The Daily Digest (Drone cash, property tax clash; a Kline rematch?)

Health and human services spending gets a second day of heavy activity in Minnesota House and Senate committees as part of a busy legislative day at the Capitol.

Religious leaders and members of their congregations will rally today at the Capitol in on the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

State

Sweeping property tax relief bill approved by House committee (MPR News)

“The House Property Tax Committee bill would increase aid to cities and counties, provide direct aid to homeowners with high property taxes and provide tax cuts to renters. Republicans say it unfairly targets businesses.”

Obermueller announces rematch against Kline (MPR News)

“Former DFL State Rep. Mike Obermueller sent supporters a video announcing his plans for another run against GOP Rep. John Kline. In 2012 Kline beat Obermueller by more than eight percentage points.”

Top state senator presses education levy buyout (Associated Press)

‘The proposal from DFL Sen. LeRoy Stumpf of Plummer would chop property taxes by $150 million by having the state assume some school costs now picked up on the local level.’

Senator: Stop silica mining around water wells in Minnesota (Associated Press)

“Sen. Matt Schmit is asking the state to fund easements that would bar sand mines from being built where they could affect groundwater quality.”

Lawmakers pitch civil union bill (MPR News)

“A bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed a bill to establish civil unions for same-sex couples in Minnesota as an alternative to legalizing same-sex marriage. Critics say civil unions are not an alternative to marriage.”

Coleman to run again for St. Paul mayor (MPR News)

“If he wins a third term, Coleman would become the longest serving St. Paul mayor since George Latimer, who left office in 1990.This will be St. Paul’s first mayoral election using ranked choice voting, but so far, voters have few choices.”

Minnesota House considers extending moratorium on new radiation treatment centers (Pioneer Press)

“Lawmakers today will debate a bill to extend a moratorium on construction radiation treatment centers in 14 counties. Supporters say it protects hospitals from unfair competition. Opponents contend the moratorium hurts patients.”

Barber pole battle returns to Minn. Capitol (Associated Press)

“Minnesota is closer to legally reserving those swirling red, white and blue cylinders for licensed barbershops. A clause in a giant House budget bill would make it illegal to display a barber pole without a barber’s license.”

Minn. wants dollars, not defense as drone test site (KSTP)

“The state is competing against 36 other states to host one of a half dozen test sites for drones. But it’s not law enforcement that took the lead in applying to the FAA. It’s the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.”

Nation

Despite dire warnings, sequester “calamity” free for now (CBS News)

Defense secretary calls for major Pentagon shakeup (Politico)

Obama to Congress: Colorado proves gun control is possible (CBS News)

Religious groups, pro-reform organizations brace for fight over family-based visas (NBC News)

Grover Norquist to headline taxpayer rally in St. Paul

Grover Norquist, with Americans for Tax Reform, will headline the annual Taxpayers Rally at the State Capitol on April 27.

Norquist is best known for fiercely opposing tax hikes on the federal level. His “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” asks candidates for U.S. House and Senate oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.

The Minnesota Taxpayers League says all but 16 Republican members on the House and six Republican Senators have signed the pledge. – Tom Scheck