The Daily Digest (Rural water woes, teacher bonuses flow; for budget, Dayton hits the road)

Expect a busy week at the Capitol as lawmakers push bills to meet a second legislative deadline on Friday. The debate over new gun laws shifts to the House this week.

Gov. Dayton and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea today join a Capitol rally to support the state’s drug court system.


Deal on nurse staffing? (MPR News)

“Hospital officials and the Minnesota Nurses Association are nearing a deal to study and publish details about nurse staffing. It’s an alternative to a bill moving requiring hospitals to keep a minimum number of nurses working at all times.”

Dayton to tour state to promote his budget (Associated Press)

Gov. Dayton will travel the state starting this week to make the case for his budget. His office says the “Meetings with Mark” are an effort to engage Minnesotans about his proposed spending increases on education and economic development.

Franken may benefit from deep GOP divisions (Star Tribune)

“As time runs short to mount a realistic challenge to Sen. Al Franken, once an inviting GOP target, Minnesota Republicans are struggling to find a new face.”

House advances crackdown on out-of-state pharmacies (Pioneer Press)

“Under the legislation, out-of-state pharmacies would be required to submit proof to state regulators that any problems found in an inspection report during the past two years had been addressed.”

DOT seeks input on Mpls-to-Duluth rail line (MPR News)

“The Minnesota Department of Transportation will release an environmental assessment today on a proposed high-speed passenger rail service between Minneapolis and Duluth. ”

Gun proposals split DFLers at Capitol (MPR News)

“A Minnesota House committee will debate a gun bill Tuesday that is dividing Democrats. The bill would require background checks on every gun purchase in Minnesota; the NRA and the Minnesota Sheriffs Association prefer a different bill.”

If most teachers get a bonus, does Minnesota’s Q-Comp system work? (Pioneer Press)

“Minnesota’s teacher pay-for-performance system has grown into one that awards a bonus to nearly every teacher who participates. Supporters say it has transformed the way teachers are evaluated. Critics say the program’s been diluted.”

Mixed record for Mayor Coleman as he weighs a third term (MPR News)

“At the moment, the DFL incumbent appears to be a shoo-in in St. Paul, in spite of a record that includes substantial tax increases and weak job growth. He is expected to seek a third term.”

Minnesota’s water shortages forcing many towns to take drastic measures (Pioneer Press)

“Residents of rural Minnesota are struggling with a prolonged drought, a thirst for job-creating growth and the prospect that current water practices in some areas are unsustainable — yet demand is growing.”

Some river gauges could be victims of budget cuts (Associated Press)

“The U.S. Geological Survey says 11 of the roughly 100 gauges it operates in Minnesota help forecasters predict flood and drought conditions could potentially be shut down due to budget cuts.”


Obama’s trip to Israel aims to fix missteps (Washington Post)

Airline-safety concerns grow louder (Washington Post)

Boehner: The ‘talk about raising revenue Is over’ (ABC News)

GOP calls 2012 “a wakeup call”; vows outreach, reform (CBS News)

Senate panel close to Obama plan on citizenship for illegal immigrants (Washington Post)

After keeping a low profile, Bachmann re-emerges at CPAC

After months of shunning cameras and interviews, Michele Bachmann returned to the spotlight Saturday for a speech before the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that sought to soften the edges of her brand of conservatism, recasting it as a “movement of love, movement of care.”

The 6th District Congresswoman’s near-total silence since her narrow re-election victory in November has been striking. She was once a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination and a regular presence on talk radio, the Sunday political shows and Fox News.

Following last November’s poor showing for Republicans across the board, many in the party are trying to reframe the party’s message to show that the GOP’s policies are relevant to more than the just the affluent and socially conservative. On stage, Bachmann, herself an ardent culture warrior, tried something similar. — Brett Neely