The Boy Scouts deal with yet another challenge; Klobuchar and Franken deal with gun violenceby Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
Welcome to the MPR News Update. In the news today, a Minnesota judge orders the Boy Scouts to release more secret files about sexual abuse, advocates for immigration reform gather at the state Capitol, the walleye population in Lake Mille Lacs reaches its lowest level in decades, and Minnesota's two U.S. senators will take part in the first congressional hearings today on gun control following the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., last month.
GUNS: Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken are both Democrats who sit on the Judiciary Committee. Before the day is out they'll have heard from former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her husband and astronaut Mark Kelly, and Wayne LaPierre, the top lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.
'FIRST OPPORTUNITY': Klobuchar says she hopes the hearings lead to legislation soon: "I think it's going to be our first opportunity to really talk through the administration's proposals, which I think there's a lot of good things in them. And it's going to give us an opportunity to hear what people think about them."
REALITY CHECK: LaPierre famously said after the Connecticut massacre that, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." But in Washington state, one such "good guy" -- a private citizen who drew his gun in defense of others -- paid a heavy price for such an action.
SCOUT ABUSE: A Ramsey County judge has ordered the Boy Scouts of America to release all confidential files on sexual abuse from 1999 to 2008. The decision comes as part of a civil suit filed on behalf of a child who was abused by a scoutmaster. Judge Elena Ostby's order says the Scouts must provide the plaintiff with the files in the next two weeks.
IMMIGRATION DEBATE: Local groups that support changing the nation's immigration laws, including a path to citizenship for those here illegally, will gather at the state Capitol Wednesday. The issue has scaled the priority list in Washington with proposals from a bipartisan group of senators and President Barack Obama. Minnesota groups that have been pushing for immigration reform for years say there's finally a ray of hope.
DYING MOOSE: Researchers at the Minnesota DNR will collar and track 100 moose in northeastern Minnesota to try and solve a mystery. They want to figure out why the moose are dying. The DNR moose study is the largest ever conducted in the state. It gets underway just as federal wildlife biologists are wrapping up the first phase of a moose study at Voyageurs National Park. They're investigating how moose and their habitat might respond to a warming climate. Find that story here, and a photo gallery of images from one flight over the park here.
HEALTH CARE EXCHANGES: The state budget office has launched a website about how a health insurance exchange will work in Minnesota. Officials project at least 1 million Minnesotans will use the exchange to comparison shop for health insurance policies or enroll in Medicaid starting in October. Until now it's been difficult to find complete information about this key part of the federal health care law.
ELDERLY EXPLOITATION: Hennepin County prosecutors Tuesday charged a Maple Grove city council member with perjury and for financially exploiting her ailing father before he died last year. According to the complaint, Leann Sargent used her power of attorney and authority over her father's finances to take more than $150,000 from his bank accounts and credit cards.
COMPETING MISSIONS AT DNR: Setting aside a 20-year-old policy, the Minnesota DNR is opening up some forest tracts to logging, while at the same time adding protections to animal species living in those forest ecosystems. The two moves highlight the built-in conflicts that come with the competing missions of the agency.
FAIR TAX? Gov. Dayton and Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature are sparring over the definition of a fair tax system. Republicans in the House and Senate Tax committees blasted Dayton's budget plan because they say it would force middle-income Minnesotans to pay more in sales taxes. Dayton disputes that claim and says he's creating a fairer playing field for all Minnesotans by lowering property taxes and the sales tax rate.
WALLEYE LIMITS: It's going to be a little harder to keep fish at one of the state's most popular fishing spots this year. Concerns over a Lake Mille Lacs walleye population that's reached its lowest level in decades has prompted regulators to drastically cut the total amount of walleye that can come out of the lake. It's a measure aimed at balancing the needs of the lake's ecosystem and the region's economy.
TWITTER VERSED: Lastly, we bring news from the Twitterverse, a place where Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is more than comfortable; he's downright gabby. Now, the candidates vying to replace him have some catching up to do, as this handy chart makes clear.
Matt Sepic is a newscaster and general assignment reporter for MPR News.