Good morning!

In Minnesota

Ramsey County prosecutors have charged four people with running a public benefits fraud scheme that bilked the state and investors out of more than $4 million. (MPR News)

About 135,000 Minnesota adults ages 18 to 64 years old secured health coverage between 2013 and 2014, a jump that cut the uninsured rate for that group to a record low 6.7 percent. (MPR News)

But state officials are still struggling to transfer the enrollment data that insurance companies need to enroll thousands of residents in coverage. (AP via Pioneer Press)

National Politics

The United States and Cuba ended more than a half-century of enmity, announcing that they would reestablish diplomatic relations and begin dismantling the last pillar of the Cold War. (Washington Post)

U.S Rep. Michele Bachmann denounced the move to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba as “inexplicable” and called the lengthy embargo of the Communist-run island effective. (MPR News)

The announcement drew praise from some Minnesota residents and companies who would like to see more opportunities to do business in Cuba. (MPR News)

This will probably be a good year for tax cheats. The IRS will freeze hiring and stop overtime as a result of the budget cuts just passed by Congress. (Politico)

After a veterans suicide prevention bill was blocked in the Senate, 1st District DFL Rep. Tim Walz speaks out. (MPR News)

Republicans in Congress have plenty of nice things to say about Jeb Bush. But influential lawmakers aren’t about to jump on the Bush presidential bandwagon just yet — or bow out of possibly running against him. (Politico)

 

Good morning!

In Minnesota

A look at how Kurt Daudt became one of the youngest and least experienced Speakers in Minnesota House history. (MPR News)

Minnesota patients seeking medical marijuana come July 1 can expect monthly bills of $100 to $500 for their treatment, according to estimates from the state’s manufacturers. (AP via Pioneer Press)

Minneapolis Public Schools’ superintendent Bernadeia Johnson is stepping down from the job she has held for more than four years, creating more turmoil in the district at a time when it faces tough challenges. (MPR News)

Incoming state lawmakers go to school to learn procedure, give speeches and not take any of the rough and tumble personally. (AP via MPR News)

National Politics

Jeb Bush announced that he has decided to “actively explore the possibility” of a run for president in 2016. Bush is the former Republican governor of Florida, son of President George H.W. Bush and brother of President George W. Bush. (Politico)

Meanwhile. in an interview with MSNBC, DFL Sen. Al Franken said he plans to support former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s likely bid for the White House. (MPR News)

Ride-sharing service Uber has responded to inquiries from Franken about its privacy and data-handling practices, but he said the company’s reply is alarmingly light on specifics. (Pioneer Press)

The least-productive Congress in modern history drew to an abrupt close late Tuesday after the U.S. Senate confirmed scores of Obama Administration nominees whose nominations had languished for months. (Washington Post)

President Obama has issued a form of executive action known as the presidential memorandum more often than any other president in history — using it to take unilateral action even as he has signed fewer executive orders. (USA Today)

RIP Alpha House, the real one, not the TV show (which isn’t that good). (New York Times)

 

WASHINGTON — With the 2014 elections behind him, DFL Sen. Al Franken has his eyes on 2016 — and more specifically who he’s backing to run for the White House.

In an interview with MSNBC, Franken said he plans to support former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“I think Hilary would make a great president,” said Franken. “I haven’t announced that I’m supporting her, but does this count? I guess maybe this counts.”

Franken is close allies with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whom many liberals would like to see in the race. Warren has emphasized that she is not running and plans to serve out her term in the Senate.

Franken told MSNBC that Clinton is “great” and has plenty of experience.

Minnesota’s other senator, DFLer Amy Klobuchar, has also encouraged Clinton to run for president.