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Judge approves Minnesota’s ‘Clean Cars’ plan

Plus: Legislature blows self-imposed deadline on ‘global’ budget numbers; poll finds partisan divide on vaccines in Minnesota; sales of fishing licenses booming; and more. 

Dana Ferguson writes for the Forum New Service: “A Minnesota administrative law judge on Friday approved changes to the state’s car emission standards, paving the way for more electric and hybrid vehicles to be made available for sale. In a report, Judge Jessica A. Palmer-Denig approved the proposed rule changes aimed at putting Minnesota’s emission rules in line with California and a dozen other states and she recommended that they be adopted. Under the rules, automakers would be required to bring more electric vehicles and hybrid models to Minnesota.”

For the Star Tribune, Briana Bierschbach and Jessie Van Berkel write: “Minnesota’s divided Legislature blew past a self-imposed deadline on Friday to agree to big picture numbers in the debate over the state’s two-year budget, dimming prospects that they will finish their work on time. Leaders had hoped to agree on spending targets in areas such as education, health and human services and public safety by Friday to guide the work of conference committees, which have been hashing out differences between House and Senate budget bills. … Huge divides remain between the Republican-controlled Senate and DFL House on topics from government spending, tax increases and police reform to the emergency powers Gov. Tim Walz has used to respond to the pandemic.”

MPR’s Kristi Marohn reports: “A 35-year-old St. Cloud man faces seven felony charges in connection with a nearly nine-hour standoff Thursday at a Wells Fargo bank in St. Cloud, Minn., during which five bank employees were held against their will. Ray Reco McNeary was charged Friday afternoon in Stearns County District Court with kidnapping, aggravated robbery and second-degree assault. Court documents say the five bank employees were pushed, threatened and told they would be killed during the long ordeal.”

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KSTP-TV reports: “The key element of Gov. Tim Walz’s plan to end the state’s mask mandate involves at least 70% of Minnesotans getting vaccinated against COVID-19. But there are many people who remain hesitant to get the vaccine for various reasons, and most of them tend to be Republicans, according to a new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll. … Out of the people who say they won’t get the vaccine, 55% identified as Republicans, and just 6% are Democrats.”

Jana Hollingsworth writes in the Star Tribune: “St. Louis Park-based Saturday Properties has agreed to pay $3 million for Duluth’s Historic Old Central High School, an iconic landmark known for its clock tower. Duluth Public Schools released details of the purchase agreement Friday in response to a public records request by the Star Tribune. It was the day after a Duluth News Tribune story questioned the district’s denial of its previous request. …Construction is expected to begin after an October deal closing. The school’s famous clock tower and bell will remain, along with many other historic features.”

Also for the Forum News Service, this from John Myers: “Fresh off a torrid start to fishing license sales in 2020, it appears anglers are gearing up for another busy year in Minnesota in 2021. Fishing license sales up to May 1, two weeks before the May 15 Minnesota general fishing opener, were up 12 percent over last year, according to data from the state’s Department of Natural Resources. … As of now, it’s the fastest start to Minnesota fishing license sales in at least the past 21 years.”