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State Senate passes tax bill

Plus: northern Minnesota officials want Enbridge to cover costs of dealing with pipeline protesters; Vikings to turn off practice facility lights at night; I-94 near downtown Minneapolis shutting down this weekend; and more.

Minnesota Senate
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

The AP’s Kyle Potter reports: “The Minnesota Senate on Thursday passed its plan to sync Minnesota’s taxes with the federal government while modestly cutting income tax rates, the final piece of a three-way debate over taxes at the Capitol this year. … The Senate bill would cut tax rates on the first income bracket from 5.35 percent to 5.1 percent, benefiting nearly all taxpayers because it applies to the first $26,000 of income for a single earner. The bill also sought to preserve many popular tax deductions, like on tuition expenses … . It passed on a 34-32 vote, over Democratic objections that it should have benefited middle-class taxpayers more.”

The winning just keeps coming. Mario Parker at Bloomberg reports, “The world’s biggest oilseed processor just confirmed one of the soybean market’s biggest fears: China has essentially stopped buying U.S. supplies amid the brewing trade war. ‘Whatever they’re buying is non-U.S.,’ Bunge Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Soren Schroder said in a telephone interview Wednesday. … In a move that caught many in U.S. agriculture by surprise, China last month announced planned tariffs on American shipments of soybeans. As the market waited for the measure to take effect, there was some hope among traders and shippers alike that relations between the nations could ease in the meantime and the trade flow would continue. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, at least for now, according to Bunge.” Perhaps we could sell them e-pulltabs?

Says Steve Karnowski in the AP, “County officials in northern Minnesota are worried about large-scale protests if Enbridge Energy gets approval to replace its Line 3 crude oil pipeline and have asked regulators to find a way to force the company to cover the costs to local governments. Susan Morris, president of the Association of Minnesota Counties, made the request in a letter filed with the state Public Utilities Commission, which is expected to decide next month whether to approve the project and, if it’s approved, what route it should take across Minnesota.”

Hot from Inside Edition, on Minnesota’s alleged killer granny. “Lois Riess’ son says he’s stunned she’s been accused of killing two people — including his father — and claims she was a ‘good lady.’ ‘It’s unbelievable’, Braden Riess, 30, told Inside Edition in an exclusive interview that will air in full Thursday. ‘I can’t wrap my head around it. My mom was a good lady’. … Braden, her youngest son, said she’d struggled with a gambling addiction before her alleged crimes.” 

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A little less Vegas, please. Stribber Erin Adler says, “The Minnesota Vikings are turning off the lights on the team’s new practice facility in Eagan at night, bowing to neighbor complaints about a bright glow over their once quiet — and dark — suburban neighborhood. The team said Thursday they will kill the lights from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., except on team event nights, when they will keep the lights on an extra hour.” Why are they on at 11 at night?

Good. Says Tim Harlow for the Strib, “A state trooper stopped a pickup truck driver in northwestern Minnesota last month and wrote him a citation for texting and driving. It was not the driver’s first violation. The 25-year-old was using his phone to pay the fine for the ticket he got for texting and driving just two weeks before. Far from an isolated case, repeat offenders make up a growing number of the 1,500 citations to motorists caught texting and driving during a two-week enforcement campaign in April. … Citations have risen from 1,707 six years ago to 7,357 last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.”

Who would? Says MPR, “State health officials are urging anglers not to eat fish they catch in two popular Twin Cities lakes, citing new evidence about a chemical contaminant found in fish that led the agency to cut the standard considered safe for consumption. The Minnesota Department of Health on Thursday cautioned people against eating any fish caught from Lake Elmo in the east metro or any largemouth bass from Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, pointing the finger at perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS.” 

After last winter, just leave town. Also from MPR, Nancy Yang says, “A portion of Interstate 94 near downtown Minneapolis is shutting down this weekend in both directions. And that’s not all — it’ll happen again the next two weekends, weather permitting. The road closures — I-94 between Interstate 394 and Interstate 35W — will begin at 10 p.m. Fridays and last until 5 a.m. Mondays.”

Calling Walter Sobchek. Sarah Horner of the PiPress says, “When the bartender at Vogel’s Lounge told John Wesley Dornfeld that the East Side establishment was done serving alcohol for the night, the 25-year-old took matters into his own hands, authorities say. … Wielding a baseball bat, Dornfeld began smashing the windows of the bartender’s 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser parked outside the establishment, including the vehicle’s front windshield, a back window, three driver’s side windows and a tail light, according to the complaint. The damage cost more than $10,000 to repair.”