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State Senate passes bill raising money to fight opioid crisis

Minnesota Senate
MinnPost file photo by Briana Bierschbach
Minnesota Senate

Says Torey Van Oot in the Star Tribune, “The Minnesota Senate voted overwhelmingly Monday to increase fees sharply on makers of addictive prescription drugs in order to raise $20 million to combat the opioid epidemic. The bipartisan 59-6 vote came two weeks after the state House passed a similar measure, setting up negotiations to work out differences in the two bills before sending a final compromise to Gov. Tim Walz, who has said he will sign the final proposal into law.”

From the AP: “Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar released 12 years of tax returns Monday, saying ‘transparency and accountability are fundamental to good governance.’ ‘The Minnesota senator was the latest 2020 contender to make her returns public. The tax returns date back to 2006, when she first became a candidate for federal office. … Democrats have criticized President Donald Trump for refusing to disclose his tax returns. His financial dealings also have been the subject of investigations.”

In the Star Tribune, Christopher Snowbeck says, “Operating income for Minnesota’s nonprofit health insurers more than doubled last year as health plans made more money than expected in the market where individuals buy coverage — and could be issuing $37 million in rebates, as a result. The financial data released Monday show the continued recovery of the individual market, which provides coverage for a small share of all Minnesotans but has had an outsized impact on insurance company finances since changes with the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).”

For MPR, Jon Collins and Riham Feshir report, “Seventy-five people, known only by numbers on cards hung around their necks, began filling out juror questionnaires Monday — the start of the trial of ex-Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor in the 2017 killing of 911 caller Justine Ruszczyk. … The questionnaire includes questions about prospective jurors experience with Somali-Americans and whether they’ve had ‘any particularly positive or negative experiences with persons of Somali descent or heritage.’”

Also from  the AP: “With the state again on the bubble for losing one of its eight seats in the U.S. House, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Monday helped kick off a yearlong drive to try to ensure that all Minnesota residents are counted in the high-stakes 2020 census. … There’s more at risk than a congressional seat. The federal government uses census data to parcel out aid to the states. Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan told the crowd that each missed person could cost the state $28,000 in federal funding over 10 years.”


For the AP, Blake Nicholson says, “Four people were found dead Monday in what police called a ‘multiple homicide’ at a North Dakota property-management business. Three men and a woman were found dead inside RJR Maintenance and Management in Mandan, a city of about 22,000 just across the Missouri River west of Bismarck, Police Chief Jason Ziegler said. The victims weren’t immediately identified and police didn’t say how they died.”

At MPR, Brian Bakst says, “Minnesota schools got final word Monday that all those the winter cancellations won’t come back to haunt them. Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill allowing districts to write off missed days without losing state aid or risking punishment for falling beneath the minimum school calendar. Walz says the bill shows the state can be responsive to unforeseen circumstances in a year when some districts called off as many as 13 days.”

Also for MPR, Dan Gunderson and Matt Sepic write, “A federal judge said he’ll decide shortly whether work may proceed on a controversial Red River flood diversion system in the Fargo-Moorhead area. The $2.75 billion project would use a 30-mile channel and a dam to reroute part of the Red River around Fargo-Moorhead during floods. U.S. District Judge John Tunheim ordered a halt to the project in 2017 amid a lawsuit by opponents, who claim it would shift too much floodwater to Minnesota.”

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