Good morning and welcome to another Thursday. Seems like it came quick this week. Anyway, here’s the Digest.
1. Minneapolis police officers will soon be required to activate their body cameras when responding to nearly any call, under a policy announced Wednesday by Mayor Betsy Hodges and acting chief Medaria Arradondo. The police department’s use of body cameras had come under scrutiny following the recent shooting of Justine Ruszczyk (Damond), a Minneapolis resident who had called the police to report a possible rape. Neither of the two officers who responded to that call, including the officer who shot and killed Ruszczyk, had activated his body camera. Arradondo said the new policy would take effect in three days. A system that activates body cameras when a squad car’s lights are turned on will be implemented within a few months. (MPR News)
2. The Metropolitan Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a 25-cent fare increase for local and express buses, light rail and commuter rail, as well as a 50-cent hike for Metro Mobility, a service for disabled people. The council said the fare hike was needed to help offset an expected $110 million budget deficit over the next few years. This is due to an anticipated decline in motor vehicle sales tax revenue, “inflationary pressures” and growing demand for Metro Mobility, which is mandated by the federal government. Met Council Chairman Adam Duininck, leading his final meeting of the regional planning body, called the vote a “tough decision.” The higher fares kick in on Oct. 1.(Star Tribune)
3. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that thousands of loans Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business issued to students were illegal. The state’s highest court also found the schools issued the loans without the proper license and didn’t use lawful interest rates. The colleges offered between $3,000 and $7,500 per loan, bearing interest rates between 12 and 18 percent, according to the ruling. Attorney General Lori Swanson said the loans were issued to nearly 6,000 students since 2009. “We felt it was important for the Minnesota Supreme Court to give direction on the matter,” Swanson said. “Many of the students who were enrolled in loans of up to 18 percent interest have not been able to find gainful employment with their degrees and are swimming in student loan debt.” (MPR News)
4. Many customers at Minnesota license bureau locations are waiting in lines — at least one as long as two hours — due to a computer upgrade implemented last week. The upgrade was replacing a 30-year-old system at the state Driver and Vehicle Services department. It was intended to reduce turnaround time for title transactions and to ensure vehicle records are updated in real time. According to a representative at the St. Paul Sears license bureau location, however, the system itself is actually slower right now. And, some services such as leased-vehicle transactions and some types of special plates are providing inconsistent responses and proving difficult to process. (Pioneer Press)
5. Several members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation were quick to sound off on President Trump’s surprise announcement Wednesday to bar transgender people from serving in the military. Leading the charge was DFL Rep. Tim Walz, the highest-ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress. “After 24 years of service as an enlisted soldier, I know what it takes to build cohesive teams in our military,” Walz said in a statement. “This President, who hasn’t served a day of his life in uniform, does not.” Trump’s announcement, which he made on Twitter Wednesday morning, said transgender people won’t be allowed in the military “in any capacity.” The president cited “tremendous medical costs and disruption,” and said he consulted with generals to make his decision. (MPR News)