The Daily Digest (Return of racino, gas tax hike a no go; snow makes test scores low?)

It’ll be a busy day at the Capitol as lawmakers push ahead on finance and tax policy bills. Expect more discussion over new plans to raise money to pay for the public portion of a new Vikings stadium. Lawmakers, like the rest of us, will also keep one eye on the weather.

State

Dayton forces DFL to reconsider gas tax hike (MPR News)

“The chairs of the House and Senate Transportation committees are redrafting their budget bills after Gov. Dayton repeated his opposition to a gas tax increase.”

Stadium memorabilia tax plan may resurface in House committee. Dayton commits to fix (MPR News)

“House Taxes Committee chairwoman, Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington is proposing a tax on licensed sportswear and other goods, including trading cards, photographs, autographed merchandise and other items.”

Racino proposed as answer for Vikings stadium and budget (Star Tribune)

“The racetrack casino concept has been resurrected at the State Capitol as a way to help balance the state budget and solve the Vikings stadium funding problem.”

Fairview/Sanford merger meets with wide dissent in Legislature (Star Tribune)

“Minnesota lawmakers are moving to make the potential Sanford Health takeover of Fairview Health Services, including the University of Minnesota’s hospitals, as difficult as possible.”

Higher education budgets target tuition costs (Associated Press)

“House and Senate budget bills unveiled Monday would send more money to the state’s grant program for financial aid and give public colleges and universities millions of dollars dedicated to freezing tuition rates for the next two years.”

Expanding mass transit in east metro is a fight to catch up (MPR News)

“State lawmakers will announce proposals later this week to help pay for expanding mass transit in the Twin Cities.”

Number of snow days worries rural school districts over testing (MPR News)

“During this year’s tough winter, many rural districts repeatedly cancelled school. Now some school officials worry that all those closures could hurt student scores on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment tests in April and May.”

AFSCME urges Minnesota legislators to legalize same-sex marriage (Star Tribune)

“The union support could be crucial as same-sex marriage supporters try to lock down the votes necessary to make Minnesota the 10th state to legalize such unions.”

Dayton announces $750 million bonding proposal (MPR News)

“Gov Dayton’s recommendations include civic center expansions, repairs to college buildings and upgrades at state-run veterans homes, work he estimates will create 21,000 jobs throughout the state.”

State representative takes on minimum wage challenge (KSTP)

“State Rep. Jason Metsa, DFL-Virginia, is pushing for a minimum wage increase. and accepted Working America’s challenge to live on the current minimum wage for a week. He’ll have to live on $5 a day for food.”

Federal ethanol standard comes under new scrutiny (MPR News)

“The renewable fuel standard requires increasing amounts of ethanol to be mixed in with the gasoline supply. But no one forecast that Americans were about to start driving less or that their cars were about to become more fuel-efficient.”

Nation

Invoking Newtown Dead, Obama presses gun laws (New York Times)

Poll: most Americans disapprove of Obama on guns (ABC News)

Navy deploying laser weapon prototype near Iran (New York Times)

Irate liberal groups to fight Obama budget proposal (CBS News)

South Dakota Sen. Johnson flips on same-sex marriage, leaving 3 Dems alone (ABC News)