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Supreme Court decision kicks off debate over sports gambling in Minnesota

Plus: Minnesota has some of highest rates of depression in the country; Minneapolis Mayor Frey wants to spend $50 million on affordable housing; West St. Paul residents conduct ‘pad drive’ to protest alleged misogyny by city council; and more.

U.S. Supreme Court building
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

It’ll be like Vegas with slush. After the latest decision by your U.S. Supreme Court, the FOX9 TV story says, “The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act on Monday. The move allows any state to legalize and regulate sports gambling, including Minnesota. ‘This is like Sunday liquor sales on cocaine,’ Rep. Pat Garofalo said.  Garofalo is pushing for sports gambling legalization and is drafting a bill for the Legislature to discuss to make gambling on sporting events in Minnesota a reality. … This Minnesota Legislative session ends next week and it is unlikely that anything will pass in the next few days, but Garofalo wants to start the conversation about a multi-billion dollar a year business in the U.S.”

Over at the Star Tribune J. Patrick Coolican says, “Any legislation to allow sports gambling in Minnesota will face tough resistance from a broad coalition of opponents including Christian conservatives, but also liberals concerned about consumers being exploited by gambling companies. ‘We will mount a vigorous challenge to any bill introduced,’ said Jake Grassel, the executive director of Citizens Against Gambling Expansion. … Grassel acknowledged the black market for sports gambling, but said legalizing it would bring it into the mainstream, especially among young people.” 

Wait, I thought we were happy? Stribber Rachel Chazin says, “Minnesota has nearly the highest rates of major depression in the country, according to a new report from Blue Cross Blue Shield of America. The data examined medical claims from more than 41 million commercially insured Blue Cross Blue Shield members from 2013 to 2016 and compared depression rates among states, age groups and gender.” I blame April blizzards.

$50 million. The Star Tribune’s Andy Mannix writes: “Mayor Jacob Frey announced Monday that he wants to put $50 million in his 2019 budget toward making housing more affordable in Minneapolis — more than four times what the city appropriated last year. … The proposal focused on four areas: building more affordable housing units, making it easier to buy a house, preserving cheaper rentals and giving better protection to tenants.”

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Let’s try to be careful, please? The KSTP-TV story says, “The death toll on Minnesota roads this year reached 100 over the weekend, hitting the mark days earlier than a year ago. A release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said Minnesota did not reach 100 road deaths in 2017 until May 15. The 100 fatalities this year include 83 motor vehicle occupants, five motorcyclists (compared to six at this time a year ago), 11 pedestrians (compared to 12 at this point last year) and one bicyclist (compared to zero at this time last year). … A total of 71 percent of those killed so far this year have been male.”

Likewise. This from KSTP-TV, “The number of people who died from the synthetic opioid fentanyl surged in 2017. A preliminary report released Monday by the Minnesota Health Department says there were 172 deaths involving synthetic opioids in 2017. A total of 156, or 91 percent, of those deaths listed fentanyl as a contributing factor. The number of overall synthetic opioid deaths increased 74 percent from 2016.”

Says Tim Harlow in the Strib, “HyreCar has Twin Cities drivers who need wheels so they can work for Uber, Lyft or another ride-sharing company. Starting Tuesday, the California-based company will put them in touch. Call it the Airbnb of the ride-sharing business. In another innovation in the ever-evolving and expanding car-sharing industry, this service matches wannabe chauffeurs with people  willing to rent out their private vehicles by the day, week or month.With its foray into Minnesota, HyreCar now operates in 35 states. The company also begins service in Iowa and Hawaii on Tuesday.”

Finally, in the PiPress Nick Ferraro says, “An overflow crowd attended West St. Paul City Council’s Monday night meeting to drop off feminine products as a show of protest over alleged misogyny. Resident Samantha Green organized a “West Saint Paul Pad Drive” last month after someone put a box of Carefree pads outside the home of Mayor Jenny Halverson. … Two days earlier, at a city council meeting, Halverson recommended that Green and two other women be appointed to the city’s planning commission. Green’s appointment failed on a 4-2 vote, prompting some to allege it failed because of sexism by male council members.”