Apparently even a penny a pill is too much. MPR’s Tim Pugmire reports, “House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said he expects to pass a major bill this session to fight opioid abuse. Last week, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and a bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed an opioid measure that would rely on a penny-a-pill fee from drug companies to fund prevention and treatment. Daudt said that might not be the way to go. ‘I’m not sure if it will pass exactly in that form, but we’re going to take some big steps this year to curb the opioid addiction problem,’ he said. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, also wants to put more money toward fighting opioid abuse, but he too has reservations about the proposed fee. Gazelka said drug companies already pay a lot in taxes.”
Just a meeting. J. Patrick Coolican of the Strib tells us, “A group of about 100 of Minnesota’s richest, most politically engaged Republicans filed into a common room last week at the Edition, a chic but anonymous apartment complex in downtown Minneapolis. The host was former Gov. Tim Pawlenty. He offered no meal, no coffee, no water. What he offered instead was something far more valuable than the usual cinnamon danish and burned coffee: an opportunity to get in on his own potential comeback bid, which Pawlenty fans see as the best chance for Republicans to take back the governor’s office from the DFL, in a race shaping up as the most significant and wide open in years. ‘There was no place to hang your coat,’ marveled one participant.”
This is good, except for the part about the backlog existing at all. In the PiPress we have Christopher Magan writing, “State leaders say they’ve tackled more than three-quarters of the backlog of maltreatment complaints from seniors and vulnerable adults at long-term care facilities. Minnesota began 2018 with 3,147 reports of abuse and maltreatment that needed to be reviewed or investigated. An intense triage effort at the state Health Department’s Office of Health Facility Complaints, OHFC, has knocked that number down to 712 complaints that still need to be resolved.”
Will not be receiving a plaque from Edina city leaders. In the Wisconsin State Journal we learn, “Former UW-Madison student Alec Cook, accused of sexual assault, stalking and other offenses mostly involving female UW students, will plead guilty on Wednesday to five criminal charges, one of his lawyers said Monday, days ahead of the first of seven anticipated trials against Cook that were to begin next week. … Cook, 21, of Edina, Minnesota, has been expelled from UW-Madison and was to stand trial next week before a Dane County judge in a Jefferson County courtroom before a Jefferson County jury on six counts involving a woman who told police Cook became too sexually aggressive with her.”
Esme Murphy at WCCO-TV puts some numbers to Minnesota congresspeople taking precious Second Amendment money from the NRA. “The issue of NRA donations has already proved slippery for one major Minnesota political figure. Last fall, in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting that killed 58, Congressman Tim Walz, the leading DFL candidate for governor donated nearly $19,000 of NRA contributions to a veterans group. Walz’s move came after the donations were flagged by two of his Democratic opponents who show no sign of letting up their attacks. ‘The bottom line is he took the money,’ Professor Larry Jacobs said. Democratic Congressman Colin Peterson and Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen have each received $20,000 in NRA donations in recent years.” Walz will be ’splainin’ that one.
Related. Pete Kotz at City Pages writes, “Are you tired of keeping track of America’s endless mass shootings at schools, jobs, nightclubs, concerts, etc., etc., etc.? Do you worry about getting carpal tunnel from continually typing your thoughts and prayers? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easier way to show your artificial concern? One that didn’t require work? Or any caring at all? Introducing Thoughts & Prayers, the new app that allows you to conspicuously care with no effort whatsoever! Simply load the app to your phone. It automatically tracks national tragedies, issuing your thoughts and prayers before any of your Facebook friends! With a record 375 mass shootings in the last year alone, think of all the time you’ll save!” Video at link. It’d be funnier if it weren’t so apt.
The Strib tosses in a bit more to enrage the “patriots” fighting to protect our precious Second Amendment rights. “In his short address to the nation last week, President Donald Trump focused on the mental health aspect of the tragedy but said nothing about guns. And just two days before the Parkland shooting, the Trump administration proposed a budget that would cut millions in federal aid for mental health and school safety programs. The president’s spending plan would result in major cuts to mental health services provided within the Medicaid program that serves more than 70 million low-income and disabled people. His proposal would also deliver a 37 percent cut to an Education Department grant program that supports safer schools, reducing it by $25 million from the current level of $67.5 million. Funds targeted for reduction or elimination in the education budget plan have helped pay for things such as school counselors, violence prevention programs and mental health assistance. The recommended spending would zero out a $400 million grant program that districts can use, for example, to prevent bullying or provide mental health services.”