The Daily Digest (Minn. tax and spending laws kick in, immigration bill’s fate uncertain in House)

Welcome to Monday’s edition of The Daily Digest.

Starting today, cigarettes are going to cost more and an income tax increase on top earners kicks in. A host of new spending programs, from all-day kindergarten to funds designed to lure movie makers to the state, are also set to go live.

In Washington, the immigration bill faces stiff opposition from conservatives in the House.


New tax and spending laws kick in today (MPR News)
Many laws passed last session go into effect today, including a big bump in funding for K-12 schools and a tuition freeze at the University of Minnesota and MnSCU. Also officially starting up today are a tax increase on cigarettes and an income tax increase on those who earn over $150,000 singly or couples who earn more than $250,000 together.

PAC to back 15 Minn. legislators who supported same-sex marriage (MPR News)
The group that successfully pushed to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota has formed a PAC to support candidates who voted for the proposal. The group includes 10 Democrats from socially-conservative districts and five Republicans, some of whom said they haven’t yet decided whether to accept the money.

Minnesota state employee unions reach tentative contract agreements (MPR News)
Under a tentative contract agreement with Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration, Minnesota Association of Professional Employees members would receive 3 percent raises for each of the next two years, although workers will take on more of their health insurance costs. Members will vote on the proposal sometime in the next six weeks. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5 is also recommending support for the contract, which will be considered by delegates later in the month.

After 4-year break, Minn. political refund program returns; donors can get money back (Star Tribune)
After being cut in 2009, the program that offers small refunds to those who donate to political campaigns is returning.

New Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Lillehaug takes oath (Associated Press via Pioneer Press)
The former U.S. attorney for Minnesota and Democratic insider is Gov. Mark Dayton’s second appointee on the court. He replaces retired Justice Paul Anderson.


House lawmakers take up immigration measure to uncertain but perilous prospects (Washington Post)
The chair of the House Judiciary Committee said a House bill won’t include a way for immigrants in the United States illegally to gain full citizenship. The Senate passed an immigration overhaul last week with 14 Republicans supporting it.

Iowa woman resolves suit against Bachmann (Associated Press via MPR News)
The lawsuit alleged that Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign took lists of home-school supporters from a volunteer’s personal computer. The case was dismissed Friday in Polk County District Court. The Star Tribune reports that Bachmann released a statement praising the volunteer over the weekend, which the paper suggested could have been part of a settlement that hasn’t been publicly disclosed.

Report of U.S. Spying Angers European Allies (New York Times)
A German magazine reported that the U.S. installed listening devices and tapped into computers at European Union offices in Washington and New York. European Union officials said the revelations could derail a trade agreement that’s currently being negotiated.

Gay Married Man in Florida Is Approved for Green Card (New York Times)
The Obama administration appears to be moving quickly to change its visa policies following a U.S. Supreme Court decision last week. A married Florida man originally from Bulgaria was granted a green card on Friday.


Republican Benson would have voted against the Farm Bill (MPR News)
First Congressional District GOP candidate Mike Benson said he would have voted no on the bill at a campaign stop last week. He said he’s concerned about spending on food stamps in the bill. He later clarified in the New Ulm Journal that he supports separate bills funding food stamps and agricultural policy.

Money Race: Senate Fundraising Hauls to Watch (Roll Call)
U.S. Sen. Al Franken raised more money than any other senator in the last fiscal quarter.