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Minnesota Senate plan seeks to exempt riot damage from disaster funding

Plus: two plead guilty for starting fire at Target HQ over the summer; twin Twin Metals bills in Congress; U submits lowest legislative funding request in decades; and more.

State senators entering the Minnesota Senate chambers on the first day of the 2021 legislative session.
State senators entering the Minnesota Senate chambers on the first day of the 2021 legislative session.
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Ah yes, the important thing now is unity … Forum Communications’ Dana Ferguson reports (in the Rochester Post Bulletin): “A Minnesota Senate committee on Monday, Jan. 25, advanced a proposal that would prevent damages from civil unrest from being eligible for state disaster funding. … The plan would apply retroactively if passed into law, and it could allow for the clawback of state funds paid out to help repair damage from looting and riots that occurred in Minneapolis following the police killing of George Floyd. … Damage from the riots was estimated to exceed $500 million and the Trump administration denied a request for federal funding to help offset the cost of cleanup and recovery. Gov. Tim Walz authorized the transfer of more than $12 million over the summer to help Hennepin County address fire damage.”

Related. WCCO reports:Two men pleaded guilty this week to starting a fire in Target’s headquarters in Minneapolis last August when rioting broke out downtown after rumor spread that police fatally shot a Black man. … The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota says 24-year-old Shador Jackson, of Richfield, and 34-year-old Leroy Williams, of Minneapolis, each pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy to commit arson in connection to the unrest on Nicollet Mall on Aug. 26. … With the death of George Floyd fresh in the city’s memory, rumor quickly spread that police had killed the man. Rioting and looting then broke out downtown before police released a video showing the man shooting himself. ”

Twin Metals on the agenda. The Star Tribune’s Jennifer Bjorhus reports:Congress will soon have dueling mining measures from Minnesota — one aimed at keeping copper mining out of Superior National Forest near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and another aimed at ensuring it gets in. … The ‘Saving America’s Mines Act’ introduced Monday by U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber would require an act of Congress to halt mining on federal lands where it’s currently allowed, and prevent administrations from making that call on their own. … U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, a St. Paul Democrat, is expected soon to reintroduce her proposed ban on copper mining in the Minnesota portion of the Rainy River Watershed draining into the Boundary Waters. That measure would halt Twin Metals.”

Reading the room. The Minnesota Daily’s Samantha Hendrickson reports: “Amid the state’s budget challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Minnesota’s financial requests look a little different from last year’s — and the previous 20 years’. … The statewide budget deficit of $1.27 billion for 2022-23 caused by the pandemic and a delayed 2020 legislative session factored into the University’s low ask for state funding this year. Both the capital request and the biennial budget request this year are lower than in years before. … The $46.5 million budget request for additional funding is the lowest it has been in two decades.

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In other news…

No more monkey business:Target Pulls Chaokoh Coconut Milk From Shelves Over Allegations Of Monkey Labor” [WCCO]

Feel better soon:Minnesota tiger tests positive for coronavirus” [KSTP]

You don’t say:Increasing amount of office spaces going unused in Minneapolis, St. Paul” [KSTP]

More on Christopher & Banks bankruptcy:Bankrupt Christopher & Banks closing Plymouth headquarters, laying off 361 workers” [Star Tribune]

Making it work:First Avenue open for business again – sort of” [Star Tribune]

Cat peas:Lifetime neighbors, friends find new use for field peas with Pea Pawd cat litter” [Bemidji Pioneer]

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