The Daily Digest (Unions balk over Mayo, nursing home cuts a no go; at the Capitol, let the beer flow?)

State lawmakers grind through another day of committee work in the House and Senate on health and human services spending bills at the Capitol.

The Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy gets briefed today on the effects in Minnesota of automatic federal budget cuts, known as sequestration.

State

State still waiting for teacher candidates two years into alternative system (MPR News)

“More than two years after Minnesota lawmakers created easier ways for people to become teachers, the state is still waiting to license a single teacher under the effort.”

Vikings stadium funding fix could include electronic Keno, poker, from state lottery (MPR News)

“It’ll likely be months before the Dayton administration decides whether to turn to backup Vikings stadium finance plans. At the Capitol, and state lottery headquarters, officials are already weighing possibly big changes to the lottery.”

Improving gun background checks could be costly (Associated Press)

“The Senate Judiciary Committee is trying to determine how much it will cost to dig through old court records for mental health commitment information to send to the national database of people who can’t own a gun.”

Senate committee passes noncontroversial changes to gun law (Star Tribune)

“The Senate Judiciary Committee easily passed the gun bill, version two, an attempt to improve current background checks by more efficiently transferring state records to the National Instant Criminal Background Checks system.”

Independent groups may be taking over for the Minnesota Republican Party (MPR News)

“New conservative groups are forming as the Minnesota Republican Party is strapped for cash and the rank and file party faithful squabble over the direction of the party.”

High-speed rail from Mpls to Duluth passes ‘big milestone’ (KSTP)

“The Northern Lights Express, a proposed high-speed rail line connecting the Twin Cities and Duluth, is now picking up speed, transportation leaders believe, after getting an environmental green light.”

Dayton noncommittal on Mayo Clinic financing plan at Rochester town hall (MPR News)

“Dayton told the audience he is committed to helping Mayo Clinic with its plan to expand. But he did not offer his support outright for the funding mechanism.”

Some labor unions push back against Mayo Clinic plan (MPR News)

“Three labor unions are distributing flyers at the Capitol saying they oppose a plan to provide taxpayer funding for improvements in Rochester related to the Mayo Clinic’s expansion unless ‘key questions’ are answered.”

Minn. prosecutors appeal ‘advising’ suicide ruling (Associated Press)

“Minnesota prosecutors said Thursday that they are appealing a judge’s decision that the state’s law against “advising” suicide is unconstitutional.”

House DFL cuts to spare nursing homes (MPR News)

“Democrats in the Minnesota House are pledging to spare nursing homes from budget cuts this session, and they’ll try to provide a modest cost of living adjustment for the employees in those facilities.”

Time for the beer to flow at the Legislature? (Star Tribune)

“The House Legacy Committee, charged with safeguarding Minnesota’s cultural and natural heritage, tweaked the Legacy omnibus bill this week to direct the city of St. Paul to issue an on-sale wine and malt liquor license to the Capitol cafeteria.”

U of M Pres. Kaler proposes buying Fairview (MPR News)

“The University of Minnesota is proposing to acquire Fairview Health Services and leaders of both organizations are scheduled to discuss the proposal further. Fairview is also in merger talks with rural health care giant, Sanford Health.”

Few if any Asian carp in St. Croix, Mississippi rivers (MPR News)

“Tests last year, using improved techniques to identify the DNA of Asian carp in Minnesota waters, seem to contradict earlier studies that found evidence of the fish in locations in the Mississippi, including north of the Twin Cities.”

NRA school security plan cites Hastings shooting that never happened (Pioneer Press)

“A National Rifle Association school security plan that called for armed police officers, security guards or staff members in every U.S. school cited a mass shooting at Hastings Middle School in 2010 that never happened.”

Nation

For mega-donors, if price is right, ambassadorship may be, too (Washington Post)

Obama to propose entitlement cuts, tax hikes (CBS News)

Path to citizenship divides Congress and, polls show, confuses country (New York Times)

Obama rekindles talk about boys’ club with remark about woman’s looks (Washington Post)

Majority now support marijuana legalization, poll finds ( ABC News)