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Minneapolis City Council votes for rent control, Frey vows to veto

Plus: Gov. Tim Walz issues first veto following legislative session; U.S. Supreme Court sides with Minnesota woman over property rights; state regulators hope to begin issuing retail licenses for legal marijuana sales a year from now; and more.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey delivers the State of the City Address at the Leef North offices in Near North, just west of downtown, on Thursday, May 4, 2023.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey delivers the State of the City Address at the Leef North offices in Near North, just west of downtown, on Thursday, May 4, 2023.
MinnPost photo by Kyle Stokes

Says Stribber Dave Orrick, “A divided Minneapolis City Council on Thursday voted to move ahead with putting a rent control policy to the city’s voters in November — hours before Mayor Jacob Frey said he’ll veto it. The council’s action, while only a step in a multistage process, was at least a momentary victory for supporters of the strictest rent control options and a defeat for those who want to quash the idea entirely. Frey’s veto likely means that negotiations for potential compromises will have to happen sooner rather than later if the issue has a chance to make it onto the November ballot.”

For Josh Schafer reports, “Best Buy (BBY) is calling a bottom on weak electronics demand. After seeing comparable sales decline 10% in the first quarter, Best Buy sees the picture slowly improving over the final nine months of the year. The company reaffirmed its guidance of full-year revenue declining in the mid single digits. ‘Our guide for the year implies that we expect year-over-year comp performance to improve as we move through the year and we lap the comparable sales declines we experienced last year’, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said on the company’s earnings call. ‘Based on what we can see right now, we continue to believe that calendar 2023 will be the bottom for the decline in tech demand.’

In the Minnesota Reformer Max Nesterak says, “Gov. Tim Walz issued the first veto of his entire tenure on Thursday, striking down a bill that would have set minimum pay rates for Uber and Lyft drivers and provide them greater protection against being fired. Walz’s office announced the veto hours after Uber said it would pull out of greater Minnesota and only provide ‘premium services’ in the Twin Cities metropolitan area if the governor signed the bill into law. In the same email announcing the veto, the governor said he issued an executive order to convene a working group — including drivers, riders, transportation network companies — to make recommendations for legislation next year.”

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At KSTP-TV Josh Skluzacek reports, “The nation’s highest court has sided with a Minnesota woman in her property rights battle against Hennepin County. Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the county illegally kept more money than it should have when it sold 94-year-old Geraldine Tyler’s one-bedroom condo in Minneapolis over unpaid taxes. Back in 2010, Tyler moved from her condo and stopped paying taxes on it. After penalties, interest and other costs, Martin’s tax debt eventually rose to $15,000. To collect that debt, the county foreclosed on the condo and sold it for $40,000. However, because Martin’s debt was only $15,000, her attorneys argued that the county should’ve given her the $25,000 that remained from the sale after her debt was paid. After a district court dismissed her lawsuit, the Supreme Court notified Martin and her attorneys in January that it would hear her case against the county, which it did last month.”

At Ars Technica Kevin Purdy writes, “It doesn’t cover video game consoles, medical gear, farm or construction equipment, digital security tools, or cars. But in demanding that manuals, tools, and parts be made available for most electronics and appliances, Minnesota’s recently passed right-to-repair bill covers the most ground of any US state yet. The Digital Right to Repair Bill, passed as part of an omnibus legislation and signed by Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday, ‘fills in many of the loopholes that watered down the New York Right to Repair legislation,’ said Nathan Proctor, senior director for the Public Interest Research Group’s right-to-repair campaign, in a post.”

This from Rochelle Olson of the Strib, “The seven-year-old, $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium will be paid off long before the Minnesota Vikings play their first preseason home game in August, under the tax bill signed by Gov. Tim Walz this week. By the end of June, the state will have retired $377 million in outstanding bonds on the building, saving taxpayers $226 million in interest. The bonds, which have an interest rate of 4.25%, were scheduled to be paid off in 2046. ‘I don’t like having that debt out there,’ Walz said.”

At Jalopnik Andy Kalmowitz writes, “There’s a new thing for people in Minnesota to worry about other than what’s at the bottom of all those lakes. CBS News reports that the Minnesota Department of Commerce is putting out a warning to drivers, saying there have been a number of reports of water mixed with fuel at a handful of stations around the state. This isn’t just a little bit of water mixed in either – it’s mostly water being pumped into tanks. One driver found out her BMW X3’s gas tank had been filled with a ‘mixture’ that was nearly 90 percent water. (If you’re wondering… that’s too much water.) … Unsparingly, the onus of making sure there isn’t water in fuel is being put on drivers. The DOC is reportedly telling folks to pay attention to stickers on pumps that display the year of the most recent test of gas quantity and quality.”

An MPR News story from Anna Haechert says, “During the recently wrapped legislative session, Minnesota lawmakers agreed to send tax rebates to Minnesotans who meet certain income thresholds. The rebates are $260 for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of up to $75,000 in 2021 and $520 for couples who filed jointly with incomes up to $150,000. People within those limits will get an additional $260 per dependent for up to three dependents. A family of five that meets the threshold could get a $1,300 tax rebate overall. … Rebates are expected to go out via direct deposit and checks starting this fall. Taxpayers will not have to apply for this payment. The revenue department will use tax year 2021 individual income tax or property tax refund returns to determine eligibility and distribute the tax rebate payments.”

Another MPR News story, from Brian Bakst and Ms. Haechert says, “Minnesota state agencies are setting a target for a year from now to begin issuing retail licenses for legal marijuana sales. A request for vendors offers the timeline for a program buildout after the Legislature approved a bill allowing adults at least 21 years old to possess and buy cannabis. Gov. Tim Walz has said he plans to sign the bill into law, making Minnesota the 23rd state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The state is seeking a software vendor to manage applications and information around retail licenses. The bid package says the project would start in July and license applications would start in May 2024. The estimated start of marijuana sales from dispensaries is listed as January of 2025, although that could shift.”