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Bitter cold to hit Minnesota next week

Plus: gun measures introduced at Minnesota Legislature; police panel passes reforms aimed at improving sexual assault investigations; Walz calls federal government shutdown ‘insane’; and more.

MinnPost file photo by Craig Lassig

At MPR, Paul Huttner says, “This will be the week that Minnesotans remember this winter. A major Polar Vortex outbreak is likely next week across Minnesota and much of the eastern U.S. The massive upper air low-pressure system is forecast to drive bitterly cold Arctic air deep into America next week. … Temperatures next Tuesday through Thursday could run 20 to 50 degrees colder than average across the Midwest and Great Lakes.”

In the Pioneer Press, Ryan Faircloth says, “A DFL-backed bill introduced in the Senate on Thursday would allow police or family members to petition a court to temporarily seize someone’s guns if they are deemed a threat.  But here’s the catch — the seizure could happen with or without the gun owner having a say. The Senate bill, which has a similar companion in the House, was authored by Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park. The petitions could be made by family or household members, police, a city or county attorney or a guardian.”

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From KARE-TV: “A word of warning to drivers, don’t even think of passing a stopped school bus in Bloomington. The Bloomington Public School District just added more high-definition cameras on its buses to catch drivers breaking the law by passing stopped school buses that have their stop arms and lights activated. The district now has nine permanent and two portable HD camera systems on its buses, which show multiple angles watching for drivers who blow past school buses with extended stop arms.”

At City Pages, Hannah Jones writes, “On Tuesday, while crowds of sign-bearing, pro-life Minnesotans gathered outside the state Capitol, Minnesota Rep. Tim Miller, a Republican from Prinsburg, introduced a bill that would make abortion illegal after just six weeks. Sarah Stoesz, the director of Planned Parenthood’s political arm in Minnesota, immediately pointed out what she sees as a problem with the ban’s timing. Most women, she said, don’t even know they’re pregnant six weeks in. … But Miller’s ban is actually somewhat timely, and not just because he proposed it on Tuesday, which was the 46th anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. That same day, an Iowa state judge found a very similar law unconstitutional.”

At the Strib, Jennifer Bjorhus writes, “Minnesota’s top police regulator unanimously passed a set of far-reaching reforms Thursday to improve the quality of sexual assault investigations across the state. The reforms include Minnesota’s first statewide protocols for investigating rape and sexual assault, and represent the most concrete, large-scale change to emerge in response to a 2018 Star Tribune series that documented widespread breakdowns in police handling of sex crimes.”

For MPR, Matt Sepic says, “Two Illinois men pleaded guilty Thursday to bombing the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn., in 2017. Michael McWhorter, 29, and Joe Morris, 23, were two of three Clarence, Ill., men accused of bombing the mosque. A third man, 47-year-old Michael Hari, is also charged. Hari remains jailed in Illinois and is expected to go to trial there on machine gun and other militia-related conspiracy charges. Prosecutors allege Hari founded an anti-government militia group that he called the ‘White Rabbits’.”

For the PiPress, Christopher Magan says, “‘Unconscionable,’ an ‘unforced ridiculous error,’ ‘cruel,’ and ‘insane’ — Gov. Tim Walz didn’t hold back when describing his feelings about the month-long federal government shutdown and the reasons behind it. He expressed his frustrations with the shutdown Thursday while hosting a roundtable discussion at a St. Paul affordable housing complex where residents are growing anxious that the federal benefits they rely upon will soon dry up.”