Welcome to the Daily Digest. The Legislature is back after a week off, and they have a few more weeks to wrap up business for the year.


Online gambling isn’t getting much support at the Capitol. (MPR News)

Both sides of the aisle see political opportunity in the new bullying law. (MPR News)

Gov. Mark Dayton says ‘no’ to a frac sand moratorium. (MPR News)

The Minnesota Senate seeks tougher cell phone tracking standards. (MPR News)

Proponents of medical marijuana are still pushing for a bill to legalize it. (MPR News)

Republican Rep. Jim Abeler is retiring to focus on his run for U.S. Senate. (MPR News)

The state House passed an energy bill. (Pioneer Press)


Sen. Al Franken and the DSCC’s joint fundraising committee has netted $36,500 since the start of the year. (MPR News)

The Supreme Court upheld a ban on affirmative action. (Politico)

Sen. Rand Paul was in Chicago talking about school choice. (New York Times)

The Minnesota Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill requiring police to obtain a warrant in order to track a person’s location by their cell phone or other electronic devices.

The vote today was 56 -1. Under the bill, law enforcement must show probable cause of a crime. There’s also a requirement for notifying people when their tracking information is collected.

Sen. Branden Peterson, R-Andover, said his bill raises the threshold for law enforcement at a time of rapidly advancing technology.

“Our understanding of sort of the common notions of what traditional Fourth Amendment requirements are, and general privacy standards, is sort of up in the air,” Petersen said. “In light of that, it’s necessary that we address those concerns.”

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, was the lone vote against the bill. Ingebrigtsen, a former sheriff, said he thinks it sends the wrong message.

“You know we’re not running out of bad guys, folks. We just aren’t,” Ingebrigtsen said. “This idea that everybody is walking around and gathering data on those that are doing things right and somehow keeping this data for a later time, that whole attitude is troubling. It’s just very troubling.”

Medical marijuana supporters share the names of doctors and clergy members who support their cause. Tim Pugmire/MPR News

Medical marijuana advocates are urging state lawmakers to take action on their bill before the end of the 2014 session.

During a state Capitol news conference today, they highlighted a growing list of physicians and clergy members who support the legalization of medical marijuana. The bill would allow physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients with debilitating conditions. But the number of doctors on the list is less than 100, and none appeared at the event.

Heather Azzi, political director for the advocacy group Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, said she believes doctors in Minnesota still don’t know enough about marijuana.

“Because, it is illegal here for them to handle,” Azzi said. “They don’t have any firsthand experience with it. When we look to doctors on other states, we see high numbers of support from the medical community. I expect we’ll see that here as well once they have an opportunity to use this medication firsthand.”

The Minnesota Medical Association, which has 10,000 members, came out against medical marijuana legislation last month.

A Senate committee that began discussing the bill earlier this month is expected to take action soon. But the chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Housing Committee has not yet scheduled a hearing.

“We should try to accomplish that maybe even this week, but I’m not certain if I’ll be able to do that,” said Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato.

Medical marijuana supporters insist they have the votes needed to pass the bill in both the House and Senate. But the Gov. Mark Dayton still opposes the measure, and he shared his concerns again today.

“Why would we want to take another drug, whose effects may be beneficial to some people but whose potential for harm is even greater for far many more people, without giving it  all kinds of consideration?,” Dayton said.

Dayton also pointed out that the medical marijuana effort in Minnesota is being backed by a national organization that wants full legalization of marijuana.

In response, Heather Azzi said her group does receive financial support from the Marijuana Policy Project, a national organization that wants marijuana regulated and taxed like alcohol. But Azzi said there is no hidden agenda.

“There are no tricks in this medical marijuana bill,” Azzi said. “It is strictly a medical proposal.”


The Senate Health, Human Services and Housing Committee will resume its discussion of the medical marijuana bill Friday at 8:00 a.m.