Good morning, and welcome to a summertime Thursday. Here’s the Digest.
1. Minnesota state senators are now earning a higher salary than state representatives. As of July 1, the annual salary for the state’s 67 Senators increased from $31,140 to $45,000. The salary for 134 House members remains at $31,140. The pay gap is the result of conflicting views House and Senate leaders have about a constitutional amendment on legislative salaries that voters approved in 2016. The amendment took salary decisions away from lawmakers. It also established an independent Legislative Salary Council that made its initial recommendation for a pay raise back in March. Still, the Senate implemented the pay raise recommendation while the House did not. (MPR News)
2. In Minnesota’s Cass County Donald Trump got two votes for every one cast for Hillary Clinton in 2016. About one in three people there are on Medicaid. The program delivered almost $93 million dollars to Cass County last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The money provided help to almost 9,000 people, many of them children. Many people in Cass County still support the president, but they don’t like Republican plans to cut back on federal Medicaid spending. (MPR News)
3. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has sued CenturyLink, charging that the telecom company has failed to give many customers the prices they’re quoted for Internet and TV services. Swanson says she hopes to get restitution for consumers and give them the option of ending contracts without facing $200 penalties. (MPR News)
4. As lawmakers look to the next election, all the ingredients are in place to see more questions put on the 2018 ballot. Republicans in control the House and Senate have been butting heads all year with DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, and legislators of both parties have already teed up a handful of issues that could be on the ballot as constitutional amendments in 2018. Proposals range from transportation funding to legalizing marijuana. (MinnPost)
5. Amid a heated election campaign in Minneapolis, activists have thrust a new issue into the debate: goats. City Council candidates received a questionnaire last week from a group called the Minneapolis Alliance for Goats, asking them to take a position on whether residents should be allowed to raise the animals within the city limits. “What do you see as the main barriers to small scale goat husbandry, and what specifically will you do to influence their current prohibited status?” the questionnaire asks. Candidates already have dealt with a flurry of questionnaires from unions and other groups, but this is the first questionnaire from goat advocates. (Star Tribune)