Good morning, and look, it’s Friday already. I’ll be talking with Gov. Mark Dayton on the radio during the 11 o’clock hour this morning. I hope you can tune in to MPR News. Here’s the Digest.
1. Despite recent success, Minnesota Republicans are at a critical juncture as they gather this weekend to choose their next leader. They enter the 2018 campaign with total state Capitol control in reach for the first time in a half-century. It depends on the GOP protecting a now-sizable House majority and claiming an open governor’s office. The party’s chair is responsible for mapping out the route, scrounging up some money to assist candidates and make sure the foot soldiers are there to get the job done. Jennifer Carnahan, Chris Fields, David Hann and Rick Rice are competing for the assignment as party activists gather in St. Cloud on Saturday to select the next chief. Current Republican Chairman Keith Downey is leaving the post after four years and is said to be contemplating a run for governor. (MPR News)
2. This seems a little earlier than he usually announces, but DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, is running for re-election next year. “Yeah, I’m running. I’ve got 700 grand in the bank,” Peterson said outside the House chamber Wednesday afternoon. The ranking Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, Peterson is one of the most conservative Democrats in the House, and he represents an agriculture-heavy 7th District that would likely flip to the Republicans if he ever called it quits. President Donald Trump carried the district easily last fall. Another DFL-held seat that Trump won by a similar margin could become open if 8th District Rep. Rick Nolan joins the DFL gubernatorial field. Before recess, Nolan had said he’d hoped to make a decision by the end of the month, but he said Wednesday he’s extending his timeline for a decision. (Roll Call)
3. The Minnesota Senate unanimously voted Thursday to overhaul U.S. Bank Stadium’s public oversight panel, agreeing with previous House actions in the need for change at the new $1.1 billion building. The House already has voted twice to restructure the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) and take tighter control of the agency’s finances as well as its use of two publicly-owned luxury suites. But the bills passed by each chamber differ on key points that will need to be resolved before a version can go to Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk. The issues: the size of the MSFA board, who gets to make the appointments, who gets to use the luxury suites, whether the state should keep both, the handling of reserve cash in the stadium operating funds and what sorts of rules should be in place for the other publicly subsidized sports stadiums. (Star Tribune)
4. Immigration agents in Minnesota and surrounding states arrested considerably more people during the Trump administration’s first couple of months than in early 2015 and 2016. But arrests remained in line with those earlier in Obama’s second term. After months of speculation about how much the new government had picked up the pace of immigration arrests and deportations, new data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement offers an early glimpse. From the inauguration through mid-March, agents working out of ICE’s St. Paul office, which also covers the Dakotas, Iowa and Nebraska, arrested more than 620 immigrants — up roughly 80 percent over the same period last year. (Star Tribune)
5. An 11th-hour White House push to give President Trump a major legislative victory in his first 100 days in office broke down late Thursday as House Republican leaders failed to round up enough votes for their latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. While revisions to their original bill won over conservative hard-liners in the Freedom Caucus this week, those same changes threatened to drive away other members, even some who supported the first version. Meanwhile Republican leaders in the House and Senate plan to pass a stopgap measure to give lawmakers another week to work out a spending package to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. (New York Times)
And finally, on day 99, this is pretty funny. (Politico)