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GOP lawmakers take issue with Walz’s ‘tone’ in enforcement of COVID-19 protections

Plus: ten more felony charges filed in connection with looting in downtown Minneapolis; suit reveals Big 10 presidents voted 11-3 against playing football; DNR asks Minnesotans to be on the lookout for invasive ‘jumping worms’; and more.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt
In the Star Tribune, Jessie Van Berkel reports, “Republican lawmakers on Monday urged Gov. Tim Walz to “reassess the tone and approach” as state regulators step up enforcement of mask-wearing and social distancing at bars and restaurants to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. A letter signed by House GOP Leader Kurt Daudt and more than 50 other Republican lawmakers accused the DFL governor of unfairly targeting the hospitality industry as his administration increases its oversight of health mandates imposed in the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter follows a separate public missive from Senate Republican Leader Paul Gazelka on Friday challenging a possible extension in September of Walz’s emergency powers under the pandemic. ‘There is no longer an emergency,’ Gazelka said.”

In the Pioneer Press, Katrina Pross writes: “Ten more felony charges have been filed in connection with the looting and unrest that took place in Minneapolis last week. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced the charges Monday. All were filed in Hennepin County District Court. The additional charges bring the number of charges filed in connection to the unrest to 26 felony charges. … The looting and unrest came after police released a video of a man appearing to shoot himself on Nicollet Mall last week.”

Riham Feshir at MPR says,Census advocates in Hennepin County warn that some neighborhoods run the risk of being left out of the 2020 count. They shared concerns Monday that certain pockets of the county aren’t being counted, saying some households that haven’t filled out their forms have not received a single visit from a census taker this year. The count is set to end on Sept. 30. Xiongpao Lee, a coordinator for the Minnesota Census Mobilization Partnership, said he’s worried about some areas in particular, such as ‘pockets of apartment units and other multi-housing units and also areas where there is low English proficiency where the response rate is much lower.’”

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The Star Tribune’s Dee DePass says, “The city of Minneapolis is seeking a development partner for the city-owned properties in the heart of downtown known as the Public Service Center Block. It has issued a request for qualifications, seeking a developer to work with the city on new plans for the site, possibly including housing, hotels, offices, retail or commercial buildings that are at least 10 stories tall, as well as other uses such as parking.”

The AP reports: “A court filing disclosed Monday shows Big Ten Conference presidents voted 11-3 to postpone the football season, bringing some clarity to a key question raised in a lawsuit brought by a group of Nebraska football players. The vote breakdown was revealed in the Big Ten’s response to the lawsuit. The court documents did not identify how each school voted, but a person familiar with the outcome told The Associated Press that Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State voted against postponing the fall football season.”

Also at MPR, this from Dan Kraker, “Zebra mussels. Emerald Ash borers. Buckthorn. Eurasian milfoil. These are some of the most well known and destructive non-native species that have invaded Minnesota’s lakes and forests, threatening ecosystems both in water and on land.  Now add the jumping worm to that ignominious list of invasive species in Minnesota.  These destructive earthworms, native to Asia, can quickly degrade soils and damage garden plants and lawns. They’re called ‘jumping worms’ because of their unusual, aggressive behavior. … The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is cautioning gardeners and anglers to be on the lookout for the invasive jumping worms. ”

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A Wall Street Journal story says, “J.C. Penney Co. is proposing to sell its assets out of bankruptcy to top lenders after hitting a stalemate with other bidders, including landlords Simon Property Group Inc. and Brookfield Property Partners LP. … After years of missteps, Penney filed for bankruptcy in May when the coronavirus pandemic shut down nonessential shopping across the country and forced a parade of department stores and other retailers into Chapter 11. The company, with roughly 70,000 employees, has since reopened stores but about 150 of the 850 locations it had when it entered bankruptcy are closing for good.”

WCCO-TV says, “The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) announced Monday it will postpone all competition until January 2021. The update comes a month after the league announced that it was moving a number of its fall sports to the spring season, including football. This latest decision will push competition in golf and tennis back to the second halves of their split-season schedules, while the basketball, hockey, indoor track and field, and swimming and diving competition seasons are now planning to begin in January.”

A trio at The Daily Beast write, “As the end of convention season brings with it the final stretch of a years-long presidential campaign, a hauntingly familiar feeling is in the air in Minnesota, slowly alarming Democrats as November approaches—the chill of 2016. … ‘The president is going to be competitive in Minnesota. He’s spending enough to make sure of it,’ said another longtime Minnesota Democratic operative, who said the state could provide a chance for Trump to break a venerable Democratic coalition as he did in Wisconsin and Michigan four years ago. ‘Biden has some work to do with the young progressive voters in the cities to make sure they turn out… it’s not clear that the campaign understands that they still need to convince them to show up and cast a vote against President Trump.’”