Good morning, and happy Tuesday. President Trump will address a joint session of Congress tonight. We’ll have it live for you on the radio and online at 8 p.m.. Here’s the Digest.
1. The Minnesota Senate on Monday joined with the House and passed a bill that allows liquor stores to open on Sundays if they choose and their local government agrees. The vote marks the end of a ban that has been in place since statehood, although there are still some minor differences in the House and Senate versions that need to be worked out. Gov. Dayton has said he won’t stand in the way of the bill becoming law. Supporters of the change said overwhelming public support made the difference. (MPR News)
2. Some liquor store owners say the change will hurt them, while others say it won’t make much of a difference. While the public seems overwhelmingly in favor of dropping the ban on Sunday sales, some in the liquor business seem less excited. “All the customers think it’s just amazing and this life-changing thing,” said Todd McCoy, a manager at Central Avenue Liquors. “It’s going to be the same stuff in the store that was there on Saturday.” (Star Tribune)
3. Since the session began two months ago, legislative committees have considered a host of bills that would cut taxes. The combined proposals are far in excess of the projected $1.4 billion budget surplus. A new budget forecast is set to be released later today, and even if the surplus grows, it is unlikely to cover the cost of some of the biggest proposals. Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed about $300 million in tax cuts, but the Republican majorities in the House and Senate appear ready to up the ante considerably. (MPR News)
4. The Dayton administration on Monday announced a new effort to increase Minnesota’s renewable energy standard. Wind and solar currently account for about 21 percent of Minnesota’s electricity. The proposed legislation would more than double that to 50 percent by 2030. Clean energy jobs grew by 78 percent in Minnesota between 2000 and 2014 compared to 11 percent overall, according to Dayton administration officials. Their analysis shows the industry supports more than 15,000 jobs and creates $1 billion dollars in economic activity. But Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, who chairs the House energy committee, said the proposal faces bipartisan opposition, especially from rural lawmakers. (MPR News)
5. As for that speech tonight by the president, he is expected to strike an optimistic tone as he outlines how he plans to begin a “renewal of the American spirit” with his economic goals and priorities. According to senior administration officials who previewed the speech to reporters, that’s the theme the president will use to lay out his vision for the American people and explain how his administration will begin solving real problems for real people. He’ll tell members of Congress that Americans have been waiting on help from political leaders for too long, but that now help is on the way. (NPR)