Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Minnesota GOP leaders noncommittal on supporting Trump

Plus: Minnesota Senate bans cellphone cases that look like guns; Hennepin County opens office dedicated to firearm applications; feds now involved in investigating Prince’s death; and more.

Minnesota House Majority Leader Kurt Daudt and Majority Leader Joyce Peppin
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

Excuse me sir, and m’am, I didn’t quite catch that. Rachel Stassen-Berger in the PiPress writes, “On Wednesday, Republican Minnesota House Majority Leader Kurt Daudt and Majority Leader Joyce Peppin were asked whether they support Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump. Four minutes — and multiple questions from reporters — later, neither quite said they would, or they wouldn’t. ‘I don’t think you can say that I will support him or not support him, I’m not saying either one,’ Daudt, R-Stanford Township, said.”

At WCCO-TV, Pat Kessler has this: “The strongest Trump endorsement came from a Democrat. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton — a Hillary Clinton supporter — praised Trump as a master strategist. ‘I don’t underestimate him,’ Dayton said. ‘I think he’s been underestimated throughout this process by people who have done so at their peril.’” You have to be careful with anyone who knows what “the people” want to hear.

At MPR, Brian Bakst says, “Even if Trump doesn’t win the state or keep it competitive, some longtime Republicans says he could shuffle some races such as the Minnesota 8th Congressional District rematch between incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, a Democrat, and challenger Stewart Mills. Trump’s protectionist view on trade will resonate in northeastern Minnesota where the steel industry has suffered in the face of cheap Chinese exports, said Kent Kaiser, who teaches a course on political communication at the University of Northwestern in Roseville. Kaiser, who holds deep personal ties to the 8th District and Republican politics, said he believes Trump’s blunt, populist style will help draw the region’s voters to him who might also back other Republicans in the area.”

Great, but what about the guns that look like cellphones? Says the AP, “With little debate, the Minnesota Senate on Wednesday passed a ban on cellphone cases designed to look like handguns. Lawmakers first called attention to the look-alike cases last summer, arguing they’re bound to be mistaken for a real firearm and could lead to a disaster. The Senate’s unanimous vote to ban them puts the measure in the hands of the House, where lawmakers have also expressed support for the ban.”

Article continues after advertisement

Meanwhile, say Paul Walsh and Karen Zamora in the Strib, “Hennepin County, responding to need, has opened its first office dedicated solely to issuing permits to people seeking to legally carry a firearm. The sheriff in the state’s most populous county on Tuesday pointed to the growing demand and his duty to better ensure residents’ rights for the opening this week of the new application office in Brooklyn Park. … A spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association both said they are unaware of any other counties in the state having taken the same step in expanding the process for accepting applications. Permit applications were up 16 percent in Hennepin County last year, to 6,421.

We promise. Trust us. Don Davis of the Forum News Service reports, “Railroads carrying hazardous materials across Minnesota came forward Wednesday with a plan to pay more for safer road crossings and training. ‘The railroads plan to step forward and assist beyond that they usually do,’ railroad lobbyist John Apitz told state House and Senate transportation funding negotiators. Railroad representatives say they will increase funding for new bridges over highways in Moorhead, Coon Rapids and the Prairie Island Indian Community near Red Wing. Democratic legislation called for railroads to pay most of the costs, but the railroads’ plan falls short of that.” The plan can be reassessed after the next accident.

The feds are getting into the Prince case. Says Dave Chanen at the Strib, “Federal law enforcement officials said Wednesday that they have joined local authorities in the investigation into Prince’s death. … The DEA has a special division dedicated to drug diversion investigations. … Sources have told the Star Tribune that the death investigation focuses on Prince’s opioid use.”

Also, you can bet the IRS is keeping an eye on these numbers. Says Chris Riemenschneider in the Strib, “Prince is breaking new ground when it comes to album sales in the wake of his death. Minneapolis’ rock icon set a new record by landing five titles simultaneously in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 album chart. It’s the first time an artist has accomplished that since the chart was created in 1963 — a feat that can be partly attributed to his music not being available on most digital streaming sites. … All told, Prince sold what Billboard itself called ‘a staggering’ 4.41 million albums from the day after his April 21 death to the chart cutoff day last Thursday.

Philanthropy talk. In the PiPress, Maya Beckstrom says, “Leaders from local foundations — with names like McKnight, Bush, St. Paul Foundation and Cargill — joined colleagues from around the country spending three days at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis attending workshops about how to listen better to the nonprofits they fund, build trust, support social change, improve outcomes, hire more people of color and manage their billions of dollars of assets for good. With more than 1,400 foundations in Minnesota and more than $1.3 billion given in 2014 by the top 50 Minnesota foundations, this national conversation around rethinking philanthropy has big local implications.”

At the techie site, John Fitzgerald Weaver says, “A judge in Minnesota suggested that the proper price of the greenhouse gas Carbon Dioxide should be between $11 and $57/ton, ten times larger than current Minnesota estimates. A judge in Washington State recently ruled that the threat of climate change is so urgent that the state must be placed on a court-ordered deadline to hold polluters accountable now. Politicians, Scientists and Economists are all seeming to focus on an Economics style solution to climate change. Are we on the cusp of energetic changes from a legal standpoint? … Unfortunately, without a carbon tax the US has also seen clean nuclear power get undercut in pricing by natural gas, and without nuclear power we might not be able to meet the goals of the Clean Power Plan.”

All is probably not forgotten. Pam Louwagie of the Strib says, “After two years of living under the guard of the state, John LaDue returned to his home Wednesday afternoon under the watchful eyes of the media … . Arrested as a 17-year-old with plans and some materials to carry off a massacre at the local school in April 2014, LaDue on Wednesday rode home a passenger in his dad’s car, emerging on the driveway a more robust 19-year-old clutching a few folders and paper.”

Peter Cox at MPR reports, “At Maverick’s, a strip-mall restaurant in Roseville, the lunch crowd steps up to the counter to order its specialty: roast beef sandwiches. While watching customers move through the restaurant, owner Brett Hazlett says he can’t find enough dependable workers to serve them. He’s currently got six full-time employees, but has a hard time finding more. … Hazlett, who has owned the restaurant since 1999, says the starting wage is around $9 an hour, more depending on experience. Hazlett says margins are too thin to increase wages much more. ‘If minimum wage did go to $15 an hour, I would be gone. There’d be a lot of businesses gone,’ he said.”