Good morning, and welcome to the first day of spring. Winter was unusually mild, but it’s still nice that it’s over. Let’s take a look at the Digest.
1. Republicans in the Minnesota House are expected to release a broad outline of their plans for spending and tax cuts this morning. DFL leaders in the House are already saying they weren’t given enough notice of the plan. On Friday Senate Republicans released their budget targets, which call for more spending for education and transportation, and cuts to state agency operating budgets and to environment and natural resources programs. Senate Republicans also want to slow the projected growth in human services spending and cut taxes by $900 million. Their plans conflict with Gov. Mark Dayton’s. (MPR News)
2. Greater Minnesota gets far more money for roads and bridges than its residents pay in taxes for those projects, a new Star Tribune analysis of transportation funding has found. The review found that metro and greater Minnesota taxpayers each provide about half the money for Minnesota’s roads and bridges, but greater Minnesota gets twice as much back in projects. Even when state money for transit is factored in, greater Minnesota receives 22 percent more state transportation money than the metro, according to three years of transportation funding data. (Star Tribune)
3. Later today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case involving a Wisconsin family’s use of its property on the St. Croix River. They wanted to sell a lot and use the money to pay for improvements on a rustic cabin that sits on the parcel next door. But county officials nixed the sale for violating local conservation rules and treated the lots as a single property that can’t be split up. The case has garnered attention from property rights and business groups that want government officials to pay when regulations restrict property use. The dispute has more than a dozen states lining up on opposite sides. (AP via MPR News)
4. Sen. Amy Klobuchar pledged more federal aid for security at community centers after telephoned bomb threats earlier this year terrified patrons of two Jewish Community Centers in Minnesota. About 140 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers and schools nationwide so far this year, including one each against the St. Louis Park and St. Paul JCCs. “What’s so horrific about these threats to safety and to people’s sense of well-being is that the Jewish Community Centers have been places where they’ve brought in people of all religions,” said Klobuchar. (Star Tribune)
5. The head of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said that there is still no evidence that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower, as President Trump has claimed, even after the Department of Justice provided to the committee documents related to the allegation on Friday. The allegations of wiretapping are part of a broader House Intelligence Committee investigation over accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It will hold its first public hearing Monday, in which FBI Director James Comey is expected to be asked to weigh in on the president’s claim. (NPR)