Daily Digest (Mondale surgery, oil train fee, Obamacare sign-ups )

Good morning, here is the Thursday Digest.

Minnesota:

Former Vice President Walter Mondale had heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic Wednesday. A statement from his family said Mondale is resting comfortably and is expected to make a full recovery.

Two DFL lawmakers from Minneapolis are proposing a significant upgrade of safety preparations across the state for possible crude oil spills. Rep. Frank Hornstein and Sen. Scott Dibble outlined legislation that would impose a new  fraction of a cent fee on railroads and pipeline companies that transport crude oil. Hornstein, who chairs the House transportation committee, said the fee would raise as much as $30 million a year to help train and equip local fire departments. (MPR News)

MNsure officials say the online health insurance exchange is getting better, but still has problems. Legislators want to know how much the fix is going to cost. (Pioneer Press)

Attorneys for a woman seriously injured in an auto collision with a Hennepin County Sheriff’s deputy say a state Supreme Court ruling Wednesday ends their efforts to recover their client’s medical expenses. The court reversed a lower court ruling that questioned whether the deputy driving the marked SUV that struck a car driven by the woman should have been granted immunity. (MPR News)

Another Supreme Court ruling says a man who did not pay child support for his two children cannot be punished. Some say the decision calls into question the state’s entire child support system. (Star Tribune)

The St. Paul City Council has joined the chorus of those calling on the Legislature to raise the minimum wage. (Pioneer Press)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar was instrumental in getting the Senate to finally vote to approve Andy Luger as U.S. Attorney for Minnesota. (Star Tribune)

The Minnesota Republican Party is raising objections to the DFL plan to reconvene a Minneapolis precinct caucus that never met on caucus night. “This power play by the Democrat establishment will favor 40 year incumbent Phyllis Kahn who is running against a credible Somali candidate for the Democrat endorsement,” said GOP Party Secretary Chris Fields in a statement. “When Democrats need to protect one of their own, suddenly policies that enhance Voter ID are OK. This isn’t where the Democrats were in 2012 when such policies were called racist and an attempt to intimidate voters. While we welcome their about face on this issue, it is truly a shocker.”

Reacting to GOP opposition to a unionization push at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant, Minnesota Sen. Dave Tomassoni says the car maker is welcome in Minnesota. (Star Tribune)

Washington:

The White House says More than 1.1 million people signed up for health care through state and federal exchanges in January, bringing total enrollment under the Affordable Care Act to more than 3 million. The number of young people signing up for coverage increased, and people age 18-34 now make up 27 percent of those who signed up. There are still some unanswered questions though. (NPR)

A Republican candidate for Congress plans to air a campaign ad that features his same-sex partner. (Wall Street Journal)