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Details of state budget start to emerge at Legislature; special session could start Friday

Plus: design for new Duluth flag down to nine finalists; two people seen on camera before fire at Bde Maka Ska pavilion identified; Minnesota State agrees to pay $1.9 million to settle wage dispute with faculty; and more.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman, Gov. Tim Walz, and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka
House Speaker Melissa Hortman, Gov. Tim Walz, and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka speaking during a Sunday evening press conference announcing the budget agreement.
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

MPR’s Brian Bakst reports: “Details of Minnesota’s next two-year budget began to flood out Wednesday after much of the $48 billion plan was negotiated in secret, setting up a special session that could keep lawmakers in St. Paul into the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Committees in the House and Senate scheduled hearings to go over what was decided, and to take testimony from those who are pleased by the product and those annoyed with the outcome.”

The Pioneer Press’ Dave Orrick reports: “Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and senior lawmakers continued to plod through details of a two-year budget Wednesday, casting an eye toward a special session Friday. … Much of the negotiations have gone on behind closed doors, but early Wednesday evening, the first public meetings of lawmakers began to take place as documents were posted publicly online, giving advocates, lawmakers and the general public their first chance to learn what survived and what didn’t after a dayslong crucible of bipartisan talks.”

In the Star Tribune, Stephen Montemayor says, “State legislative leaders agreed Wednesday to a top priority of advocates for sex assault survivors: the formation of a task force to examine how authorities investigate and prosecute such crimes in Minnesota. The deal, struck in an overnight bargaining session following Monday’s end-of-session deadline, was added to a public safety spending bill headed for a special session of the Legislature later this week. It follows a Star Tribune investigative series into widespread failings among law enforcement in the handling of rape investigations.”

A Duluth News Tribune story says, “There are nine flag designs remaining as part of the city of Duluth’s search for a new banner. Of the 195 public submissions to replace the current city flag, 41 semifinalists were chosen by a flag committee earlier this month. The nine finalists, all but one of which sticks to a blue-and-green theme, were unveiled Tuesday night at the Central Hillside Community Center.”

The Star Tribune reports: “The two people caught on surveillance cameras before a fire heavily damaged the Bde Maka Ska/Lake Calhoun pavilion have been identified. The woman came forward voluntarily and spoke with investigators, said Sgt. Darcy Horn, Minneapolis police spokeswoman. ‘No arrests have been made, the case is still under investigation,’ she said in an e-mail Wednesday night.”

The Pioneer Press’ Josh Verges writes: “Minnesota State has agreed to pay up to $1.9 million to settle a wage dispute with faculty at its two-year colleges. The Minnesota State College Faculty union has been fighting since 2010 over wage calculations for faculty who do certain jobs, such as teaching independent studies or coordinating internships.”

Eric Roper writes in the Star Tribune: “Chaska High School officials are removing a page from school yearbooks — which have already been printed — after discovering a photo of a student wearing blackface. The photo is the latest racially charged incident at the school, part of the Eastern Carver County School District, to have sparked an outcry among parents. Another involved a map circulated on social media featuring photos of black students along with the label ‘Negro Hill.’”

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At FoxNews Sam Dorman says, “Ben Carson has fired back at Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., after the controversial freshman congresswoman criticized him after a hearing Tuesday. Omar knocked the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary over his conduct during an appearance before the House Financial Services Committee. ‘Not sure he was fully awake, maybe he meant to reclaim his time back to sleep,’ she quipped. She was playing off of Carson’s request for time during a testy exchange with Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. … Carson, a renowned doctor and John’s Hopkins University’s former director of pediatric neurosurgery, fired back in a tweet by touting his endurance during marathon surgeries. ‘Since you brought it up… I know what it’s like to actually be sleepy, especially after 18-hour surgeries and operating on babies in the womb,’ he wrote.”