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Dayton offers to pare down his requirements for special session

Plus: Dennis Hastert reports to Rochester prison; more on the trouble at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system; MOA getting a ‘lesser known’ Versace brand; and more.

Gov. Mark Dayton
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

Well, it’s a start. Tim Pugmire and Brian Bakst at MPR write, “DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is offering to roll back some of his requirements for a special session, if it helps to reach a deal with House Republicans. A day after negotiations with top lawmakers stalled, Dayton made a new play. He told MPR News Wednesday that he’s willing to give up half of his $186 million list of additional bonding projects that he outlined to House and Senate leaders three weeks ago. … Dayton’s new offer means the potential loss of other items on his list, including a state security hospital upgrade, the next phase of improvements to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, a new Fort Snelling visitor center and several state park and trail projects.” 

Mike Milstead, a director on the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce board has this to say, in a Strib commentary. “For months, the governor has been critical of the Legislature for not working across party lines. On the tax bill, it did — only to have the bill vetoed. That’s not the positive reinforcement the Legislature needs right now. Nor will it help to accomplish another one of the governor’s major objectives: a transportation finance bill. Getting a transportation bill passed will require compromise. The business community and many legislators understand this. The governor needs to show that he does, too.” 

And don’t think of repainting or changing out the curtains. For NBC Chicago, Phil Rogers says, “Wearing a black shirt, camouflage pants, and the worried look of a man whose life is about to change in ways he could never have imagined, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert surrendered Wednesday to the Federal prison in Rochester, Minnesota.”

Someone’s got to do it. Says John Enger for MPR, “Mike Hexum says he first saw Bigfoot from a homemade deer stand on Minnesota’s Iron Range. He was 14 years old then, old enough for his father to send him alone into the woods with a sandwich and a rifle. ‘He walked into a shooting lane 30 feet in front of me,’ Hexum recalls. ‘I thought it was a guy. A big dark guy with a prehistoric face on it. Of course I freaked out. I couldn’t get out of the woods fast enough.’ He told his father what he saw, and his father told him never to talk about it. ‘He said it would embarrass the family,’ Hexum says.” Smart man, dad.

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Not what you’d call making serious progress. Says Randy Furst for the Strib, “Six years after the scandal-ridden Metro Gang Strike Force settled a $3 million class-action lawsuit, a key requirement of that agreement has yet to be realized. The settlement called for creation of a training course for law enforcement to address such issues as civil rights, racial and ethnic sensitivity and seizure procedures so the misbehavior of the now-defunct unit would not be repeated. … But three years later, there is still no program and the nature of the proposed educational training has been altered.” 

I repeat, pretty much a mess. The AP is saying, “A new report says the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is facing dire financial challenges and that delays in addressing them will only make things worse. The work group that spent eight months on the report says declining state funding may mean big changes for the system’s 37 colleges and universities, which educate nearly 400,000 students a year. Recommendations for dealing with the financial difficulties include consolidating duplicated services across the state, adopting more flexible labor practices and streamlining curriculum.

Really? This is controversial? Says Frederick Melo in the PiPress, “A mandatory sick-leave policy to apply citywide to St. Paul public and private employers continues to draw debate as it makes its way through hearings before it reaches the city council, possibly later this summer. During a crowded public hearing this week, members of St. Paul’s Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity Commission heard from supporters and opponents.” Someone’s calling it a “job killer,” you just know.

Following the Allina nurses strike, Jeremy Olson of the Strib has this story. “A replacement nurse from Georgia stopped working at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids Wednesday, citing concerns about the quality of patient care while the hospital’s regular nurses are on strike.” Personally, I’d take two aspirins and wait until next week.

Heart be still. Kavita Kumar of the Strib reports, “A lesser-known Versace brand is trying to make its mark in the U.S. and is getting started by opening one of its first stores at the Mall of America. The name is a mouthful — Versace 19.69 Abbigliamento Sportivo Srl — but it goes by Versace 19.69 for short. The Mall of America store will open this fall … .” 

Eh, it was worth a shot. Steve Karnowski for the AP says, “DNA test results show a Colorado prison inmate is not Prince’s son, a person who has seen a sealed document said Wednesday. The finding means that Carlin Q. Williams is not entitled to inherit a fortune worth up to $300 million.”

Nothing to see here, Senator. Also in the Strib, Spencer and Joe Carlson write, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is defending a decision to accept more than 1,000 patient injury reports from Medtronic in summary form, years after they were supposed to be submitted. The FDA responded earlier this month to questions from U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota by saying it took no action against Medtronic for the late reporting of a study of its Infuse bone graft because the information was consistent with data the agency already had. … In the FDA’s response to Franken, Acting Associate Commissioner for Legislation Dayle Cristinzio said the agency determined that ‘no enforcement actions were warranted’ because the Medtronic study did not reveal new information.”