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Minnesota House passes bill restricting city governments

Plus: nationwide effort by Republicans to limit protests; New Ulm diocese files for bankruptcy; former Starkey exec charged with tax evasion; and more.

Minnesota State Capitol
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Think how much money we could save if we just eliminated city government altogether. MPR’s Tim Nelson reports: “The Republican-controlled Minnesota House has passed a proposal that would block local minimum wage measures and the paid sick leave ordinances set to go into effect this summer in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The vote followed a demonstration and sharp words between lawmakers over local control, and workers’ rights versus business needs. … The so-called pre-emption measure would bar cities from setting their own labor regulations. That’s been a hot-button issue, particularly in Minneapolis, where advocates have been pushing the city to set a new $15-an-hour minimum wage, higher than the state’s standard. … After hours of debate, the measure passed 76-53 on a mostly party-line vote. … Next, a similar measure is set to be considered in the state Senate.”

In other Republican legislative-effort news, The New York Times’ Mitch Smith and Michael Wines connect a Minnesota bill to a national trend: “In a season rife with demonstrations over immigration, pipelines, abortion, women’s rights and more, Republican legislators in at least 16 states have filed bills intended to make protests more orderly or to toughen penalties against ones that go awry. Republicans in two other states, Massachusetts and North Carolina, have said they will file protest-related bills. … Those numbers include only bills whose sponsors have specifically linked them to protests, said Jonathan Griffin, a policy analyst who tracks the measures at the National Conference of State Legislatures. How many will be enacted is unclear; a few already have been pronounced dead in committee.”

Another Catholic banrukptcy. MPR’s Martin Moylan reports: “New Ulm became the third Minnesota diocese, and the 14th nationwide, to enter bankruptcy, listing alleged abuse victims as its greatest unsecured creditors. … Potential settlements of abuse claims could exceed the ability of the diocese to pay. In bankruptcy, the church can try to reorganize its operations and finances and develop a compensation plan for abuse survivors.”

The plot thickens. The Star Tribune’s Dee Depass writes: “Another shoe dropped this week in the $15 million Starkey Laboratories embezzlement case, as the U.S. attorney filed a tax evasion charge against another former executive. … The government late Wednesday charged Jeffrey Lee Longtain with one count of filing a false tax return, making him the sixth person charged in the case. The charge was outlined in a felony information court filing that described a series of complicated schemes that allegedly resulted in Longtain receiving Starkey money improperly and then underreporting that income to the IRS from 2010 through 2015 … .”

In other news…

Not surprisingly, Wells Fargo is in the doghouse: “Companies With the Best (and Worst) Reputations” [24/7 Wall Street]

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Not really an outdoors guy: “Trump slashes Great Lakes funding by 97 percent in early budget plan” [M Live]

New chapter: “Augsburg College to become a university in fall” [Star Tribune]

The care continuum: “Homeless after hospital stays: new St. Paul respite care intervenes” [MPR]

Um, wow: “Columnist Suggests Adrian Peterson Hit His Kid Because He Might Be Descended From Slaves” [Deadspin]

Farewell: “Polka legend Wally Pikal dies at 90” [KARE]