The Daily Digest: Trains, trucks and drones

Good morning!

In Minnesota

When Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature return to work next month, few issues will be more central and more vexing than the search for the first substantial transportation funding plan since 2008. (AP via MPR News)

Privacy advocates are urging Minnesota lawmakers to regulate the use of unmanned drone aircraft. Twenty states already have drone laws on the books. Minnesota currently does not. (MPR News)

Minnesota leans too heavily on family engagement and support in response to reports of child abuse and not enough on investigation and child safety, a state task force said. (Pioneer Press)

An interview with Republican Congressman-elect Tom Emmer, who’s packing his bags for Washington to represent the 6th District next month. (MPR News)

Burlington Northern Santa Fe and other carriers blamed months of shipping delays on unexpected heavy demand and bad weather. But public documents and statements from some BNSF customers cast doubt on the company’s version of events. (MPR News)

National Politics

The Senate voted on Saturday night to approve a $1.1 trillion deal and avert a government shutdown, sending the legislation to President Barack Obama for his signature. Senate conservatives had tried to make a point about Obama’s immigration policy, but the result was Senate Democrats getting everything they wanted out of their last days of power. (Politico)

Both of Minnesota’s Democratic senators voted against the spending bill, citing concerns about provisions related to campaign finance and banking regulation. All Minnesota Democrats serving in Congress opposed the bill. (Star Tribune)

The campaign finance provision dramatically increases contribution limits for party conventions and was fueled by Republican worries about how to pay for their 2016 convention. (New York Times)

Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday continued his fierce defense of harsh CIA interrogation tactics used in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, saying flatly that he “would do it again in a minute.” (NBC)

Some of the Senate’s most long-serving members are retiring, an occasion for hours of farewell speeches and rare moments of bipartisan comity. (NPR)

New York businessman and political fundraiser George Tsunis said that his troubled nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Norway won’t get a vote in the Senate, ending his bid for a diplomatic post after strong opposition led by Minnesota’s Scandinavian community. (Newsday)