Good morning and welcome to what looks to be a warm July Monday. Here’s the Digest.
1. A 40-year-old woman who family members said called 911 to report a possible assault in the alley behind her home Saturday night was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer. Friends and community members who gathered at the scene of the shooting Sunday say they want to know the names of the two officers involved in the shooting, and also want transparency as the investigation continues. Mayor Betsy Hodges said it’s “difficult and challenging” to have few facts at this point. Hodges said, “my understanding, from the BCA’s initial statement, is that the officers’ body cameras were not turned on at the time of the incident and the squad camera did not capture the incident. I intend to learn more.” (MPR News)
2. In June the city of Minneapolis launched a new statewide hotline for reporting hate crimes, joining cities such as New York City, Washington, D.C., and Seattle. In the announcement, Velma Korbel, director of the city’s Department of Civil Rights, warned of a rise in bigotry and xenophobia and said that, “in no uncertain terms,” hate-based actions had no place in Minneapolis, including “hate-motivated speech.” How this will be enforced is yet to be seen, but trying to crack down on speech gets into legally tricky territory, said Jane Kirtley, media ethics and law professor at the University of Minnesota. (Star Tribune)
3. Minnesota lawmakers entered 2017 squarely focused on rescuing the individual insurance market from collapse. By next year, all eyes will be on a funding crisis facing the state’s public health care programs for low-income residents, and the specter of painful cuts and service disruptions. Much of those problems hinge on Congress as it moves to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law with bills that would eventually cut billions in Medicaid spending. But state officials also face problems of their own making. (AP via Star Tribune)
4. Oops. Now that the portraits of Minnesota governors are back in the state Capitol a couple of recent occupants of the office aren’t thrilled with the informational plaques that accompany their pictures. Former Independence Party Gov. Jess Ventura says his includes a quote he didn’t say, and Republican Tim Pawlenty says his has a negative bias. Before pictures of living former governors didn’t include plaques, and the Historical Society says it will address the governors’ concerns. (MPR News)
5. Calling it a “very good land exchange… for the taxpayers and the citizens of our nation,” U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan testified in front of the House Subcommittee on Public Lands Friday in favor of a bill the 8th District DFLer authored. The legislation would authorize a federal land exchange the contentious PolyMet copper-nickel mine proposal needs in order to advance. Last January the U.S. Forest Service approved the swap which would trade 6,650 acres of federal land to PolyMet near Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes, Minn., for a similar amount of private land in northeast Minnesota. But environmental groups have since filed four lawsuits seeking to block the exchange, arguing the proposal harms endangered species and shortchanges taxpayers because it undervalues the federal land to be traded. Nolan’s bill, if passed, would thwart those lawsuits and allow the land exchange to proceed. (MPR News)