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Minnesota News Briefs: Dayton signs Decker Memorial Highway bill

ST. PAUL - Governor Dayton is scheduled to sign a bill this afternoon that renames part of Highway 23 after slain Cold Spring Police Officer Tom Decker.

Officer Decker was gunned down last November while responding to a call, and his murder remains unsolved. A section of roadway between Cold Spring and Richmond will be renamed the "Tom Decker Memorial Highway." Members of Decker's family are expected at today's signing ceremony.


A revised Destination Medical Center plan has been unveiled by the Minnesota state House Taxes Committee, and it would shift more of the funding away from the state. The original request was for $500 million in state funding, but House Democrat-Farm Laborers want to cut that back to $338 million, and no more than $30 million per year The city of Rochester and Olmsted County would have to pay $128 million to qualify for the money. The revisions would give the city and the county authority to raise taxes to generate the needed funds. In addition, $119 million for public transit related to the project would be provided with a portion funded through local taxes.


State legislators may try to change the state's electronic gambling rules due to the shortfall in proposed e-pulltab revenue for the Minnesota Vikings stadium. House Commerce Committee Chair Joe Atkins says he would consider dropping the requirement that establishments have paper pulltabs in place before they add the electronic version of the game. Atkins says he's been contacted by several operators who would like to get into the e-pulltab business but are not interested in having paper pulltabs.


The jobs bill passed by the Minnesota state House of Representatives invests $46 million to help spur job creation throughout the state. It also includes a $350 million tax cut for Minnesota businesses. Last year, the Republican-led legislature sought a 50 percent cut to jobs and economic development, and DFL Representative Tim Mahoney says he's happy to see the state reverse course and invest in job creation. He notes that last biennium the state spent 114-million and this year they're investing $154-million on jobs and economic development, a 35 percent increase. One of the largest appropriations is $20 million to the Minnesota Investment Fund.


The bombings in Boston mean that Minnesota children may have been exposed to disturbing pictures and videos, frightening news reports, and other things that can emotionally traumatize young kids. Psychologist Korenna Barto says that's why parents need to provide a safe haven and a secure base. She says that means having someone you know to turn to that can always make you feel safe and valued and help provide an emotional and psychological compass Barto says it's especially important for children through age five, and the key is consistency -- keeping daily life as normal as possible.


Fargo has made a significant change in its flood plan based on recent heavy snowfall, the potential for more storms, and fast changing weather patterns that are expected in the next couple of weeks. The city is raising its flood protection to 43 feet -- in anticipation of a 41-foot crest. City engineer April Walker says the National Weather Service has urged them not to wait for a deterministic forecast and they are expecting a significant precipitation event at the end of the week. Raising the flood protection will require reopening "sandbag central" to fill another 500,000 sandbags, more home buyouts and levees.