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State court ruling on abortion could speed up process for clinics, patients in Minnesota

Plus: Minnesota Supreme Court rules that state law protects communications between sexual assault counselors and victims; Tadd Johnson becomes first Native American member on U of M Board of Regents; camel at Stearns County zoo bites two employees; and more.

Medical instruments are prepped prior to a surgical abortion
REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Steve Karnowski writes for the AP: “A court ruling that struck down most of Minnesota’s restrictions on abortion as unconstitutional will speed the process for clinics and patients, though providers are still studying all the implications of how the landscape will change as a result. Two key points of Monday’s ruling are expected to have the most immediate impacts. Judge Thomas Gilligan overturned Minnesota’s mandatory 24-hour waiting period, and a requirement that both parents be notified before a minor can get an abortion. His elimination of a rule that only physicians can perform abortions is expected to further ease access over time.”

Related, from MPR’s Michelle Wiley: “As Minnesota abortion care providers ramp up for an expected influx of patients from across the Midwest following the end of Roe v. Wade, some doctors are pushing the state’s major health care systems to do more now — including improving access to a drug that’s also used for medication abortions.”

In the Star Tribune, Briana Bierschbach writes: “The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that state law protects communications between sexual assault counselors and people who come to them for help, a significant victory for victim advocacy groups who say the law has been applied inconsistently for decades. The ruling reverses the decision of a district judge, who allowed court review of a woman’s ‘notes, memoranda, records, reports’ or any other communication with a southern Minnesota sexual assault advocacy group in a criminal case.”

For MPR, Dan Kraker reports, “Gov. Tim Walz has appointed Tadd Johnson to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, the first Native American to be appointed to the Board since it was established more than 170 years ago. Johnson, 65, is a member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa who lives in Duluth. He retired last month as the University of Minnesota’s first senior director of American Indian Tribal Nations relations, a job that he said came about in 2019 when he complained to new President Joan Gabel that the University needed to do more to consult with tribes. He’s also a former professor, tribal attorney and tribal court judge.”

Ryan Faircloth writes in the Star Tribune: GOP candidate for governor Scott Jensen laid out a broad energy plan Wednesday that includes lifting the state’s moratorium on building nuclear plants and repealing Gov. Tim Walz’s ‘clean car’ rules that will require automakers to deliver more electric and hybrid vehicles to Minnesota. … While Minnesota’s electricity producers have power to spare, others in the 15-state grid that serves this state do not — putting the entire Midwest power network at risk. Nuclear energy could help increase electricity supply, Jensen said, noting that modern plants are cleaner and emit less waste than previous ones. And the emergence of a new technology, small nuclear reactors, could offer a more cost-effective nuclear energy option than traditional large reactors, he said.”

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At MPR, Cathy Wurzer and Gretchen Brown say, “It was on this day 45 years ago — July 13, 1977 — that the tiny town of Kinney, Minn., on the Iron Range sought to gain independence from the United States. The Mesabi Daily News headline read, ‘Move over Monaco. Here comes Kinney.’ On its surface, the move was a publicity stunt. The town had an aging water system; mineral deposits in the pipes had caused fires and turned linens yellow. And though it sought aid, Kinney couldn’t seem to secure a grant to fix the system. … But behind the novelty of it all, the move was a reflection of the attitude of the region — and of the town’s mayor, Mary Anderson, an outsized character in her own right.”

At KELO-TV in South Dakota Jacob Newton says, “Both South Dakota and Minnesota are reporting elevated rates of syphilis in their states, with Minnesota reporting a 33% rise from 2020 to 2021, and South Dakota reporting a 2183% rise over its 5-year-median of 29 cases. … Angela Cascio, Infectious Disease Director for the South Dakota DOH says that South Dakota’s increase began in 2020. …As of July 12, South Dakota had a total of 662 reported cases of syphilis in 2022. Cascio chalks this rise since 2020 up to the pandemic, at least in part.”

The Pioneer Press reports: “A camel at a Stearns County zoo bit a pair of employees Wednesday, injuring one of them badly enough to warrant a trip to a St. Cloud hospital by helicopter, officials say. Stearns County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched about 2:45 p.m. to the Hemker Park and Zoo outside the city of Freeport, Minn., where they found that two employees had been injured by the animal, according to a news release issued by the sheriff’s office. The deputies were told 32-year-old Roger Blenker was escorting the camel through an alley when it clamped its mouth down on Blenker’s head and dragged him about 15 feet, the news release said.”

This from Joe Nelson at Bring Me The News, “Competitive eating legend Joey Chestnut will turn his talents to ribs when he competes in Minnesota this summer.  The Great Midwest Rib Fest World Eating Championship will be at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel at 2 p.m. on July 30, with the hot dog-eating legend Chestnut bulldozing ribs against some of the best eaters in the world.  Chestnut is fresh off his world record 15th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest victory on the Fourth of July, when he devoured 63 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. …He’ll get 12 minutes to crush as many ribs as possible at Mystic Lake.”

An AP story says, “A defendant in a Mississippi welfare fraud case said in a court document she directed $1.1 million in welfare money to former NFL star Brett Favre at the direction of former Gov. Phil Bryant. … Favre has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing and has repaid the money. He has said that he didn’t know the money he received came from welfare funds, and has denied the auditor’s allegations that he was paid for events he didn’t attend.”

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