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State could lose $2 billion in assistance under GOP health bill

Plus: the global reach of University of Minnesota women’s volleyball; growing number of Minnesota attorneys facing discipline; CEO of Sun Country is out; and more.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

How much is left in that cigarette fund? Erin Golden and Glenn Howatt at the Strib say, “Minnesota would lose about $2 billion in federal dollars for medical assistance programs in just 18 months if Congress passes the Republican-sponsored health care bill now under consideration in the Senate, according to a state analysis released Wednesday. The estimate by the Department of Human Services (DHS) found those funding losses would multiply in subsequent years, with the state projected to lose $10.4 billion by 2025 and $31 billion by 2030 … .” 

Well, it’s not like the Vikings or the Twins are going to do it. In the PiPress, a Dane Mizutani story comes with the headline, “Gophers volleyball ‘putting Minnesota on the map’ internationally.” The story says, “No school, in fact, can say it has more players on Team USA’s preliminary roster than the Gophers. While the roster is still very much in flux, and will undoubtedly look much different before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the fact that nearly one-fourth of the current roster graduated from the same school is pretty remarkable.”

Also in the Strib, this from Dave Chanen, “A growing number of Minnesota attorneys are facing discipline, with the most frequent violations ranging from lack of diligence on cases to poor communication with clients. The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility publicly sanctioned 44 attorneys in 2016. … While the number was higher than previous yearly averages, it didn’t reach the record 65 attorneys disciplined in 2015, according to the office’s annual report released Wednesday.”

MPR’s Dan Kraker reports on the new focus for many who protested against the Dakota Access Pipeline: “Many of those same activists, though, are focusing now on Minnesota where Enbridge Energy hopes to build a new pipeline to replace its aging Line 3. Activists are pressing Minnesota officials now to deny the permit and kill the project. State officials and company executives working to head off a confrontation say they’re doing more than ever to listen to the concerns of those in the pipeline’s potential path. That may not be enough to stop a confrontation.”

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BumpedThe Strib’s Kristen Leigh Painter reports: “The chairman of Sun Country Airlines has fired its president and chief executive following several challenging months for the Eagan-based carrier. Marty Davis informed staff Wednesday that Zarir Erani, who has led the company since 2015, is no longer with Sun Country. The Davis family, which owns a number of well-known Minnesota companies including Cambria and Davis Family Dairies, bought the airline in 2011.”

And you thought you were the only one with this idea. In the PiPress Bob Shaw says, “Mark Connolly is chasing shadows. ‘… He will be part of what’s expected to be a big migration in U.S. history — as millions of Americans travel to see the shadow of the moon cross the continental U.S. The last time a solar eclipse could be seen coast-to-coast was 1918, and the next one will be in 2024.” 

Speaking of North Dakota, could we find a way to save Matt Damon if he was marooned there? A Forum News Service story by Andrew Haffner says, “Mars is famously known to be a red planet, but the UND rugby field just off Interstate 29 in Grand Forks is downright green. The difference wouldn’t matter if it weren’t for the Martian colony that’s been growing like an odd assortment of mushrooms on a neighboring stretch of grass. The little village of five modules, each a white cylinder about 20 feet long and enclosed in a soft, inflatable casing, make up a newly expanded UND space studies test site created with NASA funding to conduct research that could one-day guide astronauts settling on far-away worlds.”