GOP lawmakers renew calls to abandon MNsure

Rep. Greg Davids
State Rep. Greg Davids

They can’t wait to kill it. MPR’s Mark Zdechlik says, “Two Republican members of the Minnesota House on Monday renewed calls to dismantle the state’s online health insurance website and send Minnesotans to the federal health insurance exchange. … Describing MNsure as an entity that does more harm than good, [Rep. Matt ] Dean and [Rep. Greg] Davids, R-Preston, called for the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee to evaluate the insurance exchange.” I suppose it feels like repealing Obamacare.  

If you’ve been out of the city recently you may have noticed the crops are doing exceptionally well. Says the AP: “Minnesota’s soybean and small grains continue developing well ahead of last year’s pace. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop report, 63 percent of Minnesota’s soybean crop was blooming or beyond. That’s almost two weeks ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the five-year average. With 6 percent of soybeans setting pods, the crop’s condition is rated 78 percent good to excellent.”

Also outdoors, the Nabokov butterfly. Says John Myers in the Duluth News Tribune, “The Nabokov’s blue perched on a dwarf bilberry plant and spread its wings, apparently content to sun itself as cameras clicked close by. This, those of us watching agreed, is what we came for. The tiny, bright blue butterfly might be small in stature, but its unique coloration makes up for it in sheer sartorial splendor. And this clearing, about 20 miles north of Two Harbors, is by far the best place in Minnesota to find them. On a warm day last week, the Nabokov’s blues — named after the famous Russian author and butterfly fan — seemed to be everywhere … .” A moment to remember next January.

Thinking of selling your old barn? Now’s the time. The Strib’s real estate guy, Jim Buchta says, “In the midst of the peak shopping season, houses in the Twin Cities metro sold at a record pace in June. Both closed and pending sales reached 10-year highs and, with buyers outpacing sellers in some parts of the metro, houses on average sold in an unprecedented 66 days, according to a monthly report from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.” You will of course have to relocate to South Dakota.

The question of “blood quantum,” a good name for a pulp mystery novel, is again in the air. Says Paula Quam of the Forum News Service, “There could soon be more people signing up as members of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. The MCT Executive Committee, which is made up of two people from each of the six bands in the state (the secretary treasurer and the chairperson for each band), recently voted to move forward with a resolution that could result in amending the MCT constitution. The two-pronged resolution addresses the issue of blood quantum and the MCT’s requirement that all enrolled members born after July 3, 1961 have at least one-quarter Minnesota Chippewa Indian blood, derived from one of its six bands.”

Here’s an evergreen headline, “NAACP demands police reform.” Stribber Marcus Howard says, “The Minneapolis NAACP branch on Monday called for changes to law enforcement practices after video footage surfaced that showed a Metro Transit officer slamming a young man to the ground during a recent arrest for not paying the fare. In the video, an officer appears to be handcuffing a man who has his hands behind his back. When the suspect makes a slight movement, the officer is seen throwing the handcuffed man to the ground, where they both land. Other officers immediately surround the two men. The man in the video, Draon Armstrong, 21, of Minneapolis, is black. NAACP officials described the officer’s actions as ‘excessive force’ … .”

West metro drivers! Abandon all hope! Says Tim Harlow in the Strib, “Morning commuters on I-394 didn’t run into gridlock Monday. In fact, it was a fairly normal commute despite all inbound traffic sharing the general purpose lanes. … [said Bobbie Dahlke, a MnDOT spokeswoman] traffic on I-394 and all across the metro was lighter than normal for a Monday, offering one explanation why traffic didn’t bunch up as predicted. But she said, commuters should not assume the rest of the week will go as smoothly and that MnDOT was crying wolf. ‘This doesn’t mean everybody should go there,’ she said.”

Apparently they recognize a growth industry when they see one. Martin Moylan of MPR writes, “In one out of an estimated 7,000 operations, the surgical team leaves something behind — a sponge, towel or gauze, for example. Now Medtronic is buying a company whose products can help find those items. California-based RF Surgical Systems embeds surgical materials with low-radio frequency tags that can be detected by passing a wand over a patient.” And who pays to cut you back open?

Jazz is back in St. Paul. PiPress music writer Ross Raihala says, “Affordable and approachable are two key words Lowell Pickett uses to describe Vieux Carre, the new club that opens Tuesday in the former Artists’ Quarter space in the basement of St. Paul’s Hamm Building. ‘The cover charge will be $10 or lower because it was important for us to be affordable’, said Pickett, co-owner of Minneapolis’ Dakota Jazz Club, which is running Vieux Carre.”

Walker Watch. Just a quick one this morning. No doubt you watched his coming out speech yesterday afternoon. With all that talk about “turning things around”? The Washington Post’s Philip Bump begs to remind his readers, few of whom are part of Walker’s target demo I’m guessing: “Buried in the video announcing Scott Walker’s candidacy for president, there’s a quick mention of an issue that when he was first running for governor was key: Fifth on a list of six things Walker did is ‘created jobs.’ Which he did (if you’re the sort of person who thinks politicians can create jobs). The most recent monthly data shows 2.9 million people working in Wisconsin. His first month in office, the number was 2.7 million. It’s still short of the 250,000 jobs Walker promised, but it’s a net-positive. … If you compare [Rick] Perry and Walker directly, looking at how their states’ jobs grew compared to the national change each month since Walker took office, the same holds. Between 2011 and 2015, Texas beat the national job picture; Walker trailed it.”  

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