The Daily Digest (MinnCare’s clout, felon gun rights in doubt, smoking on stage is out?

Minnesota political news should be light for a few days. Monday is the federal holiday remembering Martin Luther King Jr. Lawmakers return Tuesday.

State

House DFLers press for property tax relief (MPR News)

One bill would expand the renter’s credit and existing homeowner property tax refund, which paid out about $272 million to 363,000 Minnesotans in 2011. GOP worries DFLers will raise income taxes to pay for property tax relief.

Should Minn. make it tougher to restore felon gun rights? (MPR News)

A Minnesota Senate bill would keep some convicted felons from owning guns after they’ve served their sentence, eliminating the right of violent felons to petition the court to restore their gun ownership rights.

Lawmakers want to preserve MinnesotaCare (Star Tribune)

Minnesota lawmakers from both parties say they want to preserve MinnesotaCare, the state’s health care program for the working poor, as the state moves ahead with the next stage of federal health reforms.

Curtain to fall on smoking in MN theater productions? (Associated Press)

“A new bill would bar actors from puffing away as part of plays. Smoking in theatrical productions is one of the rare exceptions to a state indoor smoking ban in public places.”

Somalia’s president expected in the state today (Star Tribune)

Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud will travel to Minnesota on Friday as part of his official visit to the United States. Minnesota has the nation’s largest population of Somali immigrants.

EPA sets haze regulations for taconite plants (Duluth News-Tribune)

Federal regulators unveiled final rules to reduce taconite plant pollution that causes haze over northern Minnesota wild areas. The EPA stepped in after concluding the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency didn’t go far enough.

Minnesota GOP faces rocky path to recovery in 2014 (Roll Call)

“It’s hard to find a state party that’s fallen as far, as quickly, as the Minnesota GOP. There’s a closing window of opportunity for the state party to turn its circumstances around before November 2014.”

Nation

Democrats split over how to shape approach to gun bills (New York Times)

Federal scientists can again research gun violence (Washington Post)

NRA president: Door-to-door gun confiscation a ‘legitimate fear’ (CBS News)

Mayors want Hillary Clinton as Obama successor in 2016 (Politico)

Legislature expected to OK state employee contracts

Bills to ratify state employee contracts for members of AFSCME Council 5 and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees have surfaced in the House and Senate.

Gov. Dayton’s administration and the unions agreed to an across the board two percent pay increase. At a hearing this summer, Republicans said they would recommend rejecting the contracts. Democrats, however, took control of the Legislature in November and are expected to approve the contracts. — Tom Scheck