The Daily Digest (Marriage debate, soap chemical’s fate, chili cook-off rules not great?)

Expect a packed and busy Capitol today as House and Senate committees hold hearings on legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage.

Elsewhere in the Capitol, House and Senate lawmakers meet to write a final, compromise bill creating a Minnesota health care exchange.


“Critics of Dayton’s budget turn to income tax increase (MPR News)

After backing off a proposed sales tax hike, it looks like Gov. Dayton will now rely on an income tax increase on top earners to erase a projected deficit and boost education funding. Details of his revised budget plan are expected Wednesday.”

Dayton aside, service tax idea not dead yet (Pioneer Press)

“Gov. Mark Dayton may have abandoned his plan to extend sales taxes to services, but that doesn’t mean the Legislature has given up on the idea.”

Lobbying efforts build up on both sides of same-sex marriage issue (MPR News)

“Advocates on both sides will focus much of their attention on newly elected Democrats from rural Minnesota whose constituents largely favored last fall’s failed constitutional amendment to make marriage only between men and women.”

Minnesota says TurboTax should be safe again after bugs fixed (Star Tribune)

“Thousands of taxpayers who use TurboTax and other Intuit software can once again file their state returns with the state’s blessing. Revenue Department officials are cautiously optimistic the company has resolved chronic software errors.”

Lawmakers consider banning antibacterial soap chemical (MPR News)

“Environmental groups are concerned about triclosan and its byproducts, which include a dioxin, building up in the environment and causing potential health problems. Industry groups argue triclosan is safe and shouldn’t be banned.”

Surcharges to boost pension plans gets a second look (Pioneer Press)

“A group of lawmakers will take a second look at a controversial bill to impose a $5 surcharge on homeowners and vehicle insurance policies, raising about $23 million annually for police and fire pensions.”

Senate panel backs regulation of methadone treatment clinics (MPR News)

“The bill would make the state Human Services Department primary regulator for the clinics by bringing state regulations in line with federal standards. Methadone is used as a pain killer and to treat addictions for opiate drugs like heroin.”

Minnesota families demand voice in nursing home inquiries (Star Tribune)

“A state agency is working to address complaints of relatives who say investigations of nursing homes and care facilities shut them out.”

Bill lays out path to dispose of 35W bridge parts (Associated Press)

“Minnesota transportation officials would have to follow specific instructions from state lawmakers when disposing of parts from the collapsed Interstate 35W bridge.”

Bill rehabbing Minnesota’s sex offender program passes committee (Pioneer Press)

“The bill would require the state to offer more cost-effective treatment alternatives rather than housing all civilly committed sex offenders at the state’s high-security treatment center in Moose Lake.”

Minnesota bill aims to ease state health rules on community chili cook-offs (Associated Press)

“Freshman Democrat Rep. Joe Radinovich introduced a bill Monday that would ease Health Department regulations on chili and soup cook-offs. Radinovich said his push to preserve chili cook-offs in his district is common-sense legislation.”


Does ‘Obamacare’ have $1 trillion in tax hikes? (Washington Post)

U.S. demands China block cyber attacks and agree to rules (New York Times)

Is the debate on gun violence fading? (CBS News)

Hagel to Review Rules on Military Sex Assault (ABC News)

In president’s outreach to GOP, past failures loom (New York Times)

House riled by lawmaker’s comments on “gay lifestyle”

Several members of the Minnesota House are criticizing Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, for introducing a friend on the House floor by saying that that he said “exited the gay lifestyle.”

Gruenhagen Monday used what’s called in the House vernacular “a point of personal privilege” to introduce Kevin Petersen, who is a member of the Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum that worked to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

“The interesting thing about Kevin is he was active in the gay lifestyle for about ten years and then he left it, got married and now has three children,” Gruenhagen said.

While some members clapped, a bipartisan group of lawmakers groaned when Gruenhagen made his comments. The announcement prompted DFL House Speaker Paul Thissen to ban the practice of allowing members to publicly introduce guests who visit the chambers.

Gruenhagen made news a few weeks ago when he said during a news conference that homosexuality is “an unhealthy, sexual addiction” and argued that there is “no gay gene.”— Tom Scheck