Good morning and happy Friday, the second one of September already. Here’s the Digest.
1. Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday ordered his economic development agency to prepare a bid for a new Amazon.com headquarters building the company says will deliver as many as 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment for the location it selects. The tantalizing prospect of so many high-paying jobs is sure to lead to an avalanche of proposals from around the country. Seattle-based Amazon announced the sweepstakes Thursday and gave interested cities and states about a month to submit proposals. Dayton put the Department of Employment and Economic Development on the case and said he would meet Friday with Commissioner Shawntera Hardy about what might go into a bid. (MPR News)
2. The number of Minnesotans who died from opioid overdoses continued to rise last year, according to new data from the Minnesota Department of Health. Opioid overdoses took the lives of 376 people in the state in 2016, an increase of 12 percent. That’s more than half of drug overdose deaths overall. The number of people dying from opioid overdoses has been rising steadily across the country for the last decade and a half. Minnesota’s Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger said deaths from drug overdoses in the state have increased six-fold since the year 2000. “This means that on an average day, nearly two people died in Minnesota from drug overdose in 2016, more Minnesotans die from overdose than from traffic fatalities,” Ehlinger said. (MPR News)
3. There’s a trend emerging among the DFL candidates for governor. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, state Reps. Erin Murphy, Tina Liebling and Paul Thissen, and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz all support legalizing marijuana for recreational and not just medical use. Among the major DFL candidates, only State Auditor Rebecca Otto declined to do so. “When you confront the reality of the cost of criminalization vs. the benefits of legalization, I think the benefits outweigh the costs,” said Coleman, whose campaign approached the Star Tribune to discuss the issue. Incumbent DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is against legalizing recreational use, and the four major Republican candidates for governor are all opposed to marijuana legalization.. (Star Tribune)
4. Mayor Betsy Hodges said Thursday she is “happy to remove” a much-criticized non-disparagement clause from the proposed separation agreement with former Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau. Harteau said Wednesday that she did not ask for the non-disparagement clause, which has attracted criticism from City Council members whose approval the agreement needs before it goes into effect. The deal she and Hodges struck would pay Harteau $183,000 through the end of 2018, which would have been the end of her term as chief, and included a mutual non-disparagement clause that would apply to Hodges, Harteau, all 13 City Council members and city of Minneapolis department heads. (Star Tribune)
5. Since the massive, $6.5 billion economic development project Destination Medical Center was born in 2013, land developers have been gobbling up property around the Mayo Clinic, and county records show commercial property values across Rochester have increased by about 50 percent. Property taxes are rising too. Fostering small business within the Destination Medical Center development district is an explicit goal of the project. But these days many entrepreneurs are priced out. (MPR News)