Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

Wage and hour roundup

August 15 roundup

University of Minnesota’s pronoun prescription

Not using someone’s preferred pronoun — “whether it’s he, she, ‘ze’ or something else” — could become a disciplinary offense, escalating up to firing and expulsion, at the University of Minnesota under a proposed policy [Maura Lerner, Minneapolis Star-Tribune] I’m quoted as saying that although protecting transgender members of its community from purposeful insult or breach of privacy is a legitimate purpose, the university is likely to fare poorly in court if it presumes to punish community members for not using new-coined gender pronouns on demand [Sarah George, The College Fix]:

“As a public institution with an educational mission to uphold, Minnesota can appropriately make some demands of its members, such as respecting norms of collegiality, refraining from insult, observing consistent standards in filling out paperwork, and so forth,” Olson told The Fix via email.

“But this does not constitute a blank check to police and punish language use generally, especially not in politically charged areas of speech, and most especially when the policy departs from viewpoint neutrality to side with some controversial views over others.”…

“Before presuming to force university members to mouth or endorse politically controversial language as a condition of keeping their jobs or remaining enrolled, the university must show that such coerced expression is essential to its functioning as an educational institution. It has not, and I suspect cannot, made such a showing,” he said.

Earlier on pronoun prescription: Canada, New York City, Oregon, more.

School discipline roundup

In Minnesota, “Convicted, But Still Policing”

“Over the past two decades, hundreds of Minnesota law enforcement officers have been convicted of criminal offenses. Most were never disciplined by the state…. Records also show that scores of the convictions stemmed from off-duty misconduct — including brawls, stalking and domestic altercations — that raise questions about an officer’s temperament for a job that authorizes the use of force.” [Jennifer Bjorhus and MaryJo Webster, Minneapolis Star-Tribune]

How regulation drives up housing costs in Minnesota

“Outside coastal states like New York and California, the Twin Cities was No. 1 in housing costs among the nation’s 20 largest metro areas, according to 2014 U.S. Census data. And they have remained at or near the top of other cost-comparison surveys since then. Statewide, Twin Citians pay an average of 26 percent more than neighboring states. That price gap explodes when compared with southern states like Texas.” And regulation, broadly defined — from hyper-detailed building codes with energy efficiency mandates, to methods of land use planning and fee exaction, to the complexity of permit processes — is central to why [Bob Shaw and Tad Vezner, St. Paul Pioneer Press] As Anthony Sanders points out, some of the regulation advocates quoted in the piece seem almost proud that Minnesota laws make things more expensive compared with neighboring states. “Only thing I would have added is Milton Friedman’s adage that licensing tries making everything a Cadillac, when most can only afford a Buick.”

Police roundup

  • Investigation of problems with no-knock “dynamic entry” police raids [Kevin Sack, New York Times; cf. Radley Balko’s work] But her living room furniture was just sitting there! Why shouldn’t we take it? [C.J. Ciaramella on Mississippi case]
  • Minnesota judge approves (which doesn’t mean Google will go along with) police demand for all search records on a certain name from any and all users in town of Edina [Mike Mullen, City Pages]
  • “The L.A. County sheriff wants to release names of 300 deputies with histories of misconduct. He can’t.” [Jessica Pishko, Slate; Tim Cushing, TechDirt (list is of cops considered highly impeachable in court testimony)]
  • Just catching up with this still-relevant Joshua Muravchik critique of Black Lives Matter [Commentary]
  • Feds indict seven members of elite Baltimore police gun trace task force on racketeering charges; underlying predicates include robbery, swearing out false search warrants, false overtime claims (“one hour can be eight hours.”) [U.S. Department of Justice, Baltimore Sun, Washington Post]
  • “New Orleans Police Chief Says He Needs to Hire and Fire Commanders at Will to Protect Reforms” [Ed Krayewski]