Good morning and welcome to Thursday. Here’s the Digest.
1. After a year-and-a-half of intense criticism and scrutiny of its policing practices, Falcon Heights made it official: Starting Jan. 1, the 6,000-resident suburb will be patrolled by Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies. Falcon Heights City Council voted unanimously for the change on Wednesday night, 16 months after the shooting death of Philando Castile at the hands of a St. Anthony police officer. Falcon Heights has contracted with St. Anthony for police services for 22 years; St. Anthony had at least one squad car in the city 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The contract with the Sheriff’s Office guarantees residents will receive the same level of service. It will, however, cost significantly more. (Star Tribune)
2. The head of the St. Paul police union said Wednesday they did not intend to revictimize mayoral candidate Melvin Carter III’s family in raising questions Tuesday about a home burglary, and he apologized. “Melvin Carter’s campaign has asserted that the amazing men and women of the St. Paul police department are racists,” St. Paul Police Federation President Dave Titus said in the three-sentence statement. “This is something we categorically deny and find offensive. The intent of our letter yesterday was in no way to revictimize the Carter family and for that we apologize.” Mayoral candidate Pat Harris, who is endorsed and financially backed by the St. Paul Police Federation, said Wednesday that he is not planning on distancing himself from the police union. “We hadn’t seen the letter before it went out and we weren’t involved with it,” Harris said. (Pioneer Press)
3. Lawyers for the Minnesota Legislature made an emergency plea Wednesday to a judge, asking that Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration be forced to provide access to new funding instead of requiring the House and Senate to exhaust reserves. It’s related to a court battle over Dayton’s line-item veto in May of the appropriation for the two chambers. In July, Ramsey County District Court Judge John Guthmann invalidated Dayton’s vetoes. But the governor appealed and the legal fight has been in the hands of the Minnesota Supreme Court since then. The high court initially ordered the sides into mediation, which failed. The Supreme Court has yet to rule definitively if the vetoes will stand. The new request petitions Guthmann to enforce his earlier order and allow the Legislature access to the money Dayton vetoed. (MPR News)
4. Short-term residential rentals will soon be legal — and regulated — in St. Paul. The St. Paul City Council on Wednesday approved regulations governing home sharing services like Airbnb and VRBO. They’ll take effect in about a month. Short-term rentals had been illegal within the city but thousands occurred every year, nevertheless. With the new rules, rental companies and hosts must get licenses. Hosts must also have insurance and collect lodging and sales taxes. People renting out their homes will pay a $40 annual fee. Rental service platforms will pay $10,000. Airbnb doesn’t like the regulations in St. Paul or Minneapolis and is hinting at possible legal action. (MPR News)
5. For decades, the Minnesota Nurse’s Association has weighed in on issues that directly affected those members: staffing, safety, flexibility in the workplace. Until recently, though, it wasn’t necessarily common to see nurses advocating for issues that weren’t directly tied to health care. That’s changed. Under new leadership, the nurses — often in their signature red T-shirts — have become a highly visible force in the Capitol’s corridors and city halls throughout Minnesota, arguing that good jobs, wages and a quality of life play an important role in public health. They’ve advocated for things like a higher minimum wage in Minneapolis and St. Paul, changes to immigration policy and paid sick leave, and pushed back on efforts to pass legislation to pre-empt local governments from passing their own ordinances. (MinnPost)