Minnesota Gun Battle Breaks Out of Committee, Moves to House Floor

A dramatically weakened gun-safety bill eked out a narrow escape from a Minnesota House committee Thursday, keeping the explosive issue of gun violence alive, ensuring that the Legislature will be asked to consider some tightening of Minnesota gun laws, and setting up contentious floor fights over the issue in the House in the weeks ahead. After two months of debate, the House Public Safety Committee, chaired by Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, passed a bill including a softened requirement for background checks on buyers at gun shows. The narrow approval, on mostly party lines, came on a 10-8 vote (one Democrat, John Ward of Baxter, voted no), that presaged a contentious floor fight ahead. Rep. Tony Cornish, a gun-carrying Republican from Good Thunder, promised as much, telling Paymar after the vote to expect an all-out effort to defeat the bill.

Last Rites In Foreclosure Fight? Minnesota Senate Dems Block Hearing on Homeowners’ Bill of Rights

This is not the way Minnesota housing rights activists thought it would turn out when Democrats regained control of the the State Legislature: Hopes for passing a Homeowners’ Bill of Rights to protect Minnesotans from needlessly losing their homes to foreclosure all but died Friday. A Homeowners’ Bill of Rights — similar to one that was adopted by California last year — would require automatic mediation between banks and homeowners facing foreclosure and prohibit the practice of “dual-tracking,” in which banks negotiate with homeowners while simultaneously moving them towards foreclosure, often without their knowledge. Activists have been hoping that the Legislature will adopt such protections to help end the foreclosure crisis but got a cold dose of political reality: Without banking industry approval, some Democrats in the Senate appear unwilling to support a Homeowners’ Bill of Rights. In a polite but tense, closed-door meeting between activists and staffers for the Democratic chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. James Metzen of South St. Paul, supporters of the proposal were told that it will not be given a hearing this session.

Gun Fight: Can Minnesota Have a Fair Gun Debate at Gunpoint?

What if they gave a debate about guns in society and there were no guns in the room?

Minnesota may never know what that would look like.

Last week’s series of hearings in the Minnesota State Capitol on legislation to reduce gun violence had an unintended and unforeseen outcome: Guns in society wasn’t the most pressing issue. Guns in the Capitol was.

Dakota Spoken Here: Mni Sota’s Dakota Indian Heritage

Editor’s note: “Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota,” was the winner in the Minnesota category of the 2013 Minnesota Book Awards, which were announced Saturday. Congratulations to authors Gwen Westerman and Bruce White. — updated Sunday, April 14 at 8:07 a.m.

One hundred and fifty years after the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, the story of the Dakota Indian people is still connected to a troubled history of broken treaties and brutal repression that followed the war. But there is another deeper and older history: That of the Dakota people and their connection to the land of “Mni Sota Makoce,” the place where the water reflects the clouds in the sky. Minnesota is a Dakota place.

Graves Concedes Narrow Race To Bachmann

The Chair of Minnesota’s Democratic party says Representative Michele Bachmann who is holding a slim lead over Democrat Jim Graves will lose. Ken Martin says the remaining precincts to be counted are expected to favor Graves.