North Minneapolis Democrat Says City Facing ‘Real Emergency’ Amid Ceaseless Violence

A north Minneapolis Democrat said his constituents are “facing a real emergency” as the city continues to experience alarming levels of gun violence.

“Every Minnesotan deserves to be safe in their own neighborhood, but right now many people are experiencing gun violence at unsustainable levels,” Rep. Fue Lee (DFL-Minneapolis) said in a statement released Saturday. “The neighborhoods I represent in north Minneapolis are facing a real emergency.”

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Minneapolis May Lay off 40 Workers, Cut Spending Projects to Fill $156 Million Budget Deficit

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey presented a plan to patch a more than $155 million revenue gap using furloughs, cash reserves and spending freezes.

The deficit followed the COVID-19 pandemic and riots in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody, which combined brought a steep drop in parking, utilities and general revenue.

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The Detroit Pistons’ Onetime Home, the Palace of Auburn Hills, Torn Down

One of Michigan’s most beloved sports and entertainment venues was turned into rubble on Saturday with a series of controlled explosions.

The shell and roof of the Palace of Auburn Hills, which was home to three championship Detroit Pistons teams and three Detroit Shock teams and played host to some of the world’s biggest musical acts during its nearly 30-year run, crumbled to the ground following a series explosive pops. The rest of the arena had already been removed.

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Trump Rejects Gov. Walz’s Request for Federal Support to Rebuild Minneapolis from Riots

President Donald Trump has rejected Gov. Tim Walz’s request for federal financial assistance to help rebuild portions of the Twin Cities that were destroyed by rioting.

Nearly 1,500 Twin Cities businesses were vandalized, burned, or looted during the late May riots, with current estimates of the damage exceeding $500 million.

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Gov. Whitmer Mandates Masks Indoors with $500 Fine; Retail Group Says Rule ‘Impossible’ to Enforce

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-147, requiring Michiganders to wear a mask when in an indoor public space starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

The order also requires residents to wear a mask in crowded outdoor spaces and mandates any business open to the public to refuse entry or service to those without a mask, with some exceptions.

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Walz Calls Another Special Session, Says He Will Extend COVID-19 Emergency Powers

Gov. Tim Walz said he plans to extend his COVID-19 peacetime emergency declaration for another 30 days when lawmakers return to St. Paul Monday for a special session.

The governor announced Friday night that he has convened a special legislative session for July 13, the same day his peacetime emergency declaration is set to expire. According to Minnesota law, the governor must convene both houses of the Legislature if he wishes to extend a peacetime emergency when the Legislature is not in session.

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Michigan Health Professionals to Be Required to Undergo Implicit Bias Training

Health professionals in Michigan will soon be required to undergo implicit bias training in order to obtain a license, registration or renewal of license and registration, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Thursday.

Whitmer said the move was recommended by the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, which was created to respond to the impact COVID-19 had on communities of color.

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DFL Targets State Senate Republicans on Police Reform in New Ad Campaign

The Minnesota DFL Party launched a new ad campaign this week targeting key Republican state senators who are accused of “standing in the way of passing real police reform.”

Jason Lewis, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, said in a recent interview that Democrats don’t “want reform” so much as they “want a political issue.”

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Majority of Minnesota Parents Say They Are Comfortable Sending Children Back to School in Fall

A survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Education found that the majority of parents would feel comfortable sending their children back to school this fall.

Between June 15 and July 6, the agency collected more than 130,000 responses to the informal survey, which was offered in English, Hmong, Spanish, and Somali. A total of 64 percent of respondents said they would feel comfortable sending their children back to school in September. Of that 64 percent, 94 percent said they would send their children back to school full time.

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Michigan’s Unemployment Once Again Begins to Drop

 New unemployment claims dropped slightly in Michigan last week, a trend also reflected in national numbers reported by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

The week-over-week numbers reported for Michigan the week ending July 4 show 34,470 DOL new initial claims, a decrease of 3,839 initial unemployment claims from the previous week’s 38,309 new claims.

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Minnesota’s Unemployment Numbers Exhibit Slight Increase

New unemployment claims increased slightly in Minnesota last week, as well as overall total unemployment, running opposite from the falling national trend reported by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The week-over-week numbers reported for Minnesota the week ending July 4 show 19,886 new initial claims, an increase of 513 initial unemployment claims from the previous week’s 19,373 new claims.

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DOJ Announces Twin Cities Violent Crimes Task Force In Response to ‘Extraordinary Spike’ in Violence

The Department of Justice announced the formation of a new Twin Cities Violent Crimes Task Force Wednesday in response to an “extraordinary spike in gun violence and violent crimes.”

Erica MacDonald, U.S. attorney for the District of Minnesota, said the task force will bring together federal and state resources to assist local law enforcement in investigating, arresting, and prosecuting individuals responsible for gun violence.

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Michigan State University Administrator Resigns Over Police Research After Petition Pressure

Michigan State University administrator Stephen Hsu has resigned as vice president of research and innovation after a petition called for his removal over Hsu touting Michigan State research that found police are not more likely to shoot African-Americans.

Hsu had given a small amount of funding to the author of a 2019 study title “Officer characteristics and racial disparities in fatal officer-involved shootings.” The study had gained national recognition after it was cited by Heather MacDonald in the Wall Street Journal as evidence that systemic racism in policing is nonexistent, according to The Blaze.

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Jason Lewis Says Parents Should Be Refunded for Property Taxes If Schools Don’t Reopen

Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis said parents should be refunded for property tax payments and tuition if schools aren’t allowed to reopen in the fall.

“The more we learn about COVID, the more it becomes apparent that we have done a huge disservice to our children in the way we have handled this virus. Research has proven that COVID presents minimal risks to young people. But what isn’t minimal is the toll this prolonged lockdown and social isolation has on our kids’ social, mental, and physical well-being,” Lewis said in a statement released Wednesday.

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Three Sexual Assaults Reported at Minneapolis Homeless Encampment in Public Park

Police are investigating a string of sexual assaults at a homeless encampment in a Minneapolis park, according to various news reports.

Since June 26, Minneapolis Park Police have received three reports of sexual assault in Powderhorn Park, where more than 850 people have set up a 560-tent encampment, according to KARE 11. Two of the assaults involved juvenile victims.

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Michigan Rising Action Director Pushes Back on Coronavirus Task Force Timeline

Executive Director of Michigan Rising Action Tori Sachs criticized the timeline of the state’s coronavirus task force on Wednesday.

The Michigan Nursing Home COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force — which includes 13 members, several leaders from state health and regulatory departments, and state legislators — has until August 31 to present a plan to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for “any future wave of COVID-19 cases by developing an action plan based on timely and high-quality data,” according to the executive order that created the task force in June.

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Republican Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Sell Minnesota’s $6.9 Million COVID-19 Morgue

A Republican lawmaker has drafted a bill that would require Minnesota to sell a facility it purchased for the storage of deceased COVID-19 patients.

Due to a projected surge in COVID-19 fatalities, the state of Minnesota spent $6.9 million in May to acquire a warehouse for the “temporary storage of human remains.” As of early June, however, the facility had yet to be used.

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Nessel and Four States Sue DeVos over Federal School Aid Rule

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the attorneys general of four other states are suing U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over a July 1 rule that requires sharing funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act between private and public schools.

Nessel called DeVos’ rule “a flagrant violation of the plain language of the [CARES] Act.”

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Lt. Gov. Flanagan Shares Post Calling Mount Rushmore ‘Symbol of White Supremacy’

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan shared a post on social media over the Independence Day weekend calling Mount Rushmore a “symbol of white supremacy.”

“Mount Rushmore is a symbol of white supremacy, of structural racism that’s still alive and well in society today. It’s an injustice to actively steal Indigenous people’s land, then carve the white faces of the colonizers who committed genocide,” said the post, which Flanagan shared on her Instagram.

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Whitmer Announces Appointments to Coronavirus Nursing Home Task Force

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday announced that she had appointed 13 health industry and medical professionals to the Michigan Nursing Home COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force.

In addition to the 13 members appointed by Whitmer, the task force also includes Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon or his designee, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Orlene Hawks or her designee, Michigan State Long Term Care Ombudsman Salli Pung, State Sens. Rosemary Bayer (D-12-Oakland) and Curt VanderWall (R-35-Benzie) and State Reps. Leslie Love (D-10- Redford) and Hank Vaupel (R-47-Livingston).

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Walz Expected to Call Another Special Session to Extend Emergency Powers

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to call another special session by the end of the week in order to extend his peacetime emergency powers.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) alerted members and staff in a Monday email about the likely special session.

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Minnesota Board of Medical Practice Investigating Republican Senator for Speaking Out on COVID-19

State Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), a practicing physician, revealed Sunday that anonymous complaints were filed against him with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice for his public comments on the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is one of the most important videos I’ve made and one of the hardest,” Jensen said in a video posted to Facebook. “Less than a week ago, I was notified by the Board of Medical Practice in Minnesota that I was being investigated because of public statements I had made.”

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Federal Judge Dismisses Republican Lawsuit Over Constitutionality of Redistricting Commission

A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit backed by the Michigan Republican Party that claimed restrictions on members of the redistricting commission in the state were unconstitutional.

The Michigan Republican Party and Tony Daunt, the executive director for the Michigan Freedom Fund, had originally submitted two separate lawsuits that later joined together claiming that the voter-backed redistricting commission violated their constitutional rights, including right to association.

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Michigan State University Student Government Seeks to Ban All ‘Chemical Compounds’ Used by Campus Police

Michigan State University’s student government recently passed a police reform measure hoping to ban the use of chemical compounds and decrease funding and called for non-citizen financial aid.

The 57th Session of the Associated Students of MSU (ASMSU) met June 18 for an emergency meeting called by ASMSU President Abii-Tah Bih, citing “turbulent times.” The assembly discussed six pieces of legislation using Zoom.

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Electronic Security Question to be on Michigan’s November Ballot

Michigan Supreme Court

Michigan voters will see a question on the Nov. 3 ballot asking whether police should need a warrant to search electronic data.

The federal and state Constitution protects against unreasonable search and seizure of people’s “houses, papers, and effects” without a warrant.

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Dave Yost Seeks Public’s Input on Whether Google Uses ‘Deceptive Sales Practices’

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said he wants the public to weigh in on the question of whether internet search engines should be “allowed to favor their own products and services in search results.”

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Pharma Trade Group Sues State Over Affordable Insulin Law Hours Before it Became Law

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) filed a lawsuit late Tuesday seeking to strike down affordable insulin legislation the day before the law took effect.

The Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act was named after a 26-year-old who died in 2017 while rationing his insulin medicine because he couldn’t afford the $1,300 refill after aging out of his parent’s insurance coverage.

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Michigan AG Nessel Will Comply with U.S. House ‘Partisan’ Request to Investigate Whitmer’s COVID-19 Nursing Home Policies

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel defiantly responded to a letter from U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., regarding the number of nursing home deaths in the state attributed to COVID-19.

Scalise is ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Coronavirus. His June 25 letter – also signed by Reps. Jim Jordan, R- Ohio; Blaine Luetkeymer, R-Mo.; and Jackie Walorski, R-Ind. – followed a similar letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to which she did not respond.

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Republicans Invoke Independence Day In Opposition to Walz’s Coronavirus Response

Gov. Tim Walz recently filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against him regarding his use of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit was filed on May 28 by four members of the New House Republican Caucus, the Free Minnesota Coalition, and at least eight businesses across the state. The complaint argues that the governor does not have the authority to “suspend the constitutional rights of Minnesotans.”

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Michigan Diverts a Third of All Gas Tax Revenues Away from Road Repairs

Every U.S. state taxes fuel sales to fund road repairs.  

Fully half of them, however, divert a portion of those taxes for other purposes. And Michigan, with a gas-tax diversion rate (GTDR) of 33.9 percent, is ranked with New Jersey as the third highest GTDR in the nation. Only New York (37.5 percent) and Rhode Island (37.1 percent) have higher GTDRs.

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Ilhan Omar Introduces Federal Job Guarantee Bill

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) introduced a bill last week that would create a “job guarantee program” at the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Workforce Promotion and Access Act, sponsored by Omar and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), seeks to get more Americans “back to work in living-wage jobs created directly by the federal government.”

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Steve Bannon Presents: Descent Into Hell

An all new LIVE STREAM of Descent Into Hell starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

The two-hour special takes a closer look at the life of everyday Chinese citizens under the Chinese Communist Party and will air live on the John Fredericks Radio Network, America’s Voice Network, Dish TV Channel 219, The Epoch Times, ND TV, GTV and GNews in Mandarin.

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Michigan Sees 460 New Confirmed Coronanvirus Cases, Second-Highest Number Since June 1

Michigan saw 460 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus announced on Friday, the second-highest number of new cases since June 1, according to analysis from BridgeMI.

The number follows Thursday’s 543 new cases, the highest number since June 1. The two-day total breaks the 1,000 confirmed cases mark.

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Walz Asks Federal Government to Help Twin Cities Rebuild from $500M Worth of Rioting Damage

Gov. Tim Walz has requested federal financial assistance to help the Twin Cities recover from more than $500 million worth of damage caused by rioting.

In a press release, Walz’s office said nearly 1,500 Twin Cities businesses were vandalized, burned, or looted during the late May riots, with current estimates of the damage exceeding $500 million.

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Minnesota’s Betty McCollum Touts ‘Decade’ of Work to Change Washington Redskins Name

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN-04) praised FedEx and Nike for their efforts to pressure the Washington Redskins into changing the team’s “harmful” name and mascot.

“I have been working on this for almost a decade because I believe all people, including Native Americans, should be treated with dignity and respect – and not dehumanized as mascots,” McCollum said in a statement.

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New Claims Fall, but Minnesota Unemployment Rises bove 356,000

Minnesota added 20,157 new unemployment claims in the week ending June 27, according to U.S. Department of Labor data.

That’s a decrease of 350 the previous week’s 20,487 new claims and brings the total number of unemployment claims in the state to 356,775, up 5,003 from the previous week’s 351,722 total number.

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Wisconsin Republican Senator Moves to Drop Columbus Day as Federal Holiday

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has cosponsored an amendment to replace Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a new federal holiday.

The measure was introduced Wednesday as an amendment to Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) bill to declare Juneteenth a federal holiday. Johnson is co-sponsoring the amendment with Sen. James Lankford (R-OK).

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Absentee Voter Applications Up By One Million Compared to 2016

Requests for absentee ballots are up by nearly one million compared to 2016, an increase of 350 percent, according to the Michigan Secretary of State.

Compared to this time in 2016 — 35 days before the primary election —the number of applications for absentee ballots is up by 945,605. Michigan has issued nearly 1,006,000 ballots compared to just 283,731 in 2016. More than 35,000 have already been returned, compared to the a little more than 23,800 four years ago.

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GOP State Senators Ask Minnesota Historical Society to Return Columbus Statue to Capitol

Two Republican state senators asked the Minnesota Historical Society to repair and restore a Christopher Columbus statue that was torn down outside the Minnesota Capitol three weeks ago.

Although the incident took place in broad daylight and was recorded by countless news stations and reporters, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said last week the investigation remains ongoing.

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Hennepin County Board Passes Resolution Declaring Racism a ‘Public Health Crisis’

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday declaring racism a “public health crisis.”

Commissioners Angela Conley and Irene Fernando introduced the resolution, which passed in a vote of 6-1.

“Ultimately this resolution is about the health and well-being of Hennepin County residents who have borne the brunt of racial discrimination and racial inequity through various different systems,” Conley said in a press release after the resolution passed.

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Three More Charged with Arson in Connection to Twin Cities Riots

Three more Minnesotans are facing federal arson charges in connection to the late May riots in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Both Matthew Scott White, 31, and Mohamed Hussein Abdi, 19, were arrested on June 29 and charged with one count of arson.

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Michigan Judge Allows Restart of Disputed Oil Pipeline

A Michigan judge Wednesday allowed Enbridge to resume pumping oil through a Midwestern pipeline, nearly a week after shutting it down because of damage to a structure that anchors a section of the line running through a Great Lakes channel.

Enbridge’s Line 5 moves crude oil and liquids used in propane from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario, passing through parts of Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. A four-mile-long (6.4-kilometers-long) segment divides into two pipes that cross the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lakes Huron and Michigan.

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Michigan Bars Closed for Indoor Service, Restaurants Now Allowed to Deliver Alcohol

Michigan restaurants and bars will now be allowed to sell to-go alcoholic beverages, thanks to a new package of bills signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday.

Bars and restaurants will now be able to sell drinks to-go, as well as deliver them, until December 31, 2025. Whitmer’s office said the bills are aimed at providing relief for restaurants and bars impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, according WXYZ.

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Judge Threatens to Move Trial Out of Minneapolis If Public Officials Don’t Stop Speaking Out About Floyd Case

A Minnesota judge on Monday warned that he’s likely to move the trials of four former police officers charged in George Floyd’s death out of Minneapolis if public officials, attorneys and family members don’t stop speaking out about the case.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill stopped short of issuing a gag order against attorneys on both sides, but he said he likely will if public statements continue that make it hard to find an impartial jury. Cahill said that would also make him likely to grant a change-of-venue motion if one is filed, as he anticipates.

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Walz Says Statewide Mask Mandate Is ‘On the Table’

Gov. Tim Walz said a statewide mask mandate to help curb the spread of COVID-19 is “on the table” during a Monday press conference.

According to Walz, Republican governors who participated in a Monday phone call with Vice President Mike Pence were also “exploring the idea.”

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Michigan Publishes Reopening Guidance for Schools, Allocates $256M

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released a set of health and safety guidelines on Tuesday for schools returning to in-person classrooms among the pandemic.

The “MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap” outlines safety protocols for schools in each stage or reopening and includes information on the proper use of personal protection equipment, disinfecting, spacing in classrooms and identifying symptoms, among other things. Guidance is distinguished by phases and includes both required and recommended protocols.

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Reddit Bans Pro-Trump Group in Latest Attack on Conservative Speech

Reddit, one of the top internet sites in the world, on Monday banned a major pro-President Donald Trump group that had about 800,000 members, citing “hate speech.”

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