>>Copper wire thefts, swatting, nuclear plants, A-I on Agenda today at the Minnesota Capitol

(St. Paul, MN)  —  Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter joined lawmakers at the State Capitol this morning (Mon) to highlight a bill designed to curb the sharp rise in theft of copper wire from street lamps, telephone systems, traffic lights, and other equipment.  It would require anyone selling copper metal in Minnesota to obtain a license.  A Senate committee debates a bill that would make a “swatting” call a felony if it falsely directs emergency responders to the home of an elected official, judge, prosecutor, peace officer, or correctional facility employee.  There are informational hearings in the Senate on artificial intelligence and on Minnesota’s current moratorium on the construction of new nuclear power plants.  Later in the day (330pm start), the House debates and votes on the judiciary, public safety, and elections policy bills.  And there’s a House hearing today (1pm) on a bill that would allocate 200 thousand dollars to remove the statue of Henry Mower Rice, one of Minnesota’s first two U-S Senators, from the U-S Capitol and replace it with a statue of former Vice President and U-S Senator Hubert Humphrey.

>>Backers pushing for ERA/abortion state constitutional amendment, six weeks left in session

(St. Paul, MN)  —  Six weeks remain in the legislative session, and pressure is building on Democrats to put an Equal Rights Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution on the ballot.  But while House Democrats want abortion rights language included, there’s less firm support for that in the Senate.  House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy have both voiced support for including abortion rights, but Murphy says, “When we take it to the ballot, I want to make sure that we can get it passed.  And that’s the work we’re doing now to ensure we’re in a strong position.”  And how certain is Murphy that a constitutional amendment will end up on the ballot?  She says, “I have a lot of confidence in my colleagues, in our ability to make progress on the hardest of issues, and so I have confidence in that.”  Murphy supports putting the constitutional amendment before voters in 2026, but some lawmakers want it on the ballot this fall.

>>Democrats trying to get Uber/Lyft compromise as May 1st deadline approaches

(St. Paul, MN)  —  Democratic leaders of the Minnesota Legislature say meetings have been “positive and productive” as they work toward averting Uber and Lyft’s threatened May 1st departure from Minneapolis over a new ordinance that will set minimum pay for rideshare drivers.  Republican Pat Garofalo (guh-RAH-fuh-loe) says, don’t assume the city council will fix the problem, even under pressure from lawmakers.  He says, “This is too important of an issue to have all our eggs in one basket.  There needs to be a Plan B” — namely,  pass Republicans’ bill to cancel the Minneapolis ordinance.  Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy responds Democrats are working to ensure two things: drivers get a fair minimum wage, and people can use rideshare.  Murphy says, “Efforts on the part of Republicans to try and interrupt that work won’t make it any easier, and in fact will make it harder.”

>>Trial For Man Accused Of Deadly 2022 Stabbing On Wisconsin’s Apple River

(Hudson, WI)  —  The murder trial of a Prior Lake man accused in a deadly 2022 stabbing on the Apple River in Wisconsin enters its second week.  Nicolae Miu is charged with homicide, attempted homicide, and battery.  Prosecutors say the 54-year-old defendant killed 17-year-old Isaac Schuman and hurt four others.  Mui’s defense team says a group of teens attacked their client, and he was forced to defend himself.  The trial started on April 1, and it’s expected to last around two weeks.

>>Blackout Plates Proving Popular In Minnesota

(St. Paul, MN)  —  Minnesotans have been showing a great interest in one of the state’s newest specialty license plates, as nearly 50,000 of the new blackout license plates have been purchased since they were introduced on January 1st. The Driver and Vehicle Services Division expects to sell about 160,000 of these plates this year, which would make it the most popular specialty plate in Minnesota’s history. The purchase of these plates contributes to a state fund dedicated to the operation of Driver and Vehicle Services.

>>Virgil Wind Elected Chief Executive of Mille Lacs Band Of Ojibwe

(Cass Lake, MN) —  A Minnesota Native American tribe has a new leader after primary elections last week. Virgil Wind was selected as chief executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe after getting more than 67 percent of the vote. The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe says Wind was declared the winner because he received more than 50 percent of the vote. Other tribal positions will be decided during a general election in June.

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