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Judge strikes Minneapolis policing ballot question language

Plus: GOP donor Anton Lazzaro hit with federal lawsuit; judge blocks death penalty for killer of Dru Sjodin; the fight over Minnesota social studies standards; and more.

Minneapolis police officers speaking with activists outside the Hennepin County Government Center on March 31.
Minneapolis police officers speaking with activists outside the Hennepin County Government Center on March 31.
REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi

Slight last-minute wrinkle for the Minneapolis policing ballot measure. The Star Tribune’s Liz Navratil reports:A Hennepin County judge on Tuesday tossed out the current ballot language for a proposal that would clear the way for city officials to replace the Minneapolis Police Department. … The current language ‘is insufficient to identify the amendment clearly, it does not assist the voter in easily and accurately identifying what is being voted on, and it is vague and ambiguous to the point of misleading voters, all of which make it unjust,’ wrote Hennepin County Judge Jamie Anderson. …  Hennepin County officials, who coordinate ballot printing for Minneapolis, previously said in court that if the judge struck the language, they needed to get new wording to the printer by 5 p.m. Tuesday.”

More Lazzaro details emerge. KSTP reports: “Minnesota GOP donor Anton ‘Tony’ Lazzaro now faces a federal civil rights lawsuit. … Attorneys for one alleged victim claim Lazzaro and others groomed and recruited an unidentified minor. … The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court alleges that Anton Lazzaro’s attorneys offered $1,000 in hush money to the girl and her parents to keep them quiet and asked them to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The girl’s father refused and instead went to law enforcement.”

An update in the Dru Sjodin case. The Fargo Forum’s April Baumgarten reports:A federal judge has vacated the death penalty for Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., who had been sentenced nearly 15 years ago for kidnapping and killing University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin. … Eighth Circuit Court Court of Appeals Judge Ralph Erickson overturned the death sentence on Friday, Sept. 3, for the man convicted of killing Sjodin, 22, in 2003. Rodriguez, 68, was the only person on death row connected to a murder case in North Dakota.”

A deep dive on the Minnesota social studies standards process. At Sahan Journal, Becky Z. Dernbach reports: “Last year, [Danyika] Leonard, the policy director of the Minnesota nonprofit Education Evolving, joined the state’s social studies standards committee for its 10-year review process. … But Leonard didn’t see the committee’s work fully reflected in the second draft of the social studies standards that the Minnesota Department of Education released July 30 for public comment. … ‘It was incomplete. There were standards that were missing,” Leonard said. “And it was done without an explanation, nor a heads up, nor any sort of real justification.’”

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