The Daily Digest (Jobs gain, snowbird pain, tax letters inflame)

Non-budget bills face a key committee deadline during a busy day at the Capitol.

State

House committee backs gun show private sale checks (MPR News)

“The Minnesota House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee voted 10-8 for a gun bill that requires background checks for buyers of firearms from unlicensed, private dealers at gun shows. It heads now for a vote in the full House.”

Critics say Dayton’s ‘snowbird’ tax would backfire (MPR News)

“Gov. Dayton’s plan would raise $15 million a year by taxing people who spend 60 or more days a year in the state. Currently only those who live here for more than six months a year must pay state income taxes. Critics say it’s a horrible idea.”

Hospital drug thefts to get more scrutiny (Star Tribune)

“The legislation, scheduled for a House committee hearing today, would require hospitals and other health care employers to report employees to the state’s professional licensing boards if they steal medication intended for patients.”

DFL’s plan to cut health, human services spending comes as surprise (MPR News)

“The cuts to health and human services spending proposed by some DFLers come as Minnesota House and Senate Democrats seek $2 billion in new taxes. Some advocates for the poor say they can’t handle any more spending reductions.”

Minn. bill would disclose concert ticket holdbacks (Associated Press)

“Minnesota lawmakers are considering a bill to make sellers of concert tickets publicly reveal how many tickets are held back from sale to the public. The bill is up for review and possible vote today in the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Dems accuse GOP lawmaker of violating law (Associated Press)

“Minnesota’s Democratic Party asked an administrative judge Thursday to rule that a veteran Republican lawmaker broke the law with letters to newspapers that say four Democrats had voted for billions in new taxes.”

Minnesota nurses, hospitals agree on staffing study (Associated Press)

“Minnesota hospitals and nurses have embraced a plan to track and study how patient care units are staffed, a compromise that stops short of unionized nurses’ goal of mandatory staffing levels.”

Minn. gains 14,500 jobs in Feb. (MPR News)

“Minnesota’s economy added 14,500 jobs last month, putting the state 1,000 jobs shy of the previous peak in February of 2008, early in the recession. The state’s jobless rate held steady at 5.5 percent in February, below the 7.7 percent U.S. rate.”

Bill seeks to sustain Gophers-North Dakota rivalry (Pioneer Press)

“Rep. Ryan Winkler wants to spend $800,000 to keep the Gophers – University of North Dakota men’s hockey rivalry alive. A bill would pay the U if it schedules at least one North Dakota game that year. Winkler said nothing will happen with it.”

Dayton’s dog dies (MPR News)

“Gov. Dayton announced that his dog, Mesabi, died. Dayton wrote on his Facebook page that Mesabi died after having surgery to remove his spleen and to remove a cancerous tumor.”

Nation

Senate to take up gun control after holiday (Washington Post)

Congress averts fiscal crisis with time to spare (CBS News)

Pentagon delays furlough notices (Politico)

Gun control, gay rights the focus of potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidates (CBS News)

Bachmann says federal health care law will “literally kill people” (MPR News)

National Democrats see Kline as vulnerable

The Republican who may have the largest target on his back is Minnesota’s 2nd District Rep. John Kline, who returned to Congress last November with his narrowest margin of victory in years.

That narrower margin was due to redistricting, which took away some of Kline’s conservative base and replaced it with DFL-friendly territory such as South St. Paul. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has put Kline’s district on its high priority “Red to Blue” list.

DCCC Executive Director Kelly Ward said the committee is talking to last year’s challenger, Mike Obermueller, and to Sona Mehring, who is the CEO of the nonprofit company CaringBridge and a political newcomer, about entering the race. – Brett Neely