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Sentencing commission hears hours of testimony on proposed probation cap

Plus: International Falls psychiatrist’s retirement leaves care gap; what people are saying about Klobuchar’s debate performance; Congress saves boozemakers from end-of-year tax hike; and more.

Cap debated. The Forum’s Dana Ferguson reports: “A proposal to cap probation sentences for most defendants at five years with an exception for those convicted of homicide or criminal sex offenses garnered hours of emotional testimony at the Capitol complex. … The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission on Thursday, Dec. 19, took more than three hours of testimony from dozens of probationers, crime victims, professors, lawyers, community members and others that sought to weigh in on the plan. … If approved in their Jan. 9 meeting, the proposal will take effect without legislative intervention. And that irked some lawmakers that feel they’ll have to play cleanup in the Statehouse.

More on that story from MinnPost’s Peter Callaghan: “Despite concerns, push to cap probation in Minnesota moving forward

There’s a lot of need out there. MPR’s Alisa Roth reports: “When Dr. Jeff Hardwig started his job as a psychiatrist in his hometown near the Canadian border, he wasn’t sure there was enough work for him. … Pretty soon, it became clear that there was, in fact, plenty of work in International Falls, Minn., a town of 6,000 people. He split his time between a group family practice and community mental health center and also saw patients in nearby communities. … ‘Within two or three years, it was clear I was too busy to go out of town anymore,’ he said. … After nearly 30 years working as the town’s sole psychiatrist, Hardwig retired in September, leaving no psychiatrists for more than 100 miles around.

Klobuchar debate review roundup. The Star Tribune’s Torey Van Oot writes: “Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar ‘struck a forceful tone’ at Thursday’s Democratic primary debate, tangling with rival Pete Buttigieg as she sought to once again make the case that a Midwestern moderate will have the best shot at defeating President Donald Trump next November. … The stakes for Klobuchar, trailing the top tier in fifth place in the polls with just six weeks to go until the Iowa Caucuses, were higher than ever. … So how’d she do?”

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Raise a glass. For The Growler, Brian Kaufenberg writes: “An end-of-year tax crisis for America’s brewers, distillers, and winemakers has been averted after Congress passed a bill on December 19 that included a one-year extension of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA). … The bill, which is now on its way to the president’s desk and is expected to be signed on Friday, December 20, ensures the reduced excise tax rates passed under the CBMTRA in 2017 stay in place for the nation’s alcohol producers for at least one more year and allows the transfer of beer in bond between brewers. The original legislation was passed as a two-year provision in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 and was set to expire at the end of 2019.”

In other news…

Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins endorses Klobuchar:Op-Ed: Amy Klobuchar Has Made Sure Our Voices Are Heard” [Out]

She’s easily in our top 12:Carin Mrotz: Justice Fighter in the Far North” [Forward]

All-caps headline warranted:LOOK AT THIS BABY YODA COCKTAIL THEY’RE MAKING AT THE SHERIDAN ROOM” [City Pages]

Can we get this, too?Regions Hospital to offer a taste of home to new Hmong moms” [KARE]

’Tis the season:Reindeer Cam Is Online” [Minneapolis.St.Paul]