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Judge strikes down latest version of Minneapolis public safety ballot question

Plus: Ramsey County judge denies bid to force mask mandate in all Minnesota schools; Minneapolis Public School board approves vaccine mandate for employees; state House DFL votes to expel Rep. John Thompson from caucus; and more.

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Photo by David von Diemar on Unsplash

A WCCO-TV story says, “A Hennepin County judge struck down the controversial Minneapolis charter amendment ballot question on Tuesday afternoon, saying that the wording was ‘unreasonable and misleading.’ The judge argued that the new ballot question does not ensure that voters are able to understand the purpose of the proposed amendment. … “the Court is tasked with determining the public policy considerations regarding the allowance of a question to be posed to voters on a ballot in an election when that question is misleading and fails to identify the essential purpose of the amendment. Clearly it is not good public policy to ask voters to vote, either in favor or against, an insufficiently identified and misleading question on the ballot. … The judge said in the order that the new question may remain on the ballots which are currently being printed, but if an appeal on the order has not been decided before voting begins Friday, the city must provide a notice to say that votes cast on the ballot question will not be counted.”

MPR’s Brian Bakst writes: “In a ruling where he expressed concern over COVID-19 risks for Minnesota children, a Ramsey County District Court judge on Tuesday denied a bid to force a statewide mask mandate in all schools. Judge Thomas Gilligan turned back a request from a group of concerned parents who wanted to require masks in schools. They hoped the judge would force Gov. Tim Walz to issue the directive. … The longshot legal challenge was unique in that it sought to have a governor declare an emergency and follow it with a mandate. In other states, governors who tried to prevent school districts from requiring mask use have seen those attempts blocked by courts.”

The Star Tribune’s Ryan Faircloth writes: “Minneapolis Public Schools employees must either get vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested regularly under a mandate unanimously approved by the school board Tuesday night. The policy will take effect by Oct. 15 and extends to contractors and volunteers who work directly with students. It comes in response to a surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the highly contagious delta variant. ‘These conversations around vaccines have been happening across the nation,’ Minneapolis Superintendent Ed Graff said.”

FOX 9 reports: “The Minnesota House DFL voted Tuesday night to expel Rep. John Thompson from the caucus. Caucus leaders had called for Thompson’s resignation following questions about his residency and past domestic violence allegations. … ‘Rep. Thompson’s actions, credible reports of abuse and misconduct, and his failure to take responsibility remain unacceptable for a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives It would be best for Rep. Thompson, his family, and the institution for him to resign. In the absence of a resignation, the Minnesota House DFL has voted to remove Rep. Thompson from the caucus,’ read a joint statement from Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. This vote means Thompson loses House DFL resources, including some staff, and will no longer be able to attend caucus meetings. While no longer in the caucus, he still holds a seat in the House.”

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In the Pioneer Press, Mara H. Gottfried writes: “Why did four friends from the Twin Cities lose their lives to gun violence with their bodies discovered in an abandoned vehicle in a cornfield in western Wisconsin? ‘That is the mystery,’ said Damone Presley Sr., whose daughter, Nitosha Lee Flug-Presley, was killed. … Flug-Presley, 30, of Stillwater, was with her lifelong friend Jasmine Christine Sturm, 30, of St. Paul. One of the men found dead in the vehicle, Matthew Isiah Pettus, 26, of St. Paul, was Sturm’s brother, Presley said. Loyace Foreman III, 35, of St. Paul, was Sturm’s boyfriend. They had been at a bar in St. Paul on Saturday night. A farmer found the black SUV about 65 miles to the east in Dunn County, Wis., on Sunday. Dunn County Sheriff Kevin Bygd said authorities believe they died less than 24 hours from the time they were found. He said there was no known connection between Dunn County and the four.”

The AP’s Steve Karnowski reports: “The former head of the Minnesota Republican Party who resigned under pressure last month told the Associated Press on Tuesday that she is considering running to get her old job back — or possibly for a public office. In her first press interview since stepping down as party chair, Jennifer Carnahan maintained that she was forced out by the same people who opposed her reelection campaign six months ago. She firmly disputes allegations of fostering a toxic work environment. … Since resigning Aug. 19, Carhanan said she has been focused on spending time with her husband, U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, decompressing and doing ‘a lot of soul-searching’ about her opportunities. She said that could mean another run for party chair, or for governor or another public office, but she would not get specific. The state party’s central committee is scheduled to elect a new chair Oct. 2.”

Also from FOX 9, Tom Lyden reports, “An association representing Minnesota police officers is disputing an account from a man who claims he was a bodyguard for Derek Chauvin during the former Minneapolis police officer’s trial.  Scott Yelle gave an interview to the syndicated tabloid television show Inside Edition. Yelle claimed to have led the security detail for Chauvin using safe houses, disguises, and other cloak and dagger tactics to protect Chauvin from assassination during the trial. … ‘He never spent time alone with Chauvin’, said Brian Peters, executive director of MPPOA. Peters described Yelle’s account as ‘98% false’.  Yelle was only assigned to provide transportation for Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, and was not considered Chauvin’s bodyguard, Peters said.”

Also in the Star Tribune, this from Kristen Leigh Painter: Sun Country Airlines, facing more competition from low-cost carriers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, is reminding Minnesotans that it too is very Minnesotan. The Twin Cities-based airline announced Tuesday a series of new in-flight food and beverages from beloved local brands, including Caribou Coffee and Fulton Brewing. It’s also introducing Dot’s Pretzels, the zesty Midwest snack with a cult-like following, and a suite of new free movies and shows with a Minnesota bent.”

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