- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Minnesota board: More study needed on sulfates

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said Wednesday that more data analysis must be done to determine whether it will recommend changes to the state’s water quality standards to protect wild rice from sulfates.

A preliminary analysis of a two-year study on the issue makes no recommendations for changes to the standard for sulfate discharges at this time but says site-specific standards might be needed for some waters. The analysis also suggests the current standard is within a range suitable for protecting wild rice.

“We’re learning it’s more complicated than it is simple,” said MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine. “So we have more work to do on that before we can settle on a recommendation or … recommendations that we know would be more comprehensive and protective.”

He said the analysis released Wednesday only begins to look at the complexity of the subject and is not a final answer on water quality standards.

Minnesota limits sulfate discharges from mines and other sources into waters that produce wild rice to 10 milligrams per liter, based on research from the 1940s suggesting that higher levels can stunt development of the plants.

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Minn. lawmakers recruit big-time sporting events

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - It takes easing up on a few laws to bring big-time sporting events to the Twin Cities, and Minnesota legislators are relaxing statutes where they can to make that happen.

One bill considered Wednesday afternoon by a House commerce and consumer committee would allow Hennepin County establishments that sell alcohol to stay open an extra two hours during two special July nights.

One for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game Home Run Derby on Monday, July 14, and one for the All-Star Game itself, on Tuesday, July 15.

That exception is just one sports-related accommodation lawmakers have before them.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders also met privately Wednesday to talk about tax changes that could be needed to land the Super Bowl. And a state representative has proposed a bill benefiting a professional golf foundation to coincide with the 2016 Ryder Cup to be held in Minnesota.

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MNsure board approves preliminary budget for 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The board of Minnesota’s new health insurance marketplace approved on Wednesday a preliminary budget for 2015 that officials said is balanced without seeking new federal or state money.

MNsure Interim CEO Scott Leitz told reporters at a briefing before the meeting that the proposed $39.8 million budget for next calendar year is based on the assumption that the federal government will let the exchange carry over $5 million in federal grants that have already been awarded but not spent.

“I think we have taken a fairly conservative approach in putting together this budget,” Leitz said. He said it assumes premium revenues will remain flat and conservative enrollment growth.

MNsure must report its preliminary 2014 budget to the Legislature by Saturday. Board member Lucinda Jesson, the state’s human services commissioner, said this version is firm enough to submit to lawmakers, but insisted that the board revisit the plan frequently before it adopts the final budget in November.

“I have a lot of concerns,” Jesson said. “There are a lot of uncertainties in this.”

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Woman arrested after death of Red Lake councilman

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Red Lake Tribal Council member who was known as a champion for treaty rights was found shot dead over the weekend, and a woman who was at the scene was arrested on domestic violence and assault charges, authorities said Wednesday.

Donald “Dudie” May, 58, died Saturday in rural Red Lake.

“It’s a huge blow to our community,” said Tribal Chairman Floyd Jourdain Jr. “There’s a lot of questions surrounding his death that cannot be answered at this time, and the community is just in shock. … We just have this pit in our stomachs and a hole in our hearts.”

Jourdain told The Associated Press there’s no indication May’s death was politically motivated.

Tribal police and the FBI are investigating.

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