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Gun control measures fail to advance at Legislature

Plus: legislative leaders hold marathon negotiating session; U of M announces $90 million in cuts to administrative expenses; Wolves get 11th pick in NBA lottery; and more.

Minnesota State Capitol
Minnesota State Capitol
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

For the Star Tribune, Stephen Montemayor says,Two gun control measures deemed a top priority by Minnesota DFL lawmakers this session were dealt an all-but-fatal blow Tuesday after they failed to advance on a party-line vote in a joint conference committee on the state’s public safety budget. The vote, coming after three hours of debate, appeared to stymie efforts by gun control advocates to expand criminal background checks to private gun sales and create a ‘red flag’ law that would allow authorities to temporarily confiscate firearms from people considered a threat to themselves or others.”

Christopher Magan from the Pioneer Press writes: “State lawmakers had their first marathon budget negotiating session of the year Tuesday as they work to compromise on a spending plan for the next two years. A day after they were at loggerheads over new and expiring taxes, Democratic and Republican leaders spent about five hours in a room at the Capitol trying to find agreement on a budget that is expected to top $47.5 billion. It was easily their longest time negotiating this legislative session.

WCCO-TV reports: “The former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering Justine Rusczcyk Damond is asking the judge to set aside the verdict. The attorneys are filing the motion for acquittal on the basis of insufficient evidence. The jury convicted Noor two weeks ago of 3rd degree murder and 2nd degree Manslaughter.”

The Pioneer Press’ Tad Vezner writes: “The Ramsey County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to accept the resignation of one of its members, following an internal report that he acted inappropriately with federal housing money. Commissioner Blake Huffman, who was not present for the vote, resigned last week after a top county staffer sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development saying there had been an “improper conflict of interest” related to two of Huffman’s properties that received federal money. … [board chair Jim] McDonough also said the county’s investigation into Huffman’s actions is ongoing.”

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In the Star Tribune, Mila Kuompilova says, “As the U reaches a goal of trimming $90 million in administrative expenses this spring, officials say one of President Eric Kaler’s signature efforts made the university leaner and ushered new budgeting discipline. But critics on the U’s governing board and others counter the savings are puny in an almost $4 billion budget and say the cuts largely spared upper management at the expense of lower-paid employees who more directly support students and faculty.”

For City Pages, Mike Mullen writes, “Minnesota Twins co-owner Jim Pohlad grew up really, really rich, and rather white. … Despite his wealthy upbringing, and his career with the family’s since-sold Marquette Financial Companies, Jim is progressive, politically. A search of FEC records shows he’s got a history of donations to DFL candidates like Dean Phillips, Scott Dibble, Joe Radinovich, and Angie Craig, among others. … Despite his numerous and varied interests, business and charitable, Jim found time enough to sign his name to a sheet of paper held by another well-off white American man. In June 2017, Jim, a Minneapolis resident, signed his name to a petition advocating against changing the name of ‘Lake Calhoun’ to its traditional Native American name of Bde Maka Ska.”

For The Intercept, Akela Lacy writes, “Just weeks after Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar unveiled a new criminal justice reform platform, she is getting ready to introduce a police-backed measure that would re-authorize part of the infamous 1994 crime law. Now a presidential candidate, Klobuchar has received her fair share of flack for her history as an aggressive prosecutor. She has tried to counter that in part by rolling out a plan that would allow the release of incarcerated people through the creation of a clemency advisory board and the installation of a presidential adviser to advocate for reform from within the White House. The senator, however, is working on a measure endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Association of Police Organizations, and opposed by key reform groups.”

KSTP reports: “The Minnesota Timberwolves will receive the 11th pick in the NBA Draft, as announced in the NBA Draft Lottery on ESPN Tuesday night. The team had a 3% chance of getting the first overall pick, in which they have won once in 2015 since their franchise was made official in 1989. … The New Orleans Pelicans received the first pick, with the Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers rounding out the top five, respectively.”