Good morning, and happy Friday. Here’s a reminder to tune into MPR News at 11 this morning. I’ll be talking to the governor and legislative leaders about the latest from the Capitol, and I hope you can tune in. In the meantime, let’s look at the Digest.
1. Despite President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Minnesota officials said Thursday that the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will go on. With a plan adopted in 2007, Minnesota has been a national leader in pursuing an aggressive plan to reduce emissions of the chemicals that cause climate change. And though Minnesota has missed its targets in recent years, the president’s decision won’t change what has been slow and steady progress, state environmental officials said Thursday. The president’s decision puts future climate change leadership squarely in the hands of state and local governments rather than in Washington, D.C. (Star Tribune)
2. No announced DFL candidates for governor will attend the state party’s major fundraiser Saturday, with most saying they are joining a boycott over legislation DFL Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law this week. The bill includes a strict ban on issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants who are living in the country illegally. U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, state Reps. Tina Liebling of Rochester and Erin Murphy of St. Paul, and State Auditor Rebecca Otto said they would skip the Humphrey-Mondale Dinner at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Saturday. It is one of the party’s most significant events of the year, with tickets ranging from $75 to a $50,000 sponsorship that buys a table for 10, a “governor’s reception” and other perks. (MPR News)
3. A draft document outlining how schools should treat transgender students is drawing criticism from conservative groups. Representatives of the Minnesota Family Council and other groups held a news conference in front of the Minnesota Department of Education on Thursday to object to a “transgender toolkit” the department is developing. The toolkit cites a 2016 federal letter on transgender issues saying students must be able to use restrooms and other facilities in accordance with their gender identities. The draft document also offers best practices on dealing with gender pronouns in student records and accommodating students on field trips and in dress codes. The Trump administration withdrew the 2016 letter in February. However, Minnesota Deputy Education Commissioner Charlene Briner said no new guidance was issued in its place, so the 2016 document remains one of several sources in the toolkit. (MPR News)
4. The state-run Perpich Center for Arts Education and its namesake Golden Valley arts high school survived a legislative attempt to close them this session. Funding for the Perpich Center continues under the education bill Gov. Mark Dayton signed this week. “The way I say it is that we’re on probation,” said Perpich board chair Ben Vander Kooi, adding that he’s focused on addressing concerns brought up in a January legislative audit that led some lawmakers to push for Perpich’s closure. (MPR News)
5. A day after saying he still planned to appear with comedian Kathy Griffin after a photo featuring her holding a head looking like President Donald Trump’s, Sen. Al Franken has reversed course. In a statement late Thursday, Franken said he had heard from many Minnesotans “who were rightfully offended” by plans to appear with Griffin in July at an event meant to promote his new book. “I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be best for her not to participate in the event we had previously scheduled,” Franken said in the statement. (Star Tribune)