Canada, told her fellow senators, referring to a map of Metro Transit transitways. ‘The dotted lines on the right side of the map are the east-metro lines that are not yet complete.’ … [Sen. Scott] Dibble was one of a handful of west-metro senators to back Scalze’s proposal that the Metropolitan Council attempt to spend 40 percent of its transit sales-tax revenue in the east metro, ‘where 40 percent of the people reside.’”

What’s the security deposit on a deal like this? “The Minnesota State Senate’s temporary offices will be on St. Peter Street in downtown St. Paul,” reports Sam Black in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. “Minnesota Department of Administration Commissioner Susan Estes signed an eight-month lease Tuesday for 22,500 square feet on the fifth and sixth floors of UBS Plaza at 444 St. Peter St., the agency said. … The state is paying $307,599 for the lease.

Minnesota wrestling legend Verne Gagne has died. MPR’s Jon Collins remembers, “Gagne was a popular wrestler in the 1950s and led the Minneapolis-based American Wrestling Association for three decades. Gagne had been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, WCW Hall of Fame and Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame.” In 2009, Kevin Featherly wrote a piece for MinnPost detailing Gagne’s assault on another patient at a Bloomington Alzheimer’s treatment facility (Gagne suffered from Alzheimer’s-related dementia), resulting in the other man’s death.

Kudos to Sally Jo Sorensen of Bluestem Prairie and Andy Birkey of the Column for keeping tabs on an amendment to the House K-12 education bill that would “…bar schools from allowing transgender students to use facilities based on their gender and instead base those decisions on ‘chromosomes.’” The amendment was offered by Republican Rep. Tim Miller, of Prinsburg. Sorensen quotes from the text of the amendment:

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The purpose of this section is to protect and provide for the privacy and safety of all students enrolled in public schools and to maintain order and dignity in restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms, showers, and other facilities where students may be in various states of undress in the presence of other students. Subd. 2. Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the meanings given them.(a) “Sex” means the physical condition of being male or female, which is determined by a person’s chromosomes and is identified at birth by a person’s anatomy. Subd. 3. Student physical privacy protection. (a) A public school student restroom, locker room, changing room, and shower room accessible by multiple students at the same time shall be designated for the exclusive use by students of the male sex only or by students of the female sex only.(b) A public school student restroom, locker room, changing room, and shower room that is designated for the exclusive use of one sex shall be used only by members of that sex.

See, this is what small government’s all about: public schools keeping detailed records of students’ genetic profiles and “a person’s anatomy.” The omnibus bill passed Saturday on a voice vote. 

In other news…

A Duluth mayoral two-fer: Former Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner-Solon will not run for mayor. [KSTP] Meanwhile, current mayor Don Ness kicked off the Homegrown Music Festival like a rock star. [Star Tribune]

Okay, lights off in state buildings at night to save birds vs. Vikings stadium glass walls of death to kill them. Call it even? [New York Times]

Minneapolis/St. Paul draws millennials. [Bloomberg] Or wait, are we losing them? [Star Tribune] We’re so confused.

The MIA wants $1 million from the public for a sculpture which, let’s be honest, doesn’t even have a body. [Star Tribune]

#BlackLivesMatter Minneapolis is planning a protest Wednesday in solidarity with Baltimore [WCCO]

Big General Mills expansion in Tennessee. [Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal]

The real question is, what is the judge trying to hide? “Star Tribune questions courtroom closure in Byron Smith murder trial in Little Falls” [Star Tribune]

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At least one North Dakota Republican who voted against discrimination protections for gays and lesbians was actively using gay dating app Grindr. [Pioneer Press]

#WarOnDogs: Sartell city council imposes two-dog limit per home [Saint Cloud Times]

#WarOnDogs: Somebody stole a van in Maplewood with five puppies inside [KARE]

“Twins will host Nye’s polka band concert to bid famed bar farewell” [Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal]

Here’s the schedule for the Wild vs. Blackhawks semifinal games. [Star Tribune]