More litigation over MSOP. Chris Serres of the Strib says, “Attorneys for the state of Minnesota have signaled that they intend to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that declared the Minnesota Sex Offender Program unconstitutional and in need of systemic reform. Citing public safety concerns, the state attorney general’s office requested in a letter that U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank amend his order to allow for ‘an immediate right to appeal.’ … Some observers questioned the wisdom of appealing a decision that condemned the state program so decidedly. By forestalling reform, the Dayton administration is increasing the likelihood that Frank will impose changes without consulting elected lawmakers, say legal scholars.”
The U of M looks only marginally better in a second review of the now infamous Dan Markingson drug test case. Says Jeremy Olson in the Strib, “In a second review of industry-funded psychiatric drug trials at the University of Minnesota, Legislative Auditor James Nobles has found lapses in reporting adverse events such as injuries, but no deaths beyond the suicide of Dan Markingson a decade ago. While the U has taken steps to improve the speed and depth of its adverse-event reporting in the past year, the audit found multiple instances over the prior decade when reports lacked key details such as the dates when events occurred.”
Don Arnosti of the Izaak Walton League writes a commentary in the Duluth News Tribune saying, “We all have heard of poorly governed countries in Africa and South America where big mining companies take the minerals and profits and leave polluted water and toxic waste for local people to grapple with. Wake up, Minnesota; it’s happening here, too, and within the past two weeks both Democrats and Republicans, when confronted by the power of mining companies, proved too selfish and shortsighted to do what was right for the people of Minnesota.”
Tell me the U.S. Supremes didn’t make a case for Jim Carlson, former owner of the most policed and litigated shop in Duluth, The Last Place on Earth. Says Rochelle Olson in the Strib, “A U.S. Supreme Court decision in a synthetic drugs case could help a Duluth head shop owner’s appeal of his federal conviction, but state prosecutors say the ruling won’t be a factor — for now — in their cases. In the case, a Charlottesville, Va., man appealed his conviction under the federal Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act. Federal law makes it illegal to knowingly manufacture, distribute or possess controlled substances. In a unanimous ruling written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the court said the law requires prosecutors to prove that the defendant knew he was dealing a controlled substance.”
I lost track of the number of loads I dumped in there. Liz Collin at WCCO-TV says, “A WCCO Investigation has found the fight over an old landfill could cost taxpayers millions of dollars to clean up. The former Freeway Landfill sits off I-35W and Black Dog Road in Burnsville, next to the Minnesota River. It stopped taking trash more than 20 years ago but the landfill still hasn’t been cleaned up to meet state standards. Off a busy stretch of 35W is what’s considered the gateway to Burnsville. What looks like a serene 140 acres of land, locked in a fight as messy as the five million cubic yards of trash hiding beneath the soil.”
For Finance & Commerce Karlee Weinmann says, “Minnesota’s construction industry saw significant job gains again in May after a strong showing a month earlier, cementing its rebound from a slowdown during cooler months. The sector added a modest 200 jobs in May, according to seasonally adjusted data released Thursday by Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development. That’s on top of 6,600 jobs added in April, on a seasonally adjusted basis. But the latest figures mask broader gains by weighing last month’s growth against exceptionally strong runs in May 2014 and May 2013. Without taking the comparison into account, construction companies in Minnesota added 13,722 jobs last month – a 14.1 percent increase, compared with a 14.6 percent boost in May 2014 and a 15.4 percent uptick in May 2013.” Again, imagine what these numbers would look like if the legislature actually did something about infrastructure.
That “grid fee” tucked into last week’s special session isn’t playing well with renewable energy types. Says the AP, “Clean-energy boosters are upset by a provision in the jobs and energy bill that Minnesota legislators passed in last week’s special session that would let utilities charge more to customers who produce their own solar or wind energy. As of July 1, a municipal utility or co-op can begin charging new net metering customers who are a part of their electric grid system a ‘reasonable and appropriate’ fee. Net metering is an arrangement between power companies and homeowners who have solar panels on their roofs or farmers with small wind turbines.”
Does this “enthusiasm” permeate the Legislature and the Chamber of Commerce? MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar says, “The call by Pope Francis for the world’s leaders and people to dedicate themselves to curbing climate change is being greeted with enthusiasm in Minnesota. In the pope’s encyclical, or teaching document, he called for people to reduce waste, switch to cleaner forms of energy and redefine progress and development. That struck a chord with Minnesota Catholics who celebrated the pope’s message Thursday in St. Paul. At St. Thomas More Catholic Community on Summit Avenue, they sang, prayed and offered some of their own ideas of how to respond.”
Walker Watch: Reuters reports, “Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is the clear favorite of conservative voters as he readies an expected bid for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2016, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. Walker has gained little traction among the moderate voters who account for the majority of the party, the poll shows. But his strength on the right gives him a good base of support, analysts said. ‘It’s never bad to be the most conservative guy in a Republican primary fight — he could win the nomination that way. The question is can he do so in a way that does not alienate moderates?’ said David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. Walker and Texas Senator Ted Cruz can each claim about a quarter of the most conservative party members, the poll shows.” Ted Cruz. That’s keeping some rare company.