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Gun control ‘dead’ after DFL House leaders try to force vote on legislation

Plus Minneapolis, Hennepin County announce plans for fighting opioid abuse; Red River continues to rise; Klobuchar faces funding challenge in White House bid; and more.

Minnesota House of Representatives
Minnesota House of Representatives
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

WCCO reports: “Minnesota’s top Republican at the State Capitol Thursday declared gun safety bills dead for the year. That’s after Democrats used a parliamentary maneuver to force a vote on gun control. House Democrats made gun safety a top-ten priority this year, but it stalled for lack of support in the Republican Senate. Now, they are trying to force the vote with a high-stakes gamble. After weeks of protest, House Democrats are wrapping the contentious gun bills into a much larger, key public safety measure to guarantee that it gets a vote.”

In the Star Tribune, Miguel Otarola says, “Minneapolis and Hennepin County officials on Thursday released a sweeping set of recommendations for tackling the opioid epidemic, with a focus on reducing opioid use among incarcerated people and the local American-Indian community. … The task force recommendations include increasing funding for community-based treatment programs, improving treatment in the criminal-justice system and creating education campaigns for preventing opioid use.”

For MPR, Cody Nelson says, “It’s been three weeks since flood season began in earnest in Minnesota, and the swollen rivers in the southern part of the state are beginning to recede. … But it’s not over yet. Residents along the Red River of the North, which creates most of Minnesota’s border with North Dakota, are beginning to see what their counterparts across southern Minnesota saw for most of March: rising river gauges and early road closures.”

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For the AP, Blake Nicholson says, “Police said Thursday evening they have detained a person of interest in the investigation into the killings of four people at a North Dakota business. A release issued by the Mandan Police Department said investigators are following up on a tip that led them to Washburn, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Mandan. No further information was released.”

At MPR, Brian Bakst says, “When Amy Klobuchar discusses campaign fundraising in public, it’s usually for laughs. She routinely makes a self-deprecating joke about hitting up donors during her first run for the U.S. Senate more than a dozen years ago. … ‘I raised $17,000 from ex-boyfriends. I did that,’ Klobuchar said in the latest recounting this week at the ‘We The People’ Summit in Washington. ‘And, as my husband has pointed out, it’s not an expanding base.’ Expanding her donor base is vital for Klobuchar’s White House bid. She’s likely to be dwarfed by the impressive hauls that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris and former Texas U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke have generated so far.”

Also at MPR, this from Jon Collins, “The judge overseeing the trial of former Minneapolis officer Mohamed Noor in the shooting death of 911 caller Justine Ruszczyk has set a Friday hearing on her decision to withhold some evidence from the public she’s deemed too graphic to view. Media groups… are challenging the decision by Judge Kathryn Quaintance, who’s ordered that body camera footage of the shooting’s aftermath and autopsy photos not to be shown to the public or media attending the trial. The organizations filed court documents this week calling the restrictions unconstitutional.”

For City Pages, Pete Kotz writes, “Warroad policeman Joshua Matthew Demmerly had an infatuation with a teen. According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, he took it to a level that may someday get his name in the title of a Lifetime movie. … Under the ruse of claiming the teen was the subject of a felony investigation, Demmerly supposedly told the kid he would not execute a search warrant ‘if the juvenile spent more time with him’. … Demmerly is also accused of forcing the kid to use the Find My Friends app to constantly reveal his location. As the stalking accelerated, the officer began stopping the kid’s car so they could kiss, the charges say. He once took the teen away from a party in the back of his cruiser in front of witnesses.”