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Legislature passes bill to address opioid crisis before adjourning

Speaker Melissa Hortman
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Speaker Melissa Hortman speaking to reporters Monday night following adjournment.

The Pioneer Press Josh Verges writes: “Minnesota lawmakers did not pass a new state budget before the legislative session ended on Monday, but they did pass a pair of sweeping bills to address the opioid crisis and protect seniors in nursing homes from abuse. … After a weekslong stalemate, a bipartisan committee of lawmakers agreed to fight the opioid epidemic by raising fees on drugmakers and investing the money into addiction treatment and prevention services. Under the proposal, the state would collect about $20 million per year from registration fees imposed on opioid manufacturers and distributors.”

The Star Tribune’s Eric Roper writes: “Advocates for Jamar Clark, who was fatally shot by police in 2015, want Minneapolis to pay $20 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Clark’s family — the same amount awarded to the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond. A judge ordered the city into mediation earlier this month to reach a settlement over the 2017 lawsuit following the landmark settlement with Damond’s family. About two dozen people gathered at a news conference organized by the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar, calling for an equal settlement. A petition circulated by attendees said neither Clark nor Damond did anything that warranted deadly police force.”

In the Pioneer Press, Bob Shaw says, “Minnesota’s Baptist megachurch is expanding again — with a new church in Rochester. Eagle Brook Church, with eight locations in the metro area, made the announcement during services on Sunday. The Rochester church will open in October, church officials said, in the Mayo Civic Center, 30 Civic Center Dr. Eagle Brook is the nation’s 10th largest church, according to a 2018 survey of Outreach Magazine. The church now averages about 22,000 worshippers weekly.”

In the Duluth News Tribune, we learn, “Women’s clothing retailer Dressbarn will close all of its stores, the company announced on Monday. That includes the Roz & Ali store at the Miller Hill Mall, one of a handful of Dressbarn stores that were renamed in late 2017 in an attempt to revitalize the brand. The stores remain open for now, the retailer announced in a news release. But Dressbarn ‘plans to commence a wind down of its retail operations, including the eventual closure of its approximately 650 stores.’”

For the Energy News Network, Frank Jossi writes, “A widespread switch from gas to electric heat that some experts say will be crucial for achieving Minnesota’s carbon emission goals isn’t happening just yet. Minnesota heating and cooling contractors have seen a slight uptick in interest in alternatives to gas heat, but the technologies remain niche products here, where homeowners rely on their furnaces or boilers for half the year or more. … That will need to change in the decades ahead if Minnesota is going to meet its target of reducing carbon emissions 80% by 2050, according to a 2018 report by the McKnight Foundation. It suggested that about three-quarters of the state’s residential space heating will need to be electrified to reach the goal.”

From James Walsh in the Star Tribune: “First came the business closings. Traditions. Bonfire. D’Amico & Sons. Creative Kidstuff. Then came the near-death of Grand Old Day, the 45-year street festival that was canceled and resuscitated in the span of a week in April. Now people are talking again about the future of Grand Avenue, St. Paul’s premier commercial corridor. Some worry that Grand’s longtime blend of boutique dining and retail with century-old bungalows and classic apartment buildings may be fading in this time of Amazon and St. Paul’s rising minimum wage.”

For MPR, Mark Zdechlik reports, “The job of paramedic conjures up the image of a someone rushing to an emergency in an ambulance, lights flashing and siren blaring — not Shelly Brown. She’s a certified community paramedic with Regions Hospital in St. Paul who drives a Volkswagen Beetle, stops at red lights and leisurely enters clients’ homes for check-ins. She’s part of Minnesota’s small cadre of certified community paramedics, who visit patients at home to help them with transitions out of the hospital and with managing chronic conditions. The early results indicate the house calls improve patient satisfaction and reduce spending on medical care.”

A CBC story by Marina von Stackelberg says, “A Manitoba man says he’ll never use Expedia again after the booking company billed him nearly $6,200 for one night at a hotel — with fees and taxes accounting for all but about $200 of the cost. Justin Smerchanski was traveling on business and logged onto Monday morning to book a room for the following evening in the town of Willmar, Minn. In a bit of a rush, he saw Expedia was listing the price for a room at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites for $207.95 Canadian. He made the purchase, but in printing the receipt, he saw he had been charged $3,143.93 in ‘taxes and fees’ and an additional $2,828.66 in ‘property fees.’ His credit card was billed for $6,180.54.”

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 05/21/2019 - 08:48 am.

    When will the taxpayers say they have had enough with these payouts to victims of rogue police officers?

    • Submitted by Pat McGee on 05/21/2019 - 11:25 am.

      Maybe when they vote out the politicians who settled for such outrageous amounts.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/21/2019 - 02:50 pm.

        Don’t blame the politicians – they paid what their lawyers told them the case was worth. The amount was not outrageous at all given the facts of the case. Minneapolis could have been on the hook for much more at trial.

        The answer is getting rid of dirty cops.

    • Submitted by Joe Schantz on 05/21/2019 - 02:59 pm.

      The payments are what we’re supposed to have a problem with? Really?

  2. Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/21/2019 - 12:45 pm.

    Wrongful death police settlements (like most civil settlements) are based on the exposure at trial. Minneapolis paid $20 million in the Damond case because the facts of the case were so egregious that the city faced potentially even larger verdict.

    The Clark case isn’t worth $20, much less $20 million. Had he not been killed, Clark would have been arrested for preventing paramedics from treating an injured woman (who Clark may or may not have injured himself). He was already on probation for dousing a woman’s apartment in lighter fluid and threatening to burn her to death. Forensic evidence showed that Clark was not handcuffed and did touch the officer’s gun.

    If people want to complain about disparate settlement amounts, look to the Philando Castile case, where only $3 million was paid out. Jamar Clark is not the comparison you want to make.

  3. Submitted by John Roberts on 05/21/2019 - 01:02 pm.

    I’ve stayed at the Holiday Inn in Willmar. Very nice, but not worth $6 thousand a night.

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