Good morning and welcome to February. Here’s the Digest.
1. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is a proposing a $125 million technology upgrade for state government, including tighter cybersecurity protections. Dayton’s administration says state computers are outdated and the target of multiple hacking attacks every day. Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt is set to release a plan of his own today for upgrading state computer systems. (MPR News)
2. As thousands of people protested Tuesday in Minneapolis, Dayton said his administration is examining President Donald Trump’s string of executive orders for potential impacts to Minnesota. Calling the president’s executive orders “ill-conceived,” Dayton said he is making the move to ensure Minnesotans are treated fairly. “Some of them are unconstitutional. Others are antithetical to our American values. All of them have ramifications for our state and our people,” Dayton said in a prepared statement Tuesday. “As these and future Executive Orders are issued, I have instructed my Cabinet to determine what impacts they will have in the lives of Minnesotans.” (Pioneer Press)
3. The push for higher minimum wages, sick leave and other employee benefits is getting some push back from lawmakers at the Capitol. Both the House and Senate are weighing preemption measures that could block local initiatives such as the sick leave mandate in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington said people looking to change the employment landscape in Minnesota haven’t made much headway statewide, and are instead trying to work their way up from the local level. “And this is on both the left and the right. On the left, you have people calling for $15, $20 an hour minimum wages. And then on the right, people calling for individual cities to be right to work, where labor laws wouldn’t apply. Obviously, that’s not the direction Minnesota wants to go. We want to have uniform labor standards across our state,” he said. (MPR News)
4. President Trump chose Judge Neil Gorsuch to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. The appointment came almost a year after Senate Republicans refused to give President Obama’s choice for the seat, Merrick Garland, a hearing. “Judge Gorsuch has a superb intellect, an unparalleled legal education, and a commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its text. He will make an incredible Justice as soon as the Senate confirms him,” Trump said. “I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and laws of this great country,” Gorsuch said. He also praised Justice Scalia as “a lion of the law.” (NPR)
5. Gorsuch graduated from Columbia, Harvard and Oxford, clerked for two Supreme Court justices and worked at the Department of Justice. He attended Harvard Law with former President Barack Obama. Since 2006, he has served on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, in Colorado. Conservatives hope he will become the intellectual heir to Scalia, and be able to win over swing justices to his point of view. (Politico)