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Special session called for 10 a.m. Friday

Plus: key figure in U of M crisis to retire; local vets overpaid for medical service; Minnesota no longer in drought conditions; and more.

Room 10 of the State of Building
The Minnesota House will meet in Room 10 of the State of Building for the upcoming special session.

This should be interesting. In the Star Tribune, Ricardo Lopez and Patrick Condon write: “‘Gov. Mark Dayton and state lawmakers struck a final deal Thursday night to finish the state budget, setting the table for a Friday special session where approval of money for environmental and agricultural programs is still in doubt. … After a four-hour meeting with his colleagues, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said he could not guarantee the bill’s passage. ‘I don’t know if it’s going to pass,’ said Bakk, DFL-Cook. “I just don’t know.’”

Oh, and no “grandstanding.” Says Tim Pugmire for MPR, These bills have to pass. They have to pass,’ Dayton said. ‘Do they have to pass unanimously? No,’ he added. ‘But if somebody is going to start to disrupt this whole process at this point by offering a self-serving amendment, I’m going to be very strongly opposed, and I’m going to be not bashful about going around to their respective districts and telling people in those districts that this kind of grandstanding is just not acceptable.’”

I’m not sure it’ll be remembered as “leaving on a high note.” The MPR story says, “A key figure in the University of Minnesota’s crisis over human test-subject protection says he will retire in December. In the past two months, Dr. Charles Schulz has stepped down both as chief of the U’s psychiatry department and as executive director of behavioral health services — moves that follow harsh outside criticism over the way the U has treated vulnerable research patients.”

The “art house” got a lot of attention. Strib real estate reporter Jim Buchta says, “On Sunday my colleague, Kim Palmer, told the tale of Lauri Svedberg’s funky, festooned art house in northeast Minneapolis, which hit the market at the end of the week. That house now has a buyer. Listing agent Michael Gacek of Edina Realty said that response to the listing has been overwhelming and within days of it going on the market he received 10 offers. Because the deal won’t close until early July, he’s unable to reveal the name of the buyer and the sale price. Safe to assume that the winning bid was for more than the asking price of $149,900.”

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Again, “thank you for your service.” In the Strib we have this from Courtney Kueppers, “The Minneapolis Veterans Affairs’ faulty inpatient billing system has resulted in some Minnesota veterans having to pay thousands of dollars more in co-pays in the last five years. In a letter sent Thursday to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, all ten federal Minnesota lawmakers questioned how the potential for veterans to pay more in co-pays will affect them and what the VA plans to do to help.”

So they’ll offer an 80 percent discount on the tickets, right? Says Ben Goessling at ESPN. “ … unless [Adrian] Peterson wants to play before the Vikings begin their season on Sept. 14 in San Francisco, Zimmer doesn’t seem inclined to push the issue. The coach said on Thursday he would check with Peterson during the preseason to see if he wants to get a few carries, but added he doesn’t feel a need to play him.”

The Feds want money … from us. Stribber Christopher Snowbeck says, “Minnesota will pay $3.1 million to the federal government after an audit found accounting errors in how the state Department of Human Services reported collections from overpayments in the Medicaid program. Medicaid is a health insurance and social service program that’s jointly funded by the state and federal governments. The program recovers overpayments in cases where Medicaid determines another third-party payer is responsible for costs initially covered by the program.”

The (last) drought is over. Says Andy Rathbun for the PiPress, “A map released by the U.S. Drought Monitor Thursday morning shows drought conditions are no longer present anywhere in Minnesota, although about 21 percent of the state was still considered abnormally dry as of Tuesday. The state’s drought outlook has changed significantly since the start of May, when about 54 percent of the state was in a moderate drought and another 40 percent was in a severe drought.”

Mug shot of the week. Katie Kather of the PiPress reports, “A driver was in custody after ramming three cars — including two police vehicles — during a chase Thursday morning in Wayzata, according to police. … The suspect, 63-year-old Wayne Steven Snyder, remained in custody Thursday evening at the Hennepin County jail. The Hennepin County sheriff’s office said his last known address was in Washington state.” We have a nice, quiet lake community here … and we aim to keep it that way!

Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect takes his shot at Scott Walker’s latest assault on pointy-headed public employees. “Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, thinks he’s hit political pay dirt with his proposal to gut faculty tenure protections at his state’s public universities, notably the flagship University of Wisconsin, long one of the nation’s best state universities. His idea is to remove tenure protection from state law, and leave the actual policy to the Board of Regents, his political appointees. For Walker, this is a three-fer. It’s another attack on a public institution, in the wake of his successful campaign to weaken collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin public employees. It is a thinly disguised assault on a university perceived as a hotbed of liberals and liberalism. And it continues Walker’s faux-populist theme by seemingly going after a bastion of privilege — the elite, pointy-headed professoriate. All this plays well with the Tea Party base.”