The Daily Digest (Forecast fears, wage vote nears; racino reappears?)

The new state budget forecast comes out this morning Those numbers, crucial to the next steps in passing a state budget, will likely dominate the conversation at the Capitol today.

State

Hundreds stuck in mental health system, says legislative auditor’s report (MPR News)

The failure to discharge patients or provide community housing options may violate patients’ legal rights and likely puts the state at risk of lawsuits, audit finds.

Gun rights can be taken away from felons, state Supreme Court rules (Star Tribune)

“The 2nd Amendment grants “law-abiding, responsible” citizens the right to possess a gun in the home for self-defense, but the right can be restricted for felons, justices said in a ruling Wednesday.”

As electronic pull-tabs struggle, racino revenue plan resurfaces (MPR News)

With electronic pull tabs slow to catch on, GOP Rep.Tom Hackbarth said he plans to introduce a bill today allowing slot machines at horse tracks in order to bolster state revenue.

GOP group takes Minn. budget fight to radio (Associated Press)

“Five Democratic legislators are the targets of a new radio ad campaign by a Republican outside group seeking to pressure them on tax elements of Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget.”

Dayton tax plan draws full house at hearing (MPR News)

Hundreds of citizens turned out, many spoke about specific details in Dayton’s plan that affected them, their families and their businesses. Those for and against the governor’s package appeared equally represented.

House panel to vote today on minimum wage hike (Associated Press)

“The House Labor, Workforce and Regulated Industries Committee is expected to vote on a bill to increase the minimum wage in three steps until it reaches $10.55 in August 2015. After that, wages would automatically rise according to inflation.”

Groups rally against Minnesota foreclosures (Star Tribune)

“Legislation, dubbed the “Homeowners’ Bill of Rights,” would require banks to provide consumers with a single point of contact when faced with a looming foreclosure and establish mediation procedures to help avoid foreclosures.”

Public Utilities Commission weighs fate of proposed wind farm (Associated Press)

“The commission holds a hearing today on a wind farm proposed for southeastern Minnesota that’s drawn bitter opposition because of the danger it could pose to eagles, other birds and bats.”

Rep. Gruenhagen: Homosexuality a ‘sexual addiction’ (Star Tribune)

“One of the Legislature’s most vocal same-sex marriage opponents says homosexuality is a choice and form of sexual addiction. Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen spoke after advocates unveiled their proposal to legalize same-sex marriage.”

Nation

Voting rights law draws Supreme Court skepticism (New York Times)

Democratic governors fret over stalled gun push (Politico)

Obama: Budget cuts would cause “tumble downward” (CBS News)

Spin on automatic budget cuts races ahead of reality (Washington Post)

White House counts on G.O.P. to bend as cuts’ effects are felt (New York Times)

NRA proposal nixed in Kline’s school safety hearing

The hearing in the House Education Committee, chaired by 2nd District Republican Rep. John Kline, were marked by a subdued, wonkish tone.

No victims of gun violence or their relatives testified. Instead, a panel of six experts delivered measured testimony about the roles of police assigned to schools, counseling services and mental health programs.

They rejected proposals pushed by the National Rifle Association to place armed police and guards in every school in the country.

So far, Kline has introduced no legislation related to the school shootings and made it clear in his opening remarks that the committee would not move anywhere near as rapidly as the traditionally slow-moving Senate. — Brett Neely