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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Rep. 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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‘Train Wreck’ Special Session Cost Estimated $108,000

The Minnesota Legislature’s recent special session ended with no major accomplishments, but the eight-day session will still cost taxpayers an estimated $108,000.

The special session concluded on June 20 after Republicans in the Senate and Democrats in the House failed to reach an agreement on police reform legislation, the allocation of federal coronavirus relief funds, and other leftover business from the regular session, such as a borrowing package for public infrastructure projects.

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Judge Rejects Cameras in the Courtroom for Former Police Officers’ Pretrial Hearings in Floyd Death

A Minnesota judge on Friday rejected allowing cameras in the court for pretrial proceedings of four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd.

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Minneapolis Council Members Who Want to Abolish Police Have Received $63,000 in Private Security

Minneapolis has spent $63,000 on private security for three council members who want to abolish the city’s police department.

Council Member Phillipe Cunningham confirmed the report in a statement released on Twitter Friday night.

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Pelosi Says House Police Reform Bill ‘Worthy of George Kirby’s Name’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during her weekly press briefing Friday that the Democrat-led police reform bill is “worthy of George Kirby’s name.”

The bill, however, is named for George Floyd, who died one month ago while in the custody of the Minneapolis police.

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As Trump Prepares for Independence Day Visit to Mount Rushmore, Tribal Leaders Say They Want It ‘Removed’

President Donald Trump will kick off Independence Day weekend with an event at Mount Rushmore, which has prompted some local leaders to call for the removal of one of the nation’s most iconic monuments.

Several groups led by Native American activists are planning protests for Trump’s July 3 visit. The event is slated to include fighter jets thundering over the 79-year-old stone monument in South Dakota’s Black Hills and the first fireworks display at the site since 2009.

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Walz Distributes $841M in Federal COVID Aid to Cities, Counties

Gov. Tim Walz approved plans Thursday to distribute $841 million in federal coronavirus aid to cities and counties across Minnesota, along with another $12 million for food banks and food shelves that have seen a surge in demand since the pandemic hit the state.

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Council Unanimously Approves Plan to Dismantle Minneapolis Police

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously approved a proposal to change the city charter to allow the police department to be dismantled, following widespread criticism of law enforcement over the killing of George Floyd.

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Tom Cotton Runs Digital Ad in Minnesota, Says Biden ‘Too Confused to Lead’ 

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), whom The Wall Street Journal recently described as the “heir to Trumpism,” has launched a new ad attacking Joe Biden for his failure to stand up to the “liberal mob.”

Cotton is running unopposed in his reelection bid and is considered a likely future presidential candidate for the Republicans.

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State Senators to Hold Oversight Hearings on Handling of Minneapolis Riots, Ask DOJ to Investigate Police

Three Republican state senators called on U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and the Department of Justice to investigate the Minneapolis Police Department and its response to recent unrest in the city.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) announced plans to hold a series of legislative oversight hearings beginning July 1 on state and local responses to the riots.

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‘Cancel the Cancel Culture’: Sauk Rapids Bar Owner Sues Liberal Group for Defamation

The owner of a Sauk Rapids bar and restaurant has sued a local activist group for defamation after it boasted about getting the business removed from a tourism website.

Rollie Hogrefe, owner of Rollie’s Rednecks and Longnecks, filed a defamation and tortious interference lawsuit Wednesday against the “radical agitators” of UniteCloud and its executive director Natalie Ringsmuth.

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Two Weeks Later, Investigation Into Toppling of Minnesota’s Christopher Columbus Statue Still Ongoing

It’s been two weeks since a Christopher Columbus statue was toppled outside the Minnesota Capitol, but the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said the investigation remains ongoing.

A spokesperson for the agency told KSTP chief political reporter Tom Hauser that the “investigation continues as the [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] works to identify other participants in the incident, beyond the leader.”

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Republican Pete Stauber, Former Law Enforcement Officer, Carries Police Reform Bill in the House

Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN-08), a former law enforcement officer of more than 20 years, announced last week that he will carry police reform legislation in the U.S. House.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced on Wednesday the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act, a Republican-backed police reform bill that was set in motion after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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‘Absolute Lie’: DFL Chairman Falsely Claims Jason Lewis ‘Denouncing Need for Police Reform’

Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin falsely claimed that Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis is “denouncing the need for police reform.”

Lewis, a former congressman who’s running against Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), hosted a press conference Monday outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct to express his support for the “good men and women of law enforcement,” and condemn Democratic efforts to abolish the police.

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Dean Phillips Challenger Says Single-Parent Homes ‘Chief Barrier’ to African-American Advancement

Republican congressional candidate Kendall Qualls said the “chief barrier to the advancement of the African-American community is the rise of single-parent households,” not “racism, police brutality or white privilege.”

Qualls is running against Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN-03), a first-term Democrat who unseated former Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen in 2018.

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Trump Mocks ‘Stone-Cold Crazy’ Minneapolis Officials, Predicts ‘Big Victory’ in Minnesota: ‘They’ve Had It’

President Donald Trump described Minneapolis officials as “stone-cold crazy” during his return to the campaign trail Saturday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The lawlessness of the “radical left” was a recurring theme of the president’s speech, and Minneapolis was a prime target.

“Our incredible success in rebuilding America stands in stark contrast to the extremism and destruction and violence of the radical left,” the president said early in his 90-minute address.

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Minnesota Ends ‘Train Wreck’ Special Session With No Deal on Policing, Bonding Bill

Minnesota legislative leaders traded barbs Saturday after a special session collapsed with no deal on revamping policing following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a session that one group called “a train wreck.”

The two sides may be back at it in another special session next month.

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Republicans Say Gov. Walz Has Failed to Provide Legal Justification for Coronavirus Shutdown

Republican lawmakers who sued Gov. Tim Walz said Friday that he has failed to provide legal justification for his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are winning on this issue, and Gov. Walz knows it,” said Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal), one of 13 Republican lawmakers who joined a lawsuit against Walz over his use of emergency powers during the pandemic.

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Hennepin County Commissioners Want to Declare Racism a ‘Public Health Crisis’

Two Hennepin County commissioners plan to introduce a resolution this week that would declare racism a “public health crisis.”

Commissioner Angela Conley announced Friday that she will introduce the resolution with Commissioner Irene Fernando during Tuesday’s Board meeting.

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Minneapolis Park Board Deems City Parks ‘Refuge Space’ for the Homeless

Under a resolution passed this week, Minneapolis leaders said they will allow the city’s homeless population to seek “refuge” in public parks.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) approved the resolution during a Wednesday meeting. According to a press release, the resolution “allows those currently experiencing homelessness to seek refuge on Minneapolis parkland,” and requests assistance from federal and state agencies in finding a permanent housing solution.

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Duluth Mayor Says ‘Chief’ Will Be Removed from Job Titles

Mayor Emily Larson said she wants the Duluth City Council to approve an ordinance that would remove the word “chief” from a city government job title.

“We are dropping the name chief with intention and with purpose so that we have more inclusive leadership and less language that is rooted in hurt,” said Larson, who called the title “offensive” and intentionally marginalizing.

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Minnesota Waives Absentee Ballot Witness Signature Requirement

Minnesota will waive its witness requirements for absentee ballots for the statewide primary election in August under the settlement of two lawsuits sparked by the health threat from the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuits were filed by political arms of the League of Women Voters of Minnesota and the Minnesota Alliance for Retired Americans. A Ramsey County judge signed off on the consent decree with the retirees Wednesday while a federal judge scheduled a hearing for Thursday on the league’s case.

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Target, Best Buy Declare Juneteenth Company Holiday, GOP Senator Moves to Make Federal Holiday

Both Target and Best Buy have announced plans to make Juneteenth a company-wide holiday, an idea that Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) wants to institute on the federal level.

“One of the most defining days in our nation’s history was when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, finally freeing all slaves in Confederate territory. But slaves in Texas wouldn’t learn this life-altering news for two and a half years,” Cornyn said during a Senate floor speech Thursday.

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Three More Charged in Minneapolis Arson Cases, ATF Offers $70K Reward for Additional Information

At least three more Minnesotans were charged this week for their involvement in the destruction of Minneapolis.

On Monday, U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald announced that 25-year-old Montez Terrill Lee of Rochester was charged with arson for starting a pawn shop on fire. According to a criminal complaint, surveillance video showed a masked man, later identified as Lee, pouring liquid from a metal container throughout the pawn shop on the night of May 28.

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University of Minnesota and Its Law School Announce George Floyd Memorial Scholarships

Several schools across the nation have launched memorial scholarships in honor of George Floyd, including the University of Minnesota and its law school.

The University of Minnesota Law School announced the creation of a George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law on Monday.

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Nine More Lawmakers Join Lawsuit Against Gov. Walz Over Use of Emergency Powers

Nine more Republican lawmakers have joined a lawsuit against Gov. Tim Walz regarding his use of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic.

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