Good morning and welcome to Tuesday. If the governor and Legislature are going to reach a deal to end the session on time, it might be time to start getting serious. Let’s take a look at the Digest.
1. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders are set to return to the bargaining table Tuesday with hopes of reaching compromise budget agreement before the session clock runs out. The House and Senate passed five GOP budget bills Monday, and Dayton quickly vetoed them. He vetoed a first set of five bills passed by the Legislature last week. Dayton said he’ll make an offer on global budget targets that he described as a “significant departure” from his January budget proposal. He said it will move toward Republicans on spending reductions and tax cuts. “It’s a big step. It’s a mega step, and I hope it’s recognized as such,” Dayton said. (MPR News)
2. If you’re getting a little lost in trying to follow what’s happening at the Capitol, the Pioneer Press put together a glossary of some of the most often heard terms. So, if you can’t tell your tails from your targets, here’s a good place to start. (Pioneer Press)
3. The Minnesota House voted Monday to impose harsh new penalties on doctors who subject girls to female genital mutilation. The House passed the measure on a 124-4 vote. A Senate spokeswoman said the higher chamber would take it up later this week. Every nation on Earth has banned the ritual cutting as a human rights violation, but the practice persists in dozens of cultures across more than 30 countries. The World Health Organization says it’s carried out for the purpose of stifling female sexuality. Under the House bill, parents or guardians who subject girls to genital mutilation, along with the doctors who cut them, would face felony charges and prison sentences ranging from five to 20 years, depending on the damage done to the child. Teachers and caregivers would be mandated to report any suspected incidents of genital cutting. Parents could also lose custody of their children, possibly permanently. (Star Tribune)
4. Members of a joint House and Senate committee made last-minute changes Monday to a bill overhauling how Minnesota licenses educators in hopes it’s enough of a compromise to win the signature of Dayton. State lawmakers and education advocates have been working on fixes to the licensing system for at least a year, though calls for reform have been growing for years. The licensing process has been repeatedly criticized as hard to understand and unfair to some applicants. The changes would consolidate standards and teacher licensing under a new Professional Educator Licensing Board, create a four-tiered licensing system and streamline the process for applicants trained out of state or in unconventional ways. (Pioneer Press)
5. Minnesota’s two licensed medical marijuana manufacturers have lost a combined $11 million in just two years of sales, according to financial documents obtained by The Associated Press, continuing losses that hint at systemic problems with the state’s tightly regulated program despite a recent expansion that allowed thousands more patients to buy the medication. Minnesota Medical Solutions posted a $1.2 million loss in 2016, a year after losing more than $3 million. But LeafLine Labs’ losses worsened: The company said it lost $4.7 million last year, after losing $2.2 million loss in 2015. (AP via Star Tribune)