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Hundreds rally at Minnesota Capitol to protest gun violence

Plus: Legislature restores $130 million operating budget; prosecutors charge high school student over threat against Orono school district; bipartisan group of lawmakers team looks to address child hunger; and more.

Minnesota State Capitol
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

On yesterday’s anti-gun rally at the Capitol, Youseff Rddad of the AP says, “Hundreds of demonstrators in orange shirts and scarves filled the Minnesota Capitol rotunda on Thursday, waving signs critical of the National Rifle Association, chanting ‘Save our kids!’ and urging lawmakers to act to prevent more mass shootings of children. … The anti-gun violence group Protect Minnesota, an organizer of the rally, is seeking support for a pair of bills related to guns and public health. One measure would let the state Health Department collect information on gun ownership for health research in a way that supporters say wouldn’t reveal identifiable information. Sen. Matt Klein, a Democrat from Mendota Heights, said expanded data collection would allow public health professionals to study where gun violence and other factors like mental illness intersect.”

At least until we can turn every teacher into Wild Bill Hickok. Faiza Mahamud of the Strib writes, “Specialized glass to slow down a shooter. Panic buzzers. Electronic locks and high-tech cameras. Enhanced security features have become an urgent priority for Minnesota schools coping with the threat of mass shootings in their buildings. … Wold Architects and Engineers in St. Paul works with 50 school districts around Minnesota and is now using CPTED [Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design] elements in its designs to improve security. … Anoka-Hennepin, the state’s largest school district, is devoting $133 million over the next four years to make its schools more secure.” 

RestoredAlso from the AP, Kyle Potter reports: “The Minnesota Legislature moved quickly on Thursday to restore its $130 million operating budget, putting the months-long legal battle with Gov. Mark Dayton over his veto of that funding behind to rest as the legislative session gears up. After months of bickering and a costly legal case that consumed much of the spring, summer and fall of 2017, Thursday’s votes brought the battle between branches of government to an unceremonious close. The approval by the House and the Senate comes just two days into the new legislative session, and Dayton has said he’ll sign it.”

Charged. Says Matt Sepic for MPR, “Prosecutors have charged a west Twin Cities metro high school student in connection with an online threat against the Orono school district Wednesday. Chuck Laszewski, a spokesperson for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, said because the boy is a juvenile, the specific charges prosecutors have filed against him are not public. Laszewski said the student is younger than 16, but declined to reveal his exact age. Laszewski said because the boy is so young, County Attorney Mike Freeman is not likely to try to have him certified to be charged as an adult.”

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Says Tim Nelson at MPR, “Minnesota Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen on Thursday offered a list of ideas he’d support to prevent more gun violence like the shootings that killed 17 people at a Florida high school last week. Asked about the incident, he said he would support a ban on so-called bump stocks, that can dramatically increase the rates of fire of semi-automatic guns. He also said he’d like to see the FBI address its failings in the Florida case and strengthening background checks.” So maybe an armed FBI agent in every classroom?

Ok. For the PiPress, Christopher Magan reports, “A bipartisan group of lawmakers say they are teaming up to fix what they call Minnesota’s most ‘solvable problem’ — child hunger. State Reps. Erin Maye Quade, DFL-Apple Valley, and Rod Hamilton, R- Mountain Lake, announced Thursday they were forming a child hunger caucus to raise awareness and find new ways to feed hungry kids. … A 2015 Pioneer Press report found the number of Minnesota students who qualify for free or reduced-priced meals, a federal poverty indicator, rose by 64 percent in suburban schools over the past decade.”

On second thought. A St. Cloud Times story says, “The house will stand. A September order to remove a Rockville lake home for zoning violations was reversed in a court ruling issued Tuesday. Thomas and Holly Ruether sued neighbor Kathleen Mimbach and her grandson, Matt Mimbach, after the Mimbachs began renovating their Grand Lake home in November 2015. According to the Ruethers, the Mimbachs misrepresented the expansion project on permit applications and violated city regulations. A judge ordered the removal of the Mimbachs’ home in September for violating the city ordinance. The Mimbachs filed motions to amend the judge’s order.”

Like weather jargon? Here’s this on our snow event via KMSP-TV: “This will be one of those storms that everyone will get roughly the same amount of snow, meaning large snow gradients or banding is NOT expected. This storm has more widespread light areas of vertical lift, what we meteorologists call isentropic lift. This type of event is not conducive for large amounts of snow, nor is it conducive for big gradients. It’s very common for everyone to get roughly the same amount.” At least they didn’t call it ‘the white stuff.’

And speaking of the weather. For the Strib, Paul Douglas says: “I wouldn’t be surprised to see some 10-12″ amounts (total between the 2 storms) by  Sunday. Making up for lost time.”