Good morning, and welcome to Thursday. Here’s the Digest.
1. Shortly after I sent yesterday’s Digest the first reports of a shooting near Washington D.C. involving members of Congress started to come in. A man with a rifle opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice, wounding House GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and several others as congressmen and aides dove for cover. The assailant, prepared with “a lot of ammo,” fought a gun battle with police before he, too, was shot and later died. The shooter was identified as James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old home inspector from Illinois who had several minor run-ins with the law in recent years and belonged to a Facebook group called “Terminate the Republican Party.” (AP via MPR News)
2. Third District Minnesota U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen is one of Steve Scalise’s roommates and a member of the Republican congressional baseball team, although he was not at the practice Wednesday morning. “I learned of the incident on the way to the White House when I was bringing some constituents in for a White House tour,” Paulsen said Wednesday afternoon. “Right away my heart sank, and you just think about your own family. There’s no doubt that the Capitol Police that were on hand saved a lot of lives by being there.” (MPR News)
3. Gov. Mark Dayton has hired a former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice to represent him in a lawsuit filed by the state Legislature. Dayton said Wednesday that he retained Sam Hanson of the Briggs and Morgan firm. Hanson served on the state supreme court from 2002-2008. The announcement came a day after Republican legislative leaders filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Dayton’s recent line-items vetoes of funding for the House and Senate. The suit contends the governor violated the separation of powers clause of the Minnesota Constitution. The lawsuit seeks restoration of the two-year funding of $129 million that Dayton zeroed out. (MPR News)
4. Lt. Gov. Tina Smith is leading a trip of Minnesota officials, farmers and agri-business leaders to Cuba. Next week’s visit comes as President Donald Trump’s administration considers whether to tighten restrictions on travel and commerce with the country after President Obama had relaxed many Cold War-era limits. The Minnesota group is set to look in on food growing operations at a Cuban cooperative and visit with the country’s agricultural and foreign ministries. They will also meet with U.S. officials stationed there and stop at an institute doing livestock sector research. The trip has been in the works for five or six months inside the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Smith said. (MPR News)
5. Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, is expected to announce a run for governor today. Thissen is a former House speaker. From this piece: Thissen will have to persuade the DFL activists who decide the endorsement at next year’s party convention to overlook recent political history. Under his leadership, House DFLers lost their majority in 2014 and even more seats in 2016. DFL activists are particularly worried about the 2018 election, with Republicans in position to seize full control of state government for the first time in nearly half a century. (Star Tribune)