The Daily Digest (Day care rules, tax dodging and little cigars)

A full day of politics and policy starts at 9 a.m. when Speaker of the House Paul Thissen and House Minority Leader Rep. Kurt Daudt talk through the governor’s tax and budget plans on MPR News.

State

Day-care deaths prompt new safety measures (Star Tribune)

“State regulators will propose new safety measures, including stiffer penalties and online access to more licensing records, to try and reverse the sharp rise in child deaths across Minnesota’s in-home day-care system.”

Panel backs state employee contracts over GOP objections (MPR News)

A two percent across-the-board pay hike for state employees is one step closer to reality. DFLers, in control of the Legislature, are expected to ratify the contracts this year over GOP complaints the pay hikes are too broad.

Dayton sales tax plan a boon for some cities (Associated Press)

“About two dozen Minnesota cities and counties whose sales taxes piggyback on the state’s would see a gusher of new money if Gov. Dayton’s proposed sales tax expansion prevails.”

Senators seek to close ‘little cigar’ loophole (Star Tribune)

Lawmakers unveil bills “to close what they say is a loophole in state laws that allows these tobacco products to be sold at lower prices, and to be flavored, making them appeal to younger smokers.”

Expect three days of gun law hearings next week ( MPR News)

House Public Safety Finance Committee will focus on gun issues, including restrictions on high capacity ammunition magazines, banning assault-style weapons and whether teachers should carry guns in school.

Rukavina joining U.S. Rep. Nolan’s staff (Duluth News-Tribune)

Tom Rukavina, the longtime Iron Range state lawmaker, has agreed to go to work for newly elected U.S. Rep Rick Nolan as a paid “district liaison” who will focus on mining, timber, tourism and other Iron Range issues.

Nation

Congress faces deep resistance to immigration plan (New York Times)

Back on the road, Obama to push immigration reform (CBS News)

Debt ceiling fix could last until August (Politico)

Hillary Clinton brushes off talk of 2016 presidential run (CBS News)

Tax dodgers?

Gov. Dayton’s budget plan will be heard in the House and Senate tax committees today. The plan has received tons of scrutiny from Republicans who don’t like the proposed tax hikes.

Democrats, however, have been walking a fine line when it comes to the plan. They’re reluctant to fully embrace it but also don’t want to trash a plan put forward by a member of their own party.

We’ll see if any hop off of the fence they’re sitting on during today’s hearings. - Tom Scheck

Where’s the bonding bill?

Gov. Dayton’s budget includes a measure that would allow for a $500 million bonding bill this year. Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, says she intends to introduce a “more robust” bill by Feb. 10.

Dayton says he’ll propose a bonding bill that will address the State Capitol renovation and fund other public works projects but won’t release his recommendations until after the February forecast. - Tom Scheck

Same-sex marriage supporters hire lobbying team

Minnesotans United for All Families has hired several lobbyists to advocate their cause at the State Capitol. Lobbyists for Messerli and Kramer have filed to lobby to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

Cristine Almeida, Ann Kaner-Roth, Larry Redmond and Jill Sletten have also filed paperwork to lobby for the group. — Tom Scheck