Good morning. Let me be among the first to wish you a happy Friday. Here’s a look at the Digest.
1. Lawmakers took US Bank Stadium officials to task at the state Capitol Thursday, saying they still have grave reservations about security at the $1.1 billion facility and about the company that runs it. The Vikings stadium fired its security contractor, Chicago-based Monterrey Security, last month and quickly replaced it with two other firms. Confusion by an executive of the stadium’s management company, SMG, about requirements for security credentials showed that problems didn’t go away after Monterrey’s firing, said Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, the state government finance committee chair. (MPR News)
2. After a plea from a woman who was assaulted by one of his former interns, Sen. Al Franken is pushing legislation designed to help victims of sexual assault. Abby Honold went to Franken for help in making sure other victims don’t go through the ordeal she did after reporting the crime. At her urging, he’s now pushing a bill in the U.S. Senate that seeks to establish federal grants for special law enforcement training that would focus on how first responders or investigators interview possible victims. (MPR News)
3. University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler is pitching a 15-percent hike in the U’s nonresident tuition for each of the next two academic years. Kaler says the move will bring the university to the middle range for out-of-state tuition in the Big Ten. The U now ranks next-to-last for nonresident tuition and seventh out of 14 peer institutions for in-state tuition. That disparity has prompted charges from some lawmakers that Minnesota taxpayers are subsidizing the education of students from other states. At a Thursday meeting, many regents voiced cautious support for the plan. But some said they worry a steep increase in nonresident tuition might undo gains the U has made in recruiting students from across the country, thanks in part to a 2007 decision to reduce those rates. (Star Tribune)
4. Pheasant hunting season opens tomorrow, and it looks like it might be hard to bag a bird. A lack of habitat has led to a shrinking pheasant population, which in turn has led to a drop in the number of pheasant hunters. Fifty years ago there were more than three times as many pheasant hunters as there are today. And any hope of bringing back the days of big pheasant populations appears to depend on what happens in Washington. Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson says right now it doesn’t look like there will be much money available for expanding federal farm programs like the Conservation Reserve Program, which pays farmers to take land out of production and turn it into grassland where pheasants thrive. (MPR News)
5. On Thursday, an advisory group of elected officials and community members recommended the $1.2 billion streetcar option to run along West Seventh Street — an early, but significant, step in the transit-planning process. The committee opted for the streetcar — a mode that doesn’t exist in Minnesota — over five others, including a “no build” option and bolstering bus service. Thursday’s recommendation now means the public will have its say at a Nov. 9 hearing. Once that occurs, the Policy Advisory Committee will likely vote on a formal recommendation in December. Ultimately, the Metropolitan Council will have a say, presuming Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington and Hennepin and Ramsey counties approve the plan. The line isn’t expected to begin passenger service until 2027. (Star Tribune)