1. White House Sets Rules for Military Transgender Ban
The White House is expected to send guidance to the Pentagon in coming days on how to implement a new administration ban on transgender people in the military, issuing a policy that will allow Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to consider a service member’s ability to deploy in deciding whether to kick them out of the military.
The White House memo also directs the Pentagon to deny admittance to transgender individuals and to stop spending on medical treatment regimens for those currently serving, according to U.S. officials familiar with the document.
The 2½-page memo gives Mr. Mattis six months to prepare to fully implement the new ban, according to these officials.
Mr. Mattis under the new policy is expected to consider “deployability”—the ability to serve in a war zone, participate in exercises or live for months on a ship—as the primary legal means to decide whether to separate service members from the military.
2. Minnesota Supreme Court will livestream hearings for first time
Next week's high-profile Minnesota Supreme Court hearing on Gov. Mark Dayton vs. the Legislature is likely to be viewed by more people than any case in the state's history, as the high court for the first time ever broadcasts its arguments live on the internet.
Starting with the Aug. 28 hearing involving the governor and state lawmakers, all oral arguments before the state's highest court will be streamed online — allowing real-time access for more than just those lucky enough to snag a seat in the historic Supreme Court chambers on the second floor of the State Capitol.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has previously allowed news organizations to set up cameras in the courtroom and posted video online after hearings are concluded, unlike more restrictive lower courts in the state. But on Wednesday, court officials announced they're opening up the livestreaming feature for the Dayton-Legislature case next week, and will continue providing live video for all of the matters considered by the court when it continues with its regular schedule in September.
In a statement, Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea said the court is "committed to maintaining the public's trust in our Court, and ensuring the openness and accessibility of our public proceedings."
3. Cargill, Bill Gates invest in startup making meat without slaughter
Star Tribune: Cargill Inc., the Minnetonka-based global agricultural giant, has joined Bill Gates and other businesses to invest in a nascent technology to make meat from self-producing animal cells amid rising consumer demand for protein that's less reliant on feed, land and water.
Memphis Meats, which produces beef, chicken and duck directly from animal cells without raising and slaughtering livestock or poultry, raised $17 million from investors including Cargill, Gates and billionaire Richard Branson, according to a statement Tuesday on the San Francisco-based startup's website. The fundraising round was led by venture-capital firm DFJ, which has previously backed several social-minded retail startups.
This is the latest move by an agricultural giant to respond to consumers, especially millennials, who are rapidly leaving their mark on the U.S. food world, whether it's through surging demand for organic products, increasing focus on food that's considered sustainable, or greater attention on animal treatment. Big poultry and livestock processors have started to take up alternatives to traditional meat.
4. With start of State Fair, St. Paul police target distracted drivers
Pioneer Press: With thousands of people expected to travel through St. Paul on the way to the State Fair, which begins Thursday in Falcon Heights, police said Wednesday they’re cracking down on distracted driving in the Capital City.
The initiative’s aim is to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians, and increase awareness of the risks of distracted driving, police said. There have been 106 pedestrian crashes in St. Paul this year, resulting in 90 injuries and two deaths; there have been 50 crashes involving bicyclists and motorists, resulting in 34 injuries.
5. One winning Powerball ticket for $758.7 million jackpot sold in Massachusetts
Star Tribune: Around midnight, officials said there was a single Powerball jackpot winner from a ticket sold in Massachusetts. The winning numbers were 6, 7, 16, 23, 26 and the Powerball was 4. It’s the second-largest prize in the game’s 25-year history, topped only by a $1.6 billion prize shared by three ticket holders in January 2016.
A ticket sold in Minnesota matched five numbers to win $1 million.
Despite only a .0000003 percent chance of winning the grand prize — the staggering odds are 1 in 292,201,338 — Minnesota lottery players were up against other odds, too. There hasn’t been a grand prize Powerball winner in state for more than four years.