The Daily Digest (Bachmann-Graves, next round? Copper mine losing ground?)

Facing a key legislative committee deadline on Friday, House and Senate lawmakers will grind away today on dozens of bills.

A proposal for universal background checks on gun purchases faces a key vote tonight in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

State

Dayton sticks to guns on income tax hike on top earners (MPR News)

“In a vigorous response to critics of his budget proposals, Gov. Mark Dayton told business leaders Wednesday that he would continue to push for an income tax increase on top earners.”

Minnesota Legislature considers replacing graduation tests (Pioneer Press)

“A bill would replace Minnesota’s high-stakes graduation exams with tests designed to see if students are ready for college or the workforce. It would not require a specific score to get a diploma, a sticking point for GOP lawmakers.”

House committee approves bill allowing driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants (MPR News)

“Supporters applauded the House Transportation Policy Committee vote. The bill needed to pass out of a policy committee this week to stay alive this session. Critics say illegal immigrants should not be able to be issued state IDs.”

Poll shows copper mining support slipping in Minnesota (Duluth News-Tribune)

“Opponents of copper mining in Minnesota might be winning over more state residents, according to a new poll that shows more people oppose the new kind of mining here than support it.”

Democrats anticipate Graves-Bachmann rematch in 2014 (Star Tribune)

“Democrats in Washington are readying for a 2014 rematch between U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and DFL businessman Jim Graves, who came within a whisker of beating the Minnesota Republican last November. This time, they’re willing to help.”

Fate of Minnesota House’s gun control bill rests with Senate panel (Pioneer Press)

“The chief sponsor of a bill in the Minnesota House that would expand background checks for all gun purchases said its survival depends on a vote tonight in the Senate.”

Senate Republicans try to block same-sex marriage bill (MPR News)

“The day after legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota cleared two panels. Senate Republicans tried to derail the measure with some parliamentary maneuvering. They failed, but tried to put some pressure on some rural Democrats.”

Dayton to nurses and hospitals: ‘Work it out’ (MPR News)

“Gov. Dayton says he thinks the Minnesota Nurses Association and hospitals across Minnesota need to get to the table and negotiate a deal on a nursing staffing bill.”

Minnesotans divided over likely minimum wage hike (MPR News)

“The DFL-sponsored bill would give Minnesota the highest state-mandated minimum wage in the nation, Opponents, mostly Republicans, said it will be bad for business. And it’s not hard to find business owners who agree.”

Planners say Twin Cities must think big on transit (MPR News)

“By the year 2030, the Metropolitan Council wants at least three more light rail lines and at least five highway bus rapid-transit lines with dedicated lanes.”

Minn. medical pot bill won’t make deadline (MPR News)

“A bill legalizing marijuana for medical uses won’t be introduced in time to meet deadlines at the state Legislature this year.”

Minn. joining national effort to boost graduation rates (MPR News)

“The state is one of the first four taking part in GradNation, an initiative connected to former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Minnesota’s four-year high school graduation rate is about 77 percent. The group hopes to boost that to 90 percent by 2020.”

Nation

U.S. budget deal in doubt; Obama’s trip to Hill reveals split (New York Times)

Federal employee furloughs, compensation at stake in dueling budget plans (Washington Post)

Obama: There is no debt crisis (ABC News)

Veterans testify on rapes and scant hope of justice (New York Times)

GOP’s past and future collide at conservative conference (CBS News)

Minnesota’s House Republicans attend rare meeting with Obama

Minnesota’s three House Republicans were on hand during a rare meeting with President Obama on Wednesday.

Second District Rep. John Kline said the tone inside the room was respectful but there was no breakthrough on the big issues of taxes and spending.

“I didn’t walk out of there saying, ‘wow, look at this, look at all these things we agree on, we’re going to get this stuff done.’ There’s a lot of hard work if we’re going to get legislation passed,” Kline said. — Brett Neely