>>Top Democrats say Uber/Lyft negotiations “positive and productive”, Repubs say they’re cut out of process

(St. Paul, MN)  —  Top Democrats — state Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy and House Majority Leader Jamie Long — say negotiations have been “positive and productive” to try to avert Uber and Lyft’s threatened May 1st departure from Minneapolis, while also assuring “the interests of drivers and their families are represented.” Their statement comes after Republicans last night (Thurs) unsuccessfully demanded an immediate vote in the House on a bill to override a Minneapolis ordinance that will set minimum pay for rideshare drivers. Farmington Representative Pat Garofalo told Democrats, “You’re going to need our help. We’re here to help you. We did it on the school resource officer bill and we’ll do it again, but you have to include us in the meetings you’re having and in the conversations you’re having — ’cause right now, you’re not.” Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy tells M-N-N that lawmakers have been working “incredibly hard” on a solution and Republican efforts to interrupt that work “will make it harder.”

>>Sen. Smith, A-G Ellison warn 1873 law could be used to ban medication abortions

(St. Paul, MN) — Senator Tina Smith and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison — both Democrats — warn a 150-year-old federal law that hasn’t been enforced for a century could be used to ban medication abortions and they want it repealed. Smith says the Comstock Act makes it illegal to distribute material deemed obscene through the mail, including items related to contraception and abortion — and “It’s a law that was dreamed up by Victorian-era morality police who believed that it was the government’s job to police people’s private lives.” Cathy Blaeser with Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life says, “Tina Smith and Keith Ellison have no regard for the safety of women or their reproductive health. They are perfectly fine with protecting the profits of abortion facilities.” Blaeser says those facilities are sending “very dangerous drugs” through the mail to women who have not had a doctor’s visit and are not aware of the complication rates and dangers.

>>Wolves/Lynx ownership battle could be headed to arbitration

(Minneapolis, MN) — Battle for ownership of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx basketball franchises could soon be heading to arbitration. Majority owner Glen Taylor called off the sale — that announcement a day after former baseball star Alex Rodriguez and tech magnate Marc Lore were set to pay the final installment in their agreed-to payment plan. The duo, who own 40% stake, exercised an option in 2023 to buy controlling interest, but Taylor alleges the pair missed a number of key deadlines. Rodriguez has since accused Taylor of “seller’s remorse,” telling Yahoo N-B-A reporter Shams Charania “we’ll use every effort to enforce the contract Taylor broke.” A recent Forbes valuation put the Timberwolves worth at $2.5 billion, one billion more than the sell price in 2021.

>>MN House committee debates Internet provider franchise fee, opponents say it’s another tax on struggling Minnesotans

(St. Paul, MN) — Minnesota municipalities could collect up to an 8 percent “franchise fee” from broadband providers as revenue from cable operations continues to drop, under a bill debated in Minnesota House committee today (Fri). Roseville Mayor Dan Roe says local cable franchising has a long record of protecting consumers and funding community media — which he says “remains a critical public resource — even more so as we experience the decline and disappearance of traditional sources of local news and information.” Republican Representative Danny Nadeau from Rogers responds there are other ways to pay for community T-V, and takes issue with some of the franchise fee going to help municipalities maintain right-of-way for Internet and other utilities. Nadeau says, “A fee has an associated cost that’s being borne…. It’s not a fee, it’s a tax.” Opponents say it’s a tax that families pressured by inflation cannot afford.

>>Ogilvie woman killed, passenger seriously injured in crash with semi north of Mora

(Mora, MN) — An woman was killed and a teenager seriously injured when the vehicle they were in collided with a semi Thursday morning north of Mora in east-central Minnesota. 35-year-old Candace Berglund of Ogilvie died in the crash and her passenger, 16-year-old Robert Berglund, was taken to Children’s Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The two people in the semi, a 49-year-old man from Cedar and a 39-year-old man from Saint Francis, were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

>>MN BCA Asks for Help Finding Missing Endangered Woman

(Hudson, WI) — The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension requests the public’s help finding an endangered woman. 45-year-old Alycia Hofkes, who has a history of drug addiction, was last seen leaving a treatment facility in Hudson, Wisconsin against medical advice around February 24th. Hofkes has no cell phone, no vehicle, and most likely no money, and hasn’t been heard from since disappearing. She’s white, 5-1, 110 pounds, with a blonde shaved head and hazel eyes. Anyone with information should call the Oakdale Police Department at 651-738-1025.

>>Blaine Man Charged with Felony Possession of Untaxed Tobacco Products

(St. Paul, MN) –A Blaine man has been charged with one felony count of possessing untaxed tobacco products. The criminal complaint states officials conducted a random tobacco retail inspection of Yusor Al-Hajaa’s business, Andover Tobacco, in January 2023 and seized over $4,000 in vape tobacco products without a valid purchase invoice from a licensed distributor. The alleged offense carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail, a $10,000 fine, or both.


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