Good morning and happy Friday. Here’s the Digest.

1. The Minnesota House passed legislation Thursday evening to move the state toward compliance with the federal Real ID law. The House and Senate passed Real ID implementation bills last year, but a disagreement over unauthorized immigrants getting drivers’ licenses prevented a final resolution. That issue is still causing concern about the legislation. (MPR News)

2. Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday blasted the Trump administration edict withdrawing protections for transgender students to use school bathrooms based on the gender they identify with.  “This is not a quote states’ right issue, this is a human rights issue. And it should be a constitutionally protected right,” the Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor said. “As a person of faith, I am mystified that others who profess to be people of faith demonize school children who simply want to go to the bathroom.”  (Pioneer Press)

3. Gov. Dayton Thursday tapped former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz to take over as interim chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. Blatz was named to the post a week after the MSFA’s two top leaders — chair Michele Kelm-Helgen and executive director Ted Mondale — stepped down amid criticism of the agency’s use of suites at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mondale and Kelm-Helgen had been in the crosshairs for weeks following media reports that agency friends, family members and allies were enjoying Vikings games, concerts and other perks in the authority’s suites. (MPR News)

4. Democratic Party leaders are torn about whether their attempted comeback should be about taking on President Trump personally or keeping the focus largely on his policies. Some say that Hillary Clinton spent a lot of time criticizing Trump during the campaign and not enough talking about what she wanted to do. Even so, in a debate this week among those seeking to lead the Democratic National Committee, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison said Trump has done things that “legitimately raise the question of impeachment.” Ellison cited ongoing concern about Trump’s business entanglements. (MPR News)

5. Stephen Bannon, the White House chief strategist, used his first speaking appearance since President Trump took office to vow that the president would honor all of the pledges of his campaign. Bannon used the term “deconstruction of the administrative state,” meaning the system of taxes, regulations and trade pacts that the president says have stymied economic growth and infringed upon U.S. sovereignty. Bannon says that the post-World War II political and economic consensus is failing and should be replaced with a system that empowers ordinary people over coastal elites and international institutions. (Washington Post)

Updated 12:42 p.m. | Posted 10:44 a.m.

Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday attacked a federal decision to pull back on rules intended to accommodate the needs of transgender children in schools.

The United States Justice and Education departments said Wednesday that public schools no longer need to follow Obama administration orders requiring that transgender students be allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms of their chosen gender.

The Obama rules provoked a legal backlash in parts of the country, including a Virginia, Minn., lawsuit, with some arguing that children could be forced into an intimate setting with someone of the opposite sex.

Trump administration officials on Wednesday said those decisions should rest with state and local governments.

Dayton, however, criticized that move and urged Minnesota schools to adhere to the Obama-era regulations and protect transgender students. He noted that the most recent Minnesota student survey showed transgender students feel less safe in schools than other students.

“These are vulnerable people,” Dayton told reporters. “They deserve our compassion and support, not our attacks and demonization.”

State law, he added, still requires school districts to ensure that transgender students, like all other students, are provided with safe learning environments and are not harassed.

“As a person of Christian faith, I am mystified that others who profess to be people of faith would demonize school children who simply want to go to the bathroom,” the governor said.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said he believes turning decisions about transgender students back to the states is appropriate. Gazelka said local school leaders should be able to work through the issue “as they see fit.”

“Every situation is different, and I think that’s a better way to do it,” Gazelka said.

MPR News reporter Tim Pugmire contributed to this report.

Good morning and welcome to Thursday. Here’s the Digest.

1. Republican Congressman Tom Emmer faced an overflow crowd at a town hall meeting Wednesday night in Sartell. As has happened around the country, many in the audience came to express their disagreement with President Trump and the GOP majorities in Congress. Unlike other meetings, this one stayed mostly respectful, and for an hour Emmer answered every question the audience put to him.  (MPR News)

2. Bills that toughen criminal penalties for protesters who block highways, airports or public transit are moving in the Minnesota House and Senate. Supporters say recent demonstrations in the Twin Cities show that the current misdemeanor penalty is not deterring what is already an illegal act. The bill would increase the penalty to a gross misdemeanor. Opponents argue that the increased penalties are too high and would infringe on the rights of the protesters. (MPR News)

3. Democrats from around the country begin meeting in Atlanta today to pick a new chair of the Democratic National Committee. Six-term Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison and former Obama administration Labor Secretary Tom Perez are seen as the main rivals. But they’re not the only candidates. After an election last year where they lost the White House, failed to win back either house of Congress and suffered numerous statehouse defeats the party is trying to reestablish an identity and find a new strategy. (MPR News)

4. The Minneapolis DFL paid $2,000 for a poll to see if Green Party City Council Member Cam Gordon would be vulnerable in November’s election, a move that has irked progressives at City Hall. The poll, conducted in the Second Ward last week, was commissioned by Minneapolis DFL Chair Dan McConnell without consulting the central committee. The potential candidate who would run against Gordon is McConnell’s wife, Becky Boland, secretary of the Minneapolis DFL. (Star Tribune)

5. President Trump Wednesday rescinded protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms of their gender identity, overruling his own education secretary and placing his administration firmly in the middle of the culture wars that many Republicans have tried to leave behind. In a joint letter, the top civil rights officials from the Justice Department and the Department of Education rejected the Obama administration’s position that nondiscrimination laws require schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice. (New York Times)