The Daily Digest

The Minnesota House passed a bill that cuts $1 billion in state spending. The bill passed 68-63. Four Republicans joined every Democrat in attendance and voted against the bill: King Banaian of St. Cloud, Deb Kiel of Crookston, John Kriesel of Cottage Grove and Rich Murray of Albert Lea.

Banaian and Murray were involved in close elections that required recounts. Kriesel said in an e-mail the level of cuts were “vague” and didn’t include cuts he wanted.

Banaian, Murray and Kiel didn’t respond to an e-mail asking why they bucked party leadership and voted no.

Update: Murray, who switched his yes vote to a no vote at the last minute, called me back and said he voted against the bill because he didn’t think it was fair to Albert Lea and surrounding communities. He noted that Albert Lea’s Mayor, the city council and the Albert Lea Chamber all spoke out against the bill. He said he needs to have a conversation with Albert Lea officials about the future of LGA in tough budget times.

The St. Cloud Times reports that Banaian didn’t like the cuts to St. Cloud State.

The bill also does something unique – it hands over the power of the purse strings to Gov. Dayton. $200 million in cuts are unspecified.

Gov. Dayton opposes the bill but didn’t say he would veto it.

Dayton also said on Thursday that he will not support changes to the gun law.

Two Senate committees will hold a hearing on the Iron Range today to discuss permitting.

Dayton visited Jackson, MN to attend an AGCO announcement that the company will expand their operations there.

Dayton says an export push will bring members of President Obama’s Administration to Minnesota next month.

Minnesota Public Safety officials say there is a potential for serious flooding in Minnesota.

Democrats in the Minnesota Senate filed an ethics complaint against GOP Sen. Scott Newman.

A teacher’s licensure plan moves through a committee in the Minnesota House.

A committee in the Minnesota Senate approved a bill that would allow new nuclear plants to be built in Minnesota.

The Pi Press profiles Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman.

The Minnesota Labor Review (a union newspaper) profiles Labor and Industry Commissioner Ken Peterson.

Minnesota lawmakers propose legalizing raw milk sales.

Congress

Crowds and police are clashing in Egypt.

Jay Carney has been picked to be President Obama’s Press Secretary. U of M grad Bill Burton was in the running for the job.

Republicans in the House are considering whether to privatize Medicare.

The Illinois Supreme Court allows Rahm Emanuel to be on the ballot for Chicago’s Mayor.

A soybean deal between the U.S. and China benefits Minnesota’s farmers.

The U.S. is suing Boston Scientific alleging false claims.

DFL Sen. Al Franken is mentioned in this AdWeek story warning of gridlock on net neutrality.

President Obama’s school reform plan relies on big business. GOP Rep. John Kline is mentioned.

The Medical Device Manufacturers Association applauds GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen for trying to repeal a medical device tax.

Pawlenty for Prez Watch

The PoliGraph says Gov. Pawlenty’s spending claims with the state budget lack context.

Some of Mitt Romney’s biggest backers are staying on the sidelines this year. Pawlenty is mentioned.

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence has decided against running for President.

Bachmann for Prez Watch

GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann was seen calling President Obama “shameless” on the House floor during President Obama’s speech.

Politico says Bachmann’s GOP critics are sick of her grandstanding but even more fearful of her Tea Party following.

Here’s an explanation as to why Bachmann’s stare looked astray during her SOTU response.