The Minnesota House could soon vote on a bill to expand justifiable use of deadly force by firearms owners who feel under threat, after a committee advanced the bill Tuesday.

What’s commonly called “Stand Your Ground” legislation cleared the House Public Safety Committee on a 9-6 vote. All Republicans were in favor but one, Rep. Keith Franke of St. Paul Park; the five DFLers present were all opposed. Because the bill missed committee deadlines, it will likely be detoured to a Rules panel before being scheduled for a final vote.

Before the vote, Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, reminded Committee Chair Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, that Gov. Mark Dayton blocked a previous effort in 2012.

“The question is, what is different in this bill compared to when the governor vetoed it last time that causes you to believe there would be any different outcome?” Hilstrom asked.

Cornish replied: “I don’t believe anything.”

Cornish said Dayton often threatens vetoes. The DFL governor’s veto letter from the prior attempt is here.

The bill provides immunity from prosecution to people who meet force with force. It makes it a justifiable use of deadly force to shoot an intruder or counter other imminent threats. The protection applies to encounters in dwellings or vehicles.

“The individual may meet force with superior force when the individual’s objective is defensive; the individual is not required to retreat; and the individual may continue defensive actions against an assailant until the danger has ended,” reads one section.

The immunity wouldn’t apply if someone uses force against known law enforcement officers doing their jobs.

The Republican-led Senate hasn’t held a hearing on companion legislation.

Good morning and welcome to the last Tuesday of March. Here’s the Digest.

1.  DFL U.S. Rep. Tim Walz said Monday he’s running for governor in 2018. Walz is from Mankato and has represented southern Minnesota in Congress for a decade. He barely held on to his seat in 2016, when Donald Trump won the 1st District by 15 points and Walz defeated Republican Jim Hagedorn by about 2,500 votes, or less than 1 percent.  Walz is the first Democrat from outside the Twin Cities to announce a run for governor. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, State Auditor Rebecca Otto and state Representative Erin Murphy of St. Paul are already in the race. (Rochester Post Bulletin)

2. Minnesota has struggled for years to address teacher shortages but hasn’t found a consistent solution. Demands for science, math and special needs teachers have leaped, but the supply has yet to catch up. Despite the state’s increasing diversity, the teaching pool remains overwhelmingly white. Attempts to ease shortages by tinkering with the state teacher licensing system have fallen short. The Minnesota legislative auditor’s office in March criticized the system as “confusing” and “broken.” An MPR News analysis of state data shows teacher turnover is higher in smaller districts. While just under half the state’s teachers work in districts of fewer than 300 teachers, since 2010 those districts have accounted for more than 60 percent of the teachers who left for other districts. (MPR News)

3. Local bus service provided by Metro Transit could be drastically cut back if a Republican transportation proposal moves forward at the Legislature, the Metropolitan Council said Monday. The House transportation bill would result in a $122 million reduction in state funding for local transit service over the next two fiscal years, according to Met Council Chair Adam Duininck. Republicans say their transportation proposal simply reflects budget realities facing lawmakers at the State Capitol, including a projected decline in motor-vehicle sales tax revenue that helps fund transit. GOP leaders also noted there are a number of uncertainties regarding transportation funding on the federal and local levels. (Star Tribune)

4. The largest settlement involving police misconduct in St. Paul’s history  has been reached between the city and a man who was bitten and kicked by police forces last summer, according to an attorney involved in the case. The federal lawsuit filed by Frank Baker includes a photo of him in the hospital after an officer kicked him on June 24, 2016, leaving him with seven fractured ribs and both his lungs collapsed. He required the placement of chest tubes, the lawsuit said. Attorneys for Frank Arnal Baker said Monday that they have a verbal agreement with the city for $2 million for the case. The agreement, they noted, has yet to be signed by all parties. (Pioneer Press)

5. The head of the House Intelligence Committee secretly went to the White House grounds to meet with a source, before he surprised his colleagues by briefing the president — and the press — on information they hadn’t seen. The revelation, first reported by CNN and later confirmed by a spokesman for the chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, is the latest twist in the strange saga of Nunes’ unorthodox actions last week. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in this tweet that Nunes should recuse himself “from involvement in investigation/oversight of Trump campaign & transition.” (NPR)

Hennepin County commissioner Peter McLaughlin, left, and Metropolitan Council chairman Adam Duininck, right, share their concerns about the House transportation bill. Tim Pugmire | MPR News

Mass transit supporters are warning that the Republican budget proposal in the Minnesota House would result in big cuts to metro area bus service.

Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck said the House transportation bill reduces transit funding by $122 million over the next two-year budget cycle, which would impact regular route buses and Metro Mobility services.

Transit funding would remain flat in the Senate transportation bill.

A reduction that size would force the Met Council to reduce service by as much as 40 percent, even with a fare increase, Duininck said during a state Capitol news conference Monday,

“This is a significant reduction to our bus service at a time when we can least afford it,” he said.

Business leaders are also criticizing the proposed cuts.

“The proposed bill puts our economic competitiveness at risk,” said Jonathan Weinhagen, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce.

He said businesses rely on the transit system to move their employees and customers.

Republicans in the House and Senate are also proposing to eliminate state subsidies for light rail transit.

Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin said many Republican lawmakers speak highly of bus service, but only when they’re criticizing light rail.

“They beat up on the LRT and say ‘the buses are great,’ and then when it’s time to fund the buses, they’re not there,” McLaughlin said.

Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, the chair of the House transportation committee, said the proposed reduction reflects less-than-expected revenue from the motor vehicle sales tax, which helps fund transit.

Torkelson said questions about federal transportation funding and the future of the County Transit Investment Board are also factors.

“I said from the beginning it’s not my intention to ignore transit, but exactly how we address it is going to depend on some of those variables,” Torkelson said. “We’ll just have to work through these difficult issues as we work through the session.”