The Daily Digest (Forecast’s a smash, food label clash; Vikings stadium, where’s the cash?)

Expect a slow Friday at the Capitol. Today’s the day automatic federal budget cuts are supposed to start, here and across the country. Those Washington budget battles are likely to dominate political news.

State

Minnesota budget forecast shows smaller deficit (MPR News)

“State officials announced that the projected budget deficit lawmakers must solve this session has shrunk to $627 million, down from the November estimate of $1.1 billion.”

Budget forecast: economy clearly mending, but only modest job growth (MPR News)

“The new state budget forecast says Minnesota’s job market will grow modestly and employment could finally return to pre-recession levels this year.”

Dayton, charities: Vikings stadium pull-tabs need more time (MPR News)

“Tax collections from electronic pull-tabs that are supposed to pay for the state’s share of a new Vikings stadium are coming in far short of projections. Gov. Dayton says he’s concerned but expects significant improvement by this time next year.”

Minimum wage bill advances (MPR News)

The House Labor, Workforce and Regulated Industries Committee passed the DFL-sponsored bill, which would raise the wage to $10.55 per hour and then add inflation. The GOP says the bill will hurt small business and low wage workers.

Minnesota House bill focuses on gun background checks (Star Tribune)

“Bill leaves out bans on assault-style weapons or limits on ammunition magazine size, in order to create a package that could pass the Legislature this year.”

Minnesota House committee passes anti-bullying bill (Star Tribune)

“A year after a landmark legal settlement focused on bullying in schools, legislators heard testimony on the bill, which defines bullying and outlines what schools need to do about it.”

Victims of child abuse fight to change MN statute of limitations (WCCO)

“Victims of child sexual abuse were at the state capitol Thursday, fighting to change a Minnesota law that would allow survivors more time to take civil action.”

Dayton makes no promises about tax plan changes (Associated Press)

“Gov. Mark Dayton says Minnesota taxpayers will benefit from a smaller-than-expected budget deficit, but don’t expect drastic changes to his tax plan.”

Bills would require labels on genetically engineered food in Minnesota (Star Tribune)

“Minnesota could become the next battleground in the fight over mandatory labels for genetically modified food. Bills introduced would require food manufacturers to label products containing genetically engineered ingredients.”

Nation

Efforts to avert automatic budget cuts are dropped (Washington Post)

6 questions and answers about the automatic budget cuts (ABC News)

National parks under sequester: Cancelled parades, dirty bathrooms (CBS News)

Looming cuts are changing the way Army prepares for future conflicts (Washington Post)

Obama urges court to overturn gay marriage ban (Associated Press)