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Walz says special session negotiations at an ‘impasse’

Plus: Minneapolis Council approves 24/7 bus lanes for redesigned Hennepin Avenue; Scott Jensen wants to overhaul state board of medical practice; Hennepin County Chief Public Defender continues to represent private clients; and more.

Gov. Tim Walz
Gov. Tim Walz
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

In the Star Tribune, Briana Bierschbach writes,Negotiations over a special session of the Legislature have ‘reached an impasse,’ said Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, leaving billions of dollars from the state’s surplus unspent. The DFL governor and top leaders in Minnesota’s divided Legislature have been meeting for weeks since the regular session ended in May, trying to finalize a deal to pump billions into tax cuts and new spending over the next three years while also leaving billions on the bottom line. But in a meeting Thursday, Senate Republicans said they don’t plan to bring any more offers to the table, Walz said.”

KSTP-TV’s Kyle Brown reports: “A proposal for a reimagined Hennepin Avenue is one step closer to becoming reality after the Minneapolis City Council voted Thursday to approve a new layout with permanent bus lanes. The council voted 8-5 to approve the new layout and a resolution to work with the city engineer to establish parking restrictions — thereby creating 24/7 transit lanes.”

Brian Bakst writes for MPR: “Republican Scott Jensen zeroed in this week on an obscure state regulatory board with jurisdiction over his medical license, telling supporters at a governor’s race campaign event that he’ll ‘take care of that juggernaut’ if he wins the race. Audio of Monday’s meet-and-greet in Spicer, Minn. captures Jensen, a family practice doctor and former state senator, raising the repeated examination of his license as evidence of his fortitude and suggesting the Board of Medical Practice make-up is ripe for change.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Liz Navratil reports, “Minneapolis officials will raise the police chief’s salary as they search for a candidate to lead a department that faces ongoing calls to improve accountability since George Floyd’s murder. Under a proposal approved by the City Council on Thursday, the next police chief will earn between $253,000 and $300,000 — up significantly from the roughly $204,000 former Chief Medaria Arradondo brought home last year.”

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At KSTP-TV Alex Jokich reports, “Many Minnesotans are complaining that ticks seem more prevalent this summer than in years past. ‘We’ve lived all over the country, and this is the worst I’ve seen ticks in, well, forever’, said Jason Douglas in Woodbury. ‘This summer has just been crazy with ticks’. … Wood ticks, also known as the American dog tick, rarely spread disease, according to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).”

Says Nick Longworth from FOX 9, “A south Minneapolis pro-life organization had its building vandalized Wednesday night, and the alleged perpetrators are apparently taking credit for the act online.  … But a day after the post, Abolition Media – described as an online news source for revolutionary movements on its site – created a post of its own, detailing the act’s intention, and taking credit for it under the name ‘Jane from the block.’”

In the Star Tribune, Rochelle Olson reports: “Despite holding a full-time government job for 18 months, Hennepin County Chief Public Defender Kassius Benson has continued to represent private clients, a practice that may be illegal. Benson, who took office Jan. 1, 2021, had in his first year trials for private clients in federal and state court. Those clients were from his 17 years in the practice for which he still maintains a website.”

WCCO-TV’s Caroline Cummings reports: “The Minneapolis City Council on Thursday approved Mayor Jacob Frey’s appointment to be the city coordinator, a top job in city government, despite opposition from people who work in that office. The council voted 8-5 to approve Heather Johnston, who was acting city coordinator since August. But her nomination was met with strong resistance: More than 70 current and former city workers allege a toxic, racist work environment in that officer dating back year, and said Johnston had not done enough to improve that culture.”

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