Daily Digest: A move to revoke rapists’ parental rights

Welcome to Wednesday and your Daily Digest.

1. Lawmaker wants Minnesota to join most other states in revoking parental rights of rapists. Heidi fought back when a judge told her she must share custody of her child with a man she says raped her. The judge granted him the right to see her son each Tuesday, every other weekend from Friday night through Sunday, on alternating holidays and for three weeks in the summer, according to documents. He could attend school functions and buy the boy gifts. She had to see the man she said raped her every time she dropped her son off for visits, and if she pushed back at all, she could be accused of parental alienation and stripped of custody of her son. She appealed the ruling, but her case was denied review. “[I] struggle to move on with my life and I wonder how...to do so when I have to see this man every other day,” she said, according to court documents from 2006. “Our system needs to be revamped, but I need help now.” Today, Minnesota is still one of two states -- including Alabama -- that doesn’t have a law on the books terminating parental rights in cases where rape and incest result in conception. More than half of states end parental rights when there is “clear and convincing evidence” that a child was conceived by rape. Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, is introducing a bill next legislative session to put the same “clear and convincing” standard in Minnesota law that many other states have. (MPR News)

2. Picking apart Omar's tax issues. Minnesota campaign finance officials said last week that U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar misused campaign funds in violation of state rules. They also revealed that she had filed joint tax returns with her husband years before they were legally married and at a time when she was married to another man. The revelation put the freshman representative under more scrutiny from critics who have taken issue with her marital past. One tax expert says if the issue has been corrected she’s unlikely to face any criminal consequences. Here are seven questions and answers about the tax issue. (Associated Press)

3. Muddied waters for legislative commission. It was either an innocent snafu, partisan budget negotiations gone awry or a mix of the two. But either way, Minnesota’s Legislative Water Commission (LWC) is stuck in government purgatory. The Legislature this year approved money for the 12-member panel of lawmakers dedicated to hammering out complex and bipartisan water policy. Yet it did not extend the commission’s authority to exist past a legal deadline. The mix-up has left the LWC in a state of limbo — mostly dead, not all dead — that its leaders are blaming in part on hurried, closed-door negotiations toward the end of Minnesota’s legislative session last month. It’s the type of headache that some warned of as politicians raced to close a fragile $48.3 billion budget deal in roughly a day after rounds of backroom talks. (MinnPost)

4. Even after decades out of office, little down time for Mondale. Walter Mondale swirls in his chair to review the long list of scheduling requests rolling into his downtown Minneapolis office. One group hopes to honor him for his work preserving the scenic St. Croix River. Another wants him to say a few words at a gala. Still another request comes from a middle-school student in Chaska, hoping to ask him about the Superfund program. Flights to New York and Washington, D.C., need booking. Journalists coast to coast call or e-mail seeking interviews. Birthday brunches, business lunches, casual coffees and formal dinners are on the table, too. Even at 91, the demands on a former U.S. vice president’s time don’t stop. Mondale grants as many requests as he reasonably can — even from students. Even from middle schoolers. “Especially middle schoolers,” he says, his face brightening into his signature beaming smile. “They teach us a lot.” Three-and-a-half decades removed from a run as the Democratic nominee for the U.S. presidency, Minnesota’s highest-profile statesman is still giving back, his political power gracefully given way to influence and public service. (Star Tribune)

5. Lewis considering a run to return to Congress. Republican Jason Lewis said Tuesday that if he seeks federal office again next year he won’t distance himself from President Donald Trump or his policies. Lewis is a former congressman who lost a reelection bid in 2018. He is openly considering a run for that same 2nd Congressional District seat now held by DFLer Angie Craig or for the U.S. Senate seat occupied by DFLer Tina Smith. Lewis, a former radio show host, campaigned as an ally of Trump even as other swing district Republicans sought some space from the president and his agenda last year. “You’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound. I don’t think it pays to run away from a Trump presidency,” Lewis said in an interview. (MPR News)



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