The Daily Digest (Carp fears drive plan; no assault weapons ban; how many jobs if Mayo expands?)

Expect big crowds and more heated debate today on gun legislation as Capitol lawmakers start two more days of hearings on the matter, this time in the Senate.

The Senate Environment and Energy Committee talks through children’s exposure to harmful product chemicals. And the effort to create a Minnesota health insurance exchange grinds on.


Mayo’s expansion may create jobs, but how many? (MPR News)

Mayo seeks $500 million in public funds to pay for roads, bridges, sewers, parking and other parts of the massive proposed project. Some experts are skeptical of Mayo’s job projections. Minnesota lawmakers want more details.

Assault weapons ban off the table in Senate gun bill hearings (MPR News)

Gun control hearings resume today at the state Capitol but the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman says his committee will not consider any proposals to ban assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Law regulating free online classes should go, legislator says (MPR News)

A state senator wants to let colleges offer large, free not-for-credit online classes in Minnesota. Private and out-of-state colleges offering online courses now pay a fee whether the classes are free or offer no credit.

Traffic camera bill hits a red light at Minnesota House (MPR News)

The House Transportation Policy Committee tables a bill to let cities install cameras designed to catch red light runners at intersections after several members raised concerns that the traffic cameras would violate civil liberties.

Mayors: Dayton budget will keep property taxes down (MPR News)

“Mayors from St. Paul, St. Cloud and several metro area suburbs say Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed budget will help them maintain services without a property tax hike.”

Same-sex marriage backers try to capitalize on GOPer’s support (Star Tribune)

“The group trying to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota has crafted a fundraising appeal to capitalize on a Republican legislator’s announcement that he plans to co-sponsor the bill.”

Carp fears add to pressure to close St. Anthony Falls locks (Pioneer Press)

“Armed with proposed federal legislation and a fresh discovery of more invasive carp in the Mississippi River, state and federal lawmakers in Minnesota are pushing to close the shipping lock at Upper St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis.”

Bill to seek 10% solar energy standard (Pioneer Press)

“Minnesota should have a mandate for using solar energy similar to the one it has for using renewable wind energy, say backers of a pair of bills to be filed today in the Legislature.”

Personal care givers hope to vote on unionizing (WCCO)

“Thousands of Minnesota’s personal care attendants are asking state lawmakers to allow them to vote on a union. State law does not allow home care attendants to be in a union, and a bill to be introduced this week would simply permit a vote.”


Pentagon warns of furloughs if automatic cuts kick in (Washington Post)

Budget cuts seen as risk to growth of U.S. economy (New York Times)

Can Republicans win the Senate in 2014? (New York Times)

Mulling Senate bid, Ashley Judd meets with Democratic officials (CBS News)

White House Defends Biden’s ‘Double-Barrel’ Self-Defense Advice (ABC News)

Kline among most conservative, Franken among most liberal in Congress

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat, was the third most liberal member of the Senate in 2012, according to annual rankings released by the National Journal.

The magazine tracks lawmakers’ votes on key issues over the year looking for areas of sharp, partisan divide. He shared third place with Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Across the Rotunda, U.S. Rep. John Kline, a Republican, made the publication’s list of most conservative lawmakers, coming in at 26th place, tied with Reps. Diane Black of Tennessee and Joe Wilson of South Carolina. No other Minnesota lawmakers made the top of the National Journal’s lists. — Brett Neely

Minnesota Democrats recommend Oberstar for transportation chief

Minnesota’s two Democratic Senators and five DFL U.S. House members are lobbying President Obama to name former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar as the next Secretary of Transportation.

Oberstar has expressed interest in the job and has chops in transportation policy. He chaired the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Still, Oberstar’s road to nomination faces some potholes. At 78, Oberstar would be nearly a decade older than the next oldest member of Obama’s cabinet. He also clashed with the White House in 2009 over his plan for a $500 billion highway bill that held a politically unpopular gas tax increase.

Under pressure from the administration, that bill was shelved. — Brett Neely