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Minnesota news in brief at 7:58 p.m. CST

Monday, February 10, 2014

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After postponement, Dayton undergoes hip surgery

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is recovering from a surgical procedure to alleviate pain in his hip.

A Dayton spokesman says Monday's surgery at Rochester's Mayo Clinic went as planned. Dayton had postponed it last week so he could attend the funeral of Joan Mondale.

Dayton will remain at Mayo for a few days before returning to the governor's residence, where he will work while recuperating. He will limit travel for up to three months, in part because of a brace he will wear.

It is the 67-year-old governor's third procedure at the Rochester clinic since taking office, following back surgery in December 2012 and a platelet injection last October to help heal a torn hip muscle.

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Minn. sues BP for $25M for cleanup of leaky tanks

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota is suing British Petroleum for $25 million, alleging the company double dipped when it sought state funds on top of insurance payments to clean up contamination from leaking petroleum storage tanks.

The Department of Commerce and Minnesota's Petrofund Board filed the suit Monday.

It alleges that from 1988 to 2012, BP received hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims to clean up polluted properties statewide. It alleges BP received $25 million from the Petrofund for those same sites.

Before seeking state funds, Petrofund applicants must disclose whether they have insurance, and whether it covers environmental damages. The suit says BP made misrepresentations about its insurance.

BP says it acted in good faith and plans to defend itself against the allegations.

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Ex-Minn. cop pleads guilty to sex charges

ANOKA, Minn. (AP) - A former Minneapolis police officer accused of using social media to try to lure girls into sexual encounters has pleaded guilty.

Bradley Schnickel pleaded guilty Monday in Anoka County to five counts of criminal sexual conduct, criminal sexual contact or solicitation of minors.

Schnickel had been scheduled to go on trial starting Monday. The Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1kwU1hO) reports he could face nearly 12 years in prison under the plea agreement.

Last summer, Schnickel was sentenced to one year in the Hennepin County workhouse and six years probation after pleading guilty to sending nude photographs of himself to two teenage girls in that county.

Schnickel was fired from the Minneapolis police force last February.

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Minn. Democrats to unveil transit funding plan

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Democratic leaders from the Legislature's transportation committees said Monday that they will unveil a proposal next week for funding improvements to roads, bridges and transit across Minnesota.

Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Frank Hornstein, both from Minneapolis, announced their intentions following an informational hearing on current transportation needs. The lawmakers, who chair the transportation committees in the Senate and House, will release details of their plan at a joint hearing on Feb. 18, Minnesota Public Radio News reported (http://bit.ly/1faPlHhhttp://bit.ly/1faPlHh ).

While a gas tax increase or other revenue-raising measures will be tough to sell in an election year session, Hornstein said the problems can't wait.

"Transportation challenges and projects don't go away, they just get more expensive," Hornstein said. "So by procrastinating, we're actually throwing money down the drain. That's why these projects need to get done."

Dibble wouldn't talk about specifics, but he said he believes a "robust, comprehensive, multi-modal transportation funding package" is needed this year.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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