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Minnesota House passes tax plan

Plus: what’s next for George Floyd Square; Minneapolis parks board unveils new plan for Bde Maka Ska pavilion; masks to no longer be required for high school students competing in outdoor sports and practices; and more.

Minnesota State Capitol
Minnesota State Capitol
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Brian Bakst reports for MPR: “With no votes to spare, the Minnesota House passed a bill Thursday that creates a new income tax bracket and provides targeted help to people and businesses financially affected by COVID-19 disruptions. The plan approved on a 68-66 vote — two Democrats joined all Republicans in opposition —  raises almost $1 billion by boosting the tax rate on household income above $1 million and pulling in more from corporations who shift profits abroad. Much of that money is spun back in the form of tax relief, including an expanded working family tax credit, property tax aid and a new business assistance program for places that struggled through pandemic shutdowns. … It won’t be the last word in a session budget debate. The House bill must be matched up with a considerably different Senate plan, which doesn’t raise taxes, that’s scheduled for a vote next week.”

For MPR, Megan Burks writes: “Shortly after the verdict, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey recognized the role 38th and Chicago, now commonly referred to as George Floyd Square, has played this past year, calling it ‘a critical and important location of racial justice and healing.’ But its future remains a source of tension between city leaders and the activists who have held the intersection in protest for nearly a year. … The city said it would reopen the streets there after the trial. Activists say it’s too soon. … The city plans to narrow a portion of Chicago Avenue to accommodate a permanent memorial to Floyd and preserve a fist sculpture the community built. It has also pledged funding to help Black business owners in the area buy instead of rent their storefronts.”

In The New York Daily News Jessica Schladebeck writes, “The girlfriend of Daunte Wright, who was in the car earlier this month when her boyfriend was shot and killed by a police officer, allegedly needed her jaw wired shut due to injuries she sustained amid the deadly encounter with law enforcement. … Her attorney, Robert Bennet, confirmed to WCCO that Albrecht-Payton needed to have her jaw wired shut in wake of the deadly traffic stop. He said she was also struggling with emotional trauma caused by having to witness her boyfriend’ death. Bennet added that he intends to take legal action that will grant him access to all bodycam footage showing Albrecht-Payton’s interaction with law enforcement as well.”

At KARE-TV, Emily Haavik reports, “The Minneapolis parks board has unveiled a new plan for the popular pavilion on the shores of Lake Bde Maka Ska. The restaurant that was previously on the spot, Lola on the Lake, burned down on May 16, 2019.  … On Thursday, the MPRB published a ‘preferred site concept’ to replace the pavilion. According to the board, the new plan is based on public feedback they’ve been getting over the past several months. The entire slideshow depicting the concept has been posted online here. The proposal includes concessions, covered and uncovered seating, a performance space, a gas fire pit, and seat steps going down into the water.”

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For the Forum News Service, Tom Olsen writes: A federal judge on Thursday dismissed the remaining claims filed against the University of Minnesota Duluth by two former women’s sports coaches. In granting the university’s motion for summary judgment, U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz said a reasonable jury could not conclude that Jen Banford and Annette Wiles lost their jobs as a result of being openly gay. … Banford and Wiles contended that they were subjected to discrimination and a hostile work environment on the basis of their sexual orientation when they first filed suit with Miller in September 2015. Their claims were initially dismissed by Schiltz in February 2018, but revived by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June 2019.

In the Star Tribune, Chris Serres and Paul Walsh write: A psychologist who worked for more than six years at a state-operated treatment center for sex offenders in northern Minnesota has been charged with sexually assaulting two men while they were in custody at the facility. The psychologist, Michelle D. Brownfield, 38, of Duluth, was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving the men, who were undergoing treatment for sexual offenses. A warrant covering Minnesota and its border states has been issued for her arrest.

A WCCO-TV story says, “Masks are no longer required for student-athletes competing in outdoor sports and practices, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) announced Thursday. According to MSHSL, the updated guidance comes from the Minnesota Department of Health. Masks will still need to be worn when participants are not ‘actively practicing or playing and cannot maintain social distancing.’”

Also for KARE 11, Heidi Wigdahl reports: “Outside Bloomington Ice Garden, a hockey stick leans against their marquee and is surrounded by flowers. The stick includes the signatures of hockey players with a note reading, ‘Love you coach.’ Across Bloomington and beyond, hockey sticks are out to remember Coach Mike Ryan. The 48-year-old was the head coach of the Jefferson High School girls hockey team. ‘He wanted to make sure that every girl grew as a person and not just on the ice,’ said Nikki Nightengale, varsity assistant coach.… Friend Matt Crane added, ‘Something that was very quick ended very tragically for a friend of ours.’ Crane was out with Ryan the night he was killed, after a fight outside Herbie’s on the Park in St. Paul on Saturday night that started over social distancing. According to the criminal complaint, Ryan Whisler punched Ryan who fell backwards down a flight of stairs and hit his head on the concrete. The complaint says surveillance video, when played frame by frame, shows Whisler pushing Ryan towards the stairs.”

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