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Uber/Lyft Task Force Proves Task Farce

Plus U.S. Bank fined $21M, our quotable pols, and a cat for the Guv in today's Flyover.

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Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

No Recommendations on Rideshare Regs

If you ever find yourself in elected office and faced with a tough decision, there’s no better way to duck out of it than to appoint a task force. Task! Force! Two strong words that mean you must be doing something, right? As you may recall, Gov. Tim Walz vetoed a minimum wage bill for Uber and Lyft drivers in May, and then promised that a task force would review the situation and make recommendations for an even better bill that would make everyone happy. Well, the task force adjourned on Tuesday, and as Max Nesterak reports for the Minnesota Reformer, it has decided… nothing. “Now that the administration’s task force failed, we must reintroduce the bill and pass it this session,” tweeted DFL Rep. Omar Fateh, one of the initial bill’s sponsors. 

U.S. Bank Fined $21M for Sucking Really Bad

Banks! Where would we be without them? (Pause to imagine all the peoples of the world holding hands in a grassy field and singing like the Whos down in Whoville.) Emily Baude at KSTP reports that the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has ordered U.S. Bank to cough up almost $21 million because it blocked the unemployed from accessing their benefits during the most dire months of the pandemic. The story quotes CFPB director Rohit Chopra as saying, “At a time when unemployment was close to 15%, many out-of-work Americans throughout the country had little choice but to rely on U.S. Bank for their unemployment benefits. U.S. Bank blocked access to accounts and demanded burdensome paperwork in order for consumers to regain access to their frozen benefits.” What jerks. U.S. Bank has been ordered to pay $5.7 million directly to consumers and $15 million in fines to the CFPB victims relief fund. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has separately fined U.S. Bank another $15 million. Will this stop U.S. Bank from dicking people over in the future? Probably not—they’re a bank!

“Bullshit” and Other Memorable Quotes from MN Pols

If you’d like to look back at the year in Minnesota politics in a fun, less than strenuous way, Peter Callaghan at MinnPost has rounded up some choice quotes from our elected officials and state bureaucrats. Our leaders aren’t always the pithiest, and there are definitely some “you had to be there” quotes gathered here. But there’s also DFL Rep. Erin Koegel saying “I’ve been affectionately calling this bill my Taylor Swift Anti-Hero bill. ‘It’s me. I’m the problem’” regarding her bill to slap fees on package deliveries from Amazon and the like and GOP Rep. Pat Garofalo ominously stating “The spenders are not done,” not to mention Tim Walz’s memorable summation of the feds’ decision to tax our rebate checks: “Bullshit.”  Remember the bonding bill? The debate over the regulation of legalized marijuana? Floor discussion of GOP Sen. Nathan Wesenberg’s beard? It’s all in there.  

You People Like Reading About Pets, Right?

Gov Tim Walz has announced that his family has a new member: a ginger and white cat named Honey. You may recall that the Walz family has been sadly catless since the end of August, when their 7-year-old orange tabby Afton disappeared. "She’s a rescue-pet and already has a few favorite spots: under the tree and right on top of whatever I'm trying to read," Walz wrote. Speaking of cats, are any of you fans of the absurdist nu-Heathcliff? I sure am. (This is me, petless, trying to relate to you pet people. How am I doing?)

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