Daily Digest: Minor mayhem at governor’s residence

Good morning. Welcome to Tuesday and your Daily Digest.

1. Man charged for crashing into governor’s gate. A St. Paul man is facing two criminal charges after ramming his SUV through the gate of the governor’s residence. The Ramsey County Attorney’s office has charged Clinton Fouquette, 59, with terroristic threats and criminal property damage, both felonies. The criminal complaint said he rammed his 1999 Chevy Tahoe into the ornamental steel gate at the entrance to the mansion on Summit Avenue. Troopers reported hearing a crash about 9:30 Sunday night, then finding Fouquette’s vehicle and removing him at gunpoint after deciding it wasn’t carrying an explosive. Fouquette later told investigators that he needed to talk to Gov. Mark Dayton about many problems, including, according the complaint, electricity under his skin. (MPR News)

2. Renewed push for law banning female genital mutilation. A Minnesota lawmaker said Monday that she plans a fresh push next year to strengthen a state law against female genital mutilation in the wake of a judge’s declaration last week that a federal law against the practice is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Bernhard Friedman, of Detroit, ruled last Tuesday that Congress lacks the authority to regulate the practice, but that states can do so under laws that criminalize sexual battery and abuse. The judge dismissed most criminal charges against a Michigan doctor accused of cutting nine girls from three states, including Minnesota. Franson, an Alexandria Republican, said Friedman’s ruling underscores the need for her bill, which passed the House 124-4 in 2017, but never got a vote or hearing in the Senate in the 2017 or 2018 sessions. The Michigan case was the impetus for her bill. (Associated Press)

3. Recount verifies incumbent council member’s loss. Vadnais Heights City Council Member Terry Nyblom lost his seat by 10 votes on election night — a thin enough margin to trigger a recount of his ballot totals within the city’s four precincts. For nearly four hours Monday morning, Ramsey County Elections judges hand-counted each of Nyblom’s 1,713 ballots, as well as the 1,723 ballots pertaining to Council Member Greg Urban, who placed second in the seven-way council race three weeks ago. So what changed? In a word: nothing. Urban retained his 10-vote lead in the recount, and Nyblom — the third-place vote-getter — will step down when the new council is seated in January.  (Pioneer Press)

4. Seeking federal help for CWD. Minnesota wildlife officials and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar are urging Congress to allocate more funding toward monitoring chronic wasting disease in the deer population. They’re asking the federal Department of Agriculture to develop national tracking of CWD and coordination among states, as well as standards for transporting deer across state lines. The disease is fatal to deer. There’s no cure and no vaccine, although teams of scientists are working on it. Until this hunting season, there were only 17 confirmed cases of CWD in Minnesota’s wild deer herds. They were concentrated within a five-mile radius between Preston and Lanesboro, in the southeastern part of the state. The Department of Natural Resources reported this month that early test results showed hunters in that area killed at least half a dozen CWD-infected deer this fall. (MPR News)

5. Walz transition group meets. A panel formed to assist Gov.-elect Tim Walz with setting up a new administration met for the first time Monday. The One Minnesota Transition Advisory Board is made up of 29 people, including representatives of faith communities, local government, nonprofits and organized labor. Lt. Gov.-elect Peggy Flanagan is leading the effort. During opening remarks, Flanagan said the panel is an expression of the new administration’s vision and values. “We believe that people who are directly affected by policy should have a seat at the table,” Flanagan said. “We would like to think that this transition advisory board is literally people being at the table.” (MPR News)

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