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Supreme Court strikes down Minnesota ban on political apparel at polls

Plus: Blue Cross cuts payments for mental health care; St. Paul council approves South St. Anthony Park development; Waite Park looks to build amphitheater in former quarry; and more.

MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

The Supreme Court has spoken. USA Today’s Richard Wolf reports: “Overly broad state laws that ban wearing political messages inside polling places are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday. … The 7-2 decision struck down a century-old Minnesota law that was challenged by a voter temporarily turned away for wearing a Tea Party shirt and a ‘Please I.D. Me’ button. During oral argument in February, state officials said the law had not been challenged until now. … Chief Justice John Roberts issued the court’s opinion, calling the state’s effort to make polling places less clamorous admirable. But ‘Minnesota has not supported its good intentions with a law capable of reasoned application,’ he said.”

Today in addressing the nation’s mental health crisis… The Star Tribune’s Glenn Howatt reports: “After the state’s largest health insurer cut her pay nearly in half, mental health therapist Kristy Brecke reluctantly stopped taking new clients who are covered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. … The Eagan-based insurer cut mental health therapy reimbursement rates to control what it said were ‘unusually high claims trends,’ a move that has left thousands of mental health clinics scrambling to pay salaries and overhead costs with lower revenue. … Blue Cross said it cut the reimbursement rate for the traditional hourlong therapy session by 18 percent, but added that, on average, clinics would see a 7 to 9 percent reimbursement reduction ‘for their overall business with Blue Cross.’”

St. Paul developments. The Pioneer Press’ Frederick Melo writes: “Just off Raymond Avenue, developer Jamie Stolpestad’s plans to build up to 50 ‘micro apartments’ or small condos on a vacant lot in South St. Anthony Park took an important step forward on Wednesday. … The St. Paul City Council voted 7-0 to rezone the property at 2330 Long Avenue from ‘Traditional neighborhood 2’ to ‘Traditional Neighborhood 3,’ adding 10 feet of maximum height, for a total potential building height of 45 feet. … Stolpestad has proposed two side-by-side projects. Guild842 would consist of up to nine luxury condos next to and above the Lakes and Plains Building, a former union hall at 842 Raymond Ave., which would help pay for the mixed-income project next door on Long Avenue.”

And Waite Park, too. MPR’s Kirsti Marohn reports: “This central Minnesota city on the west side of St. Cloud is moving forward with plans to turn an old granite mining site into an outdoor entertainment complex. … The project got a jump-start earlier this year when the Legislature targeted it for $5 million in its bonding bill. … The idea for an outdoor amphitheater started about three years ago, when the mining company Martin Marietta donated 12 acres of land to the city. The property includes two quarries filled with water.”

In other news…

If you enjoy watching others’ misfortune:West St. Paul Traffic Stop Goes from Bad to Worse in Viral Video” [KSTP]

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In Mankato:Pizza craving leads to vandalism charges” [Mankato Free Press]

Is there anything branding can’t save?Small Minnesota towns turn to branding agencies to ‘save’ their cities” [Star Tribune]

More like Nice Rode:Nice Ride pulls bikes off Rochester streets” [Rochester Post Bulletin]

Really out front on this trend:New Target Brand Aimed At Millenials, Generation Z” [WCCO]

This is a good question:Why did it take forever to clean up the tagged MN Highway 55 sign?” [City Pages]

Look like solid routes:Hit the road for an epic Minnesota taproom tour with these 2 bike routes” [Star Tribune]