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There’s a long list of things that didn’t get done at the Legislature this year

Plus: longtime Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin fails to get DFL endorsement; Wild hires Nashville’s Paul Fenton as general manager; Stillwater man catches 73-inch lake sturgeon; and more.

Minnesota State Capitol
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Old folks … sorry. Chris Serres of the Strib says, “In a blow to Gov. Mark Dayton and families of elder abuse victims, the 2018 Legislature adjourned without adopting a series of broad-based reforms to Minnesota’s flawed system for protecting vulnerable seniors from maltreatment. Weeks of intense negotiation involving the Dayton administration, Republican legislators and a coalition of senior organizations over a bipartisan deal collapsed over the weekend, leaving few new protections for the estimated 85,000 Minnesotans who live in senior care facilities across the state.”

And then there was the tax mess. At MPR, Briana Bierschbach writes, “As the 2018 session of the Minnesota Legislature ended Sunday night with DFL Gov. Mark Dayton promising to veto the major tax and spending bills passed by majority Republicans, people outside the Capitol were trying to process what exactly the messy finish means for them. … Without conformity, tax forms will be more complicated to fill out, and some Minnesotans could be facing a tax increase. A new governor and Legislature could come back in January and try to pass a deal, but Bystrom said she starts her work for the tax season long before then.”

But think of it as 33 cents on the dollar. In The Minnesota Daily, Madeline Deninger writes, “In the last hour of session Sunday evening, the Minnesota State Legislature passed an $825 million bonding bill, which would fund about one-third of the proposed infrastructure projects across University of Minnesota campuses if confirmed. After a bonding bill failed to pass in the Senate last week, lawmakers amended the proposal and voted on the revised bill Sunday night. The new proposal contained about $79 million of the University’s $238.5 million request, including full funding for the Pillsbury Hall and Glensheen Mansion renewals. The University would also receive $45 million of its requested $200 million in Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement funding.”

A bad season for nuke power. In the Strib, Mike Hughlett says, “Legislation that would have changed the state’s approval process for Xcel Energy’s nuclear power investments — a measure opposed by consumer and business groups — has died in the Minnesota House. The legislation would have essentially allowed Minneapolis-based Xcel to get upfront approval from utility regulators for its nuclear expenses, instead of approval after those investments are made. The Senate passed the bill last week by a vote of 37-29, but it never got out of the House. The utility says the measure would have given it more certainty in recovering at least $1.4 billion in maintenance costs it expects over the next 17 years at its nuclear reactors near Monticello and Red Wing. Critics have claimed the legislation would give Xcel an incentive to aim high on its estimates, in case of any future cost overruns.”

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Also TBD: a MNLARS fix. Says Dave Orrick in the PiPress, “Minnesota’s troubled new computer system for vehicle titles and tabs could get fixed — or it could get worse. Fixing the system, known as MNLARS, and making up for the fallout, were top priorities for both Gov. Mark Dayton and lawmakers when the Legislature convened this winter. Top priorities ran headlong into political realities as the divided government at the Capitol — Dayton is a Democrat and Republicans control both chambers of the Legislature — and in the end, little was addressed in a straightforward manner. … If Dayton does veto that big bill, all bets are off for when — or whether — MNLARS could become fully functional.”

Sign of the times? The Strib’s David Chanen writes: “For the first time in his 27 years on the Hennepin County Board, Peter McLaughlin failed to receive the DFL endorsement during his party’s convention over the weekend. One of his opponents, Angela Conley, received as many as 57 percent of the delegate votes after 10 rounds of balloting. Sixty percent of the 80 delegate votes were needed to earn the endorsement. McLaughlin will still run to keep his seat in the August primary, but the lack of an endorsement is a sign of a changing party.”

Stanley Cup Finals! Says Dane Mizutani for the PiPress, “After a month-long search for the next Wild general manager, owner Craig Leipold has decided that Paul Fenton is the right man for the job. Fenton was viewed as the frontrunner from the get-go and was the first person Leipold and team president Matt Majka interviewed nearly a month ago. He remained the primary target despite a handful of other candidates being brought in for interviews over the past month or so. Fenton, 58, will step in as the third general manager in franchise history, taking over for longtime general manager Chuck Fletcher, with whom Leipold cut ties last month.”

Now this thing is a monster. A Forum News Service story says, “An angler from Stillwater has set a new record for lake sturgeon in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ catch-and-release category. Jack Burke and fishing buddy Michael Orgas were recently on a lake sturgeon fishing trip on the Rainy River in Koochiching County in far northern Minnesota. The duo was having a lot of success fishing for Minnesota’s biggest fish, landing 20 fish in three days including six lake sturgeon more than 60 inches in length before hooking into the new state record – a 73-inch-long lake sturgeon.”