May 13, 2019
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Shakopee Regulates Purchase Of Gift Cards To Fight Fraud
From the Star Tribune, Erin Adler, May 13, 2019

A new ordinance in Shakopee will require consumers to show a picture ID to buy Visa, Mastercard or American Express gift cards with a credit card at stores, a move the police chief believes will reduce fraud.

The City Council passed the ordinance last week. It also prohibits buying the three types of gift cards in a self-service checkout lane.

“We know this ordinance will not stop all frauds, but we do believe it will significantly limit some of the opportunity for fraud to occur in our city,” said Police Chief Jeff Tate. “I really, honestly, don’t think we’re asking too much of retailers here.”

Tate said he believed the ordinance is the first of its kind in the state and possibly the nation.

The Minnesota Retailers Association, however, opposed the measure and spoke out about its effect at last Monday’s meeting.

“This ordinance sort of creates the impression ... that the retailer is doing something wrong and bad,” said Bruce Nustad, the association’s president. “If it’s worth doing, let’s do it at a macro level.”

He suggested that the council allow retailers to get together and brainstorm solutions before creating a mandate. Many stores are already taking steps to address fraudulent gift card purchases, he said.

The Council asked Tate to return in six months with an update on how effective the new ordinance is.
Shakopee Passes Ban On Buying Certain Gift Cards With Credit Cards
From WCCO TV, Jennifer Mayerle, May 7, 2019

You will soon have to show an ID to buy certain gift cards with a credit card in Shakopee.

The city council is the first in the state to pass an ordinance to cut down on fraud in this way.

Police Chief Jeff Tate proposed the ordinance at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. He said fraud connected to buying gift cards that act like cash has become a widespread problem in the city, and it’s draining resources and he thinks causing more fraud.

This affects Visa, MasterCard and American Express gift cards. People can buy them anywhere from gas stations to big box stores. Tate says criminals especially go after these gift cards, and they’re bought with cloned credit cards.

The Minnesota Retailers Association opposed the ordinance, saying they would rather try other options before passing this ordinance, they would rather have a more uniform ordinance if there’s going to be one, like at the state level. But the city council voted unanimously 4 to 0 to pass the ordinance as written.
Trump Says 'No Rush' To Reach A Trade Deal As 25% Tariffs Take Effect
From the Retail Dive, Shefali Kapadia, May 10, 2019

Trade talks between the U.S. and China ended Friday without a deal, according to multiple news reports. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told CNBC the discussions were "constructive" but offered no further detail. The administration has not announced if or when the two nations will meet for another round of talks.

Tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China rose from 10% to 25% Friday at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. China has threatened "necessary countermeasures," but as of Friday morning it's unclear what shape the retaliation will take.

Goods in transit exported from China before May 10 are not subject to the new tariffs, according to a document in the Federal Register. The 25% duties are "effective with respect to goods (i) entered for consumption, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on May 10, 2019, and (ii) exported to the United States on or after May 10, 2019," the document states.

The tariffs took effect as trade negotiations between the U.S. and China unfolded. In a series of tweets Friday morning, Donald Trump said the talks continue "in a very congenial manner" but said "there is absolutely no rush" to reach an agreement. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin met Thursday for trade talks and are expected to resume talks Friday, Reuters reported.
Retail Imports Rising Ahead Of Expected Higher Tariffs
From the National Retail Federation, May 9, 2019  

With retail sales rising and President Trump saying he plans to both increase and broaden tariffs on goods from China, imports at the nation’s major retail container ports are expected to see unusually high levels the remainder of this spring and through the summer, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Much of this is driven by consumer demand but retailers are likely to resume stocking up merchandise before new tariffs can take effect,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Tariff increases and new tariffs will mean higher costs for U.S. businesses, higher prices for American consumers and lost jobs for many American workers. We encourage the administration to stay focused on a trade agreement, and we hope the negotiations will get back on track. It would be unfortunate to undermine the progress that has been made with more tit-for-tat tariffs that only punish Americans.”

The rush to bring merchandise into the country that was seen through much of last year slowed down after Trump postponed a tariff hike from January to March and then put it on hold indefinitely as trade talks with China showed signs of progress. But Trump said this week that 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods will rise to 25 percent on Friday, and that he plans to impose new 25 percent tariffs on most remaining Chinese goods at an unspecified date.
In A Divided Legislature, The Push To Make Issues ‘Bipartisan’ Has Become Increasingly Popular
From MinnPost, Peter Callaghan, May 13, 2019

A feature that’s unique to Minnesota among all states this year — a bicameral legislature with one chamber controlled by one party and the other chamber controlled by the other — has resulted in a very common strategy during the 2019 session: In order to break through that division, activists have been trying very hard to frame issues as bipartisan — whether they are or not.

Want to push increased transportation taxes to pay for road projects and transit? Bring in some chambers of commerce and corporate leaders to make an appeal to Republicans’ desire to boost the economy.

Wage theft? Have skilled trade unionists who have a reputation for spreading campaign endorsements and donations to both parties deliver the message to the GOP.

Affordable housing? Present it not just as a social justice issue but as a problem for manufacturers in cities and towns facing labor shortages. “Right now in rural Minnesota there are three things that are holding us back. It’s job workforce, it’s daycares and housing,” Sen. Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, said early in the session. “We’ve got the jobs. We’ve got lots of jobs. We’ve got Marvin, we’ve got DigiKey, we’ve got Arctic Cat. We’ve got all these great companies that are hiring. But how do we get people up if we can’t find them housing?
With Time Running Short At The Capitol, What's Still At Play?
From MPR News, Briana Bierschbach, May 13, 2019

With just one week left in the 2019 legislative session, most of the major issues lawmakers have been debating for the past few months are still in the mix.

That's in part by design: leaving most issues in play until the end means they can all be used as a bargaining chip in final budget negotiations.

But that also means a lot of deal-making on everything from gun control and new abortion restrictions to tax increases will happen by May 20, the constitutional deadline for lawmakers to adjourn the regular session.

Here's a look at what issues have been resolved, what are still in play and one issue that doesn't look likely to be revived before the end:

What's (mostly) resolved
  • Hands-free cell phone driving requirement
  • MNLARs future
  • Elimination of marital rape exception

What's still in play
  • Presidential primary
  • Tax conformity
  • Elder care
  • Felon voting
  • Opioid crisis
  • Election security funding
  • Paid family leave
  • Gas tax increase
  • Gun control
  • 20-week abortion ban

What's (likely) dead for the year
  • Recreational marijuana