Good morning, and happy Friday. Tomorrow marks the fishing opener, a good time to reflect on fish, water, boats and hooks. Here’s the Digest.
1. There’s no budget deal at the Capitol and Gov. Mark Dayton is headed to St. Cloud for the fishing opener. Legislative leaders will join him Saturday, but they won’t be negotiating again until Monday, and a budget deal is proving to be the most elusive catch of all. Things ground to halt on Thursday, and Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, says Republicans shouldn’t be surprised by the standstill after the strategy they used. “The idea of sending the governor bills that were destined for a certain veto was badly flawed. When you’re trying to sit at the table and negotiate with people with opposing views, it really doesn’t advance the process by poking them in the eye at the same time you’re trying to talk to them.” (MPR News)
2. Gov. Mark Dayton said on Thursday that he would veto the legislative measure that would hamstring local governments’ ability to raise minimum wages or required paid time off in their cities. “I will veto the pre-emption (bill) because I think it’s bad policy to take over the decision-making authority of local governments,” the Democratic governor said. “It’s just the business community coming in and trying to strip away, and keep people from improving the quality of their lives.” (Pioneer Press)
3. University of Minnesota regents said Thursday they would not respond to a news report alleging an athletics department official had sexually harassed an employee but added that they’ve launched an inquiry to find out who leaked the information. Citing an email from university officials to regents, KSTP-TV reported Wednesday that the official was investigated by the university’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office. In a statement released following Thursday’s closed-door regents meeting, the university said it takes “very seriously any accusations made against any of our employees” but that details of the “current situation” could not be discussed. The statement also said the board had launched an inquiry to find out which regent leaked the information to KSTP — and it encouraged the TV station to name the leaker. (MPR News)
4. Minnesota utility regulators Thursday approved a landmark four-year rate deal for Xcel Energy that will ultimately raise residential rates by 10.6 percent — though a big chunk of that increase is already in place. The rate case is uncommon in two ways. It’s the first multiyear rate plan in Minnesota for investor-owned Xcel, made possible by a 2015 state law change. Also, it resulted from a settlement between Xcel and several parties it might normally end up fighting — particularly the Minnesota Department of Commerce, one of two Minnesota agencies commissioned with looking out for the public interest in rate cases. (Star Tribune)
5. President Trump wants to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure and the proposals are pouring in. Some of that potential spending, however, is bound to make Minnesota leaders very unhappy. North Dakota’s governor and the mayor of Fargo, N.D., have been lobbying the White House to include funding for the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project. If the president includes the $2.2 billion project in his proposal, it will set up a showdown with Minnesota, where officials here say Moorhead will get the short end of the deal. (APM Reports)