Rep. Betty McCollum, D-MN, wants an investigation into whether a Minnesota dentist broke any U.S. laws when he killed Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe.
“To bait and kill a threatened animal, like this African lion, for sport cannot be called hunting, but rather a disgraceful display of callous cruelty,” McCollum wrote in a statement. “For those of us committed to ending poaching of iconic African species I strongly believe the U.S. Attorneys’ Office and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should investigate whether U.S. laws were violated related to conspiracy, bribery of foreign officials, and the illegal hunting of a protected species or animal.”
The killing of the lion has sparked international outrage. Conservation groups have criticized Dr. Walter James Palmer of Eden Prairie for killing the animal. Authorities in Zimbabwe told the Associated Press that Palmer will face poaching charges.
Palmer issued a statement today saying he regrets killing the lion but believes he secured proper permits and believes the hunt was legal.
The 13-year-old lion named Cecil was a popular attraction in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. The lion was killed on July 1 during a guided hunt that cost Palmer about $50,000, according to a report in the Telegraph.
Good morning, here are five stories to start your Tuesday.
1. The New York Times public editor is taking the paper to task over its reporting of the latest development in the Hillary Clinton email story. The paper inaccurately reported that two officials were seeking a criminal investigation by the Justice Department of the way Clinton used private email when she was Secretary of State. The public editor writes, “competitive pressure and the desire for a scoop, led to too much speed and not enough caution.” (New York Times)
2. And if you missed it, a former Times reporter took on the story the other day at Newsweek.
3. The minimum wage is going up again in Minnesota due to legislation passed last year. It’s set to go up another 50 cents next year. (AP via MPR News)
4. The suicide rate in jails is higher than it is in prisons. (NPR)
5. Boston has given up its effort to win the 2024 Olympics as public support for the idea dropped. (USA Today)
Some Republicans in the Legislature say they want to allow active military personnel in the state to carry firearms.
The move would allow people in uniform to protect themselves if there is an attack on a military base or recruiting station, said Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa.
The lawmakers intend to introduce a bill when the Legislature reconvenes in March to allow the change.
Two weeks ago, five servicemen were killed in Tennessee when a gunman attacked two military sites.
“Men and women in uniform are simply being attacked because they represent America, should have the right and the ability to defend themselves, Gazelka said, “Not just the right, they have to have the ability to carry that gun and to say if you shoot, I’m shooting back.”
Republicans also want Gov. Dayton to issue an executive order requiring national guard members to carry guns. Dayton said last week he thinks the federal government should decide the issue. The Defense Department does not support plans to arm all military personnel.
The director of a gun control group says the proposal would allow military personnel to escape background checks aimed at screening for past domestic abuse cases. Improving the background check system, not arming more people, is a better answer, said Heather Martens of the group Protect Minnesota.
“We’re really concerned about cases where a dangerous person, who may happen to be active military, and has some issue where by they should not be carrying a gun, all of a sudden they can carry a gun without any kind of a screening,” said Martens. “That is a threat to public safety.”
A group on the other side of the gun issue, the Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee, said it supported both the proposed legislation and the call for Dayton to issue an executive order.
“The governors of several other states, including Wisconsin, Louisiana, Texas, Indiana, and Florida have authorized the arming of National Guard members to deter attacks and allow them the ability to protect themselves and civilians in case they are targeted, ” said Bryan Strawser, the group’s director.
UPDATE: Dayton issued a statement saying he’s relying on the judgment of General Richard Nash, the Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard, on which measures to take to protect the men and woman of the Guard.
Nash’s spokesman, Kevin Olson, issued a statement saying their force protection measures “will not include arming Soldiers and Airmen whose regular duties are not security-related.”
He said, however, that armed security officers are permanently stationed at the air bases in Duluth and Minneapolis and that security measures for state National Guard and federal facilities have and will continue to be evaluated and enhanced as it is deemed necessary.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is warning legislators that he won’t sign a tax cut bill next year unless they also use the budget surplus to provide an “equitable” funding increase for early childhood education. Read more →