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MnDOT clears Minneapolis homeless encampment; lawmakers work on transitional housing bill

Plus: Another abortion rights protection bill is being considered at the State Capitol; Edina school district reaches agreement with creator of the hornet logo; lawmakers look to act on catalytic converter theft problem; and more.

At KARE-TV Deevon Rahming says, “The Minnesota Department of Transportation cleared a homeless encampment at the intersection of East Lake Street and Hiawatha Tuesday morning, citing safety concerns along a highway right-of-way.  At the same time, several state lawmakers and shelter providers stood at the State Capitol, urging lawmakers to pass the Pathway Home Act. … The act would provide new shelters and transitional housing, as well as the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) — a database used to collect data on households experiencing or at risk of homelessness.”

For WCCO-TV Caroline Cummings reports, “DFL lawmakers in charge at the Minnesota State Capitol advanced a bill on Tuesday designed protect abortion providers and patients in Minnesota from legal consequences stemming from other states where there are criminal or civil penalties within their borders. ‘This legislation would prevent Minnesota’s courts and institutions from being hijacked and abused in service of a harmful agenda from those outside of Minnesota’, said Rep. Esther Agbaje, DFL-Minneapolis. The proposal, dubbed the ‘Reproductive Freedom Defense Act’, would prohibit extraditing, arresting, or releasing medical records of a person who obtained a legal abortion in Minnesota, but may live in a state where abortions are banned or seriously restricted.”

A KMSP-TV story says, “Edina schools leaders say the district has reached an agreement with the creator of its hornet logo to allow the school to continue the use of the mascot after a legal battle. In a statement on Monday, the district says it has reached a settlement over a copyright lawsuit brought by the former student who designed the logo. Previously, the superintendent announced in January 2022 that the school would stop using its decades-old mascot after the lawsuit brought by the designer Michael Otto.”

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For Politico Burgess Everett reports, “Amy Klobuchar made her debut as a member of Senate Democrats’ leadership ‘Big Four’ with a dash of sarcasm. ‘Oh, the first time ever at the microphone,’ the Minnesotan said after Chuck Schumer introduced her to the Capitol press last month as the first new face in the party’s Senate upper ranks in six years. … The caucus is already abuzz about who will replace retiring No. 3 Democratic leader Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Klobuchar’s possible ascension to that spot, according to a person briefed on internal conversations.”

For MPR News, Brian Bakst says, “Minnesota lawmakers are taking another run at clamping down on catalytic converter transactions to deter theft of the valuable car exhaust devices.  The proposal includes a new set of criminal penalties around catalytic converter theft as well as better tracking when the devices change hands. ‘It’s long overdue,’ Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, said Tuesday before his bill was approved by the Commerce Committee and sent to another Senate panel. Insurance industry statistics put Minnesota among the states with the most catalytic converter thefts.”

For the Minnesota Reformer, Michelle Griffith says, “A bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers are backing a bill aimed at keeping Native American children within the foster care system in Native American homes, as the U.S. Supreme Court appears likely to overturn identical federal rules. The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) established federal minimum standards for the removal of Native American children from their homes. The law also prioritized placing children into homes of extended family members and other tribal homes — places that could reflect the values of Native American culture. ICWA was enacted following a century-long campaign by the federal government of forcibly removing Native children from their homes and placing them in boarding schools and white adoptive families.”