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Senate passes bill restricting local control on wage ordinances, workplace rules

Plus: pot legislation goes nowhere at the Capitol; mumps sickens six at U of M; Bud Grant to hold one last garage sale; and more.

Minnesota Senate
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

Preemption. For MPR, Brian Bakst reports: “Legislation that would roll back sick-leave ordinances in Minneapolis and St. Paul and stop cities from setting the local minimum wage higher than the state level passed in the Minnesota Senate Thursday by a vote of 35-31. Once merged with a House-passed bill, the final decision would fall to Gov. Mark Dayton, who isn’t saying what he’ll do. The legislation is called preemption because the state would be restricting what could be done down the government food chain.”

At this rate, Utah will legalize pot before Minnesota. For MPR, Cody Nelson says, “There was a glimmer of hope for marijuana advocates when two bills that made pathways for legalization hit the Minnesota Legislature in February. One proposal would set up regulations for the drug and make it legal for people 21 and older. Another plan would’ve put the legalization question to voters. But as of Thursday — 4/20, the Christmas for stoners across the country — where have those bills gone? Precisely nowhere.” Fear the reefer!

On a rather more serious concern, Melissa Lentz for Fox21 in Duluth says, “U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Minnesota with $5,379,349 to combat opioid addiction. The $5.3 million grant will support an array of prevention, treatment, and recovery services throughout the state.”

Now it’s mumps? Stribber Glenn Howatt says, “An outbreak of the mumps has sickened six students at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, according to an e-mail sent to students and staff Thursday. Dr. Brooks Jackson, vice president for health sciences and dean of the medical school, said the cases had been confirmed by state health officials and that all of them ‘have been mild’. … Mumps outbreaks have been reported on other college campuses recently.”

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Get in line, your honor. MPR’s Tim Pugmire writes, “The chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court is urging state lawmakers to provide adequate funding for the state court system. Chief Justice Lorie Gildea testified Thursday during a conference committee hearing, where House and Senate negotiators were working out the differences between their budget bills for judiciary and public safety.” 

His testimony was not exactly reassuring. But Chris Serres of the Strib reports, “In unusually explicit testimony Thursday, serial rapist Thomas Duvall opened up about his long and violent past, admitting that he still has sexual fantasies about teenage girls that he assaulted more than three decades ago. At the same time, Duvall, 61, displayed bursts of emotion and remorse in the courtroom, insisting that he is capable of managing his sexual impulses after years in treatment and is prepared to move into a supervised home in the community.”

Would you like some activist turmoil with your wings? Also in the Strib, Evan Ramstad writes, “The activist investor seeking changes at Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. launched a new offensive Thursday with his biggest demand of all: the resignation of Sally Smith, who built the company into a juggernaut over two decades as chief executive. Mick McGuire, principal of Marcato Capital, since last summer has pushed Smith and the company’s directors to structure the firm more like its rival Wingstop Inc., which relies heavily on franchisees to own and operate restaurants.”

Better service is certain to follow. Mike Hughlett in the Strib says, “CenturyLink, the state’s dominant provider of landline phone service, will be mostly deregulated after a decision Thursday by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). CenturyLink petitioned the PUC last summer to change its regulatory status, allowing it to be treated as a competitive market telecom provider.” From now on I want all those calls from “Rachel, at Cardholder Services” to come in crystal clear, you hear me?

Buds for you. The PiPress Chris Thomasson is on top of the latest Bud Grant garage sale: “About to turn 90, Bud Grant finally has agreed to have a bobblehead made of his likeness. The legendary Vikings coach has been approached many times about signing off on a bobblehead, but this time was convinced it could be an ideal item to promote his semi-annual garage sale, scheduled this year for May 17-19 at his Bloomington home. The former Vikings coach said this will be his last sale.”