Good morning, and happy Wednesday. Lots of news today, so let’s get on with the Digest.
1. Key state leaders on Tuesday rose to the defense of more than 6,000 immigrants in Minnesota who stand to lose their protection from deportation. President Trump’s administration on Tuesday said it would wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which allows people brought illegally to the U.S. as children to stay in the country, work and get other benefits. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton was among those critical of the president’s decision, saying it will directly hurt thousands of Minnesotans. “Here in Minnesota we have a shortage of skilled workers. So we’re going to take some 6,200 that are here under DACA and send them away?” Dayton said. “It’s lunacy!” But two of Minnesota’s Republican U.S. House members said the program was an overreach by the Obama administration. “President Obama’s executive order skirted Congress’ constitutional authority and made DACA untenable in its current form,” Rep. Jason Lewis wrote on Facebook. “This is an immensely complex issue and I fully support the opportunity for our nation’s lawmakers to gather public input, hold committee hearings, and ultimately determine how best to reform our country’s immigration system moving forward,” Rep. Tom Emmer said in a statement. (MPR News)
2. Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday he would oppose the nomination of a fellow Minnesotan to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and won’t consent to even hearing the nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras. Fellow Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, also a Judiciary Committee member, tried to straddle the fence on Stras, applauding his credentials while seeming to defer to Franken’s attempt to scuttle the nomination. While Franken’s formal objection makes clear where he stands, it won’t necessarily upend Stras’ nomination because Republicans control the Senate, and the Judiciary Committee has moved in the past to get around resistance from home-state senators who refuse to return so-called “blue slips” ahead of confirmation hearings. (MPR News)
3. The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit that claimed the state’s teacher tenure laws protect ineffective teachers and deprive students of an adequate education. Tuesday’s ruling came less than a year after a Ramsey County judge threw out the case on grounds it failed to establish a link between low academic achievement and the due process afforded veteran teachers under tenure laws. The three-judge panel ruled that questions about what constitutes effective teaching and an adequate education was up to the Legislature and not the judiciary to decide. (Star Tribune)
4. University of Minnesota part-time and contingent faculty may not join the same union as those on the tenure track, the Court of Appeals said Tuesday, striking a blow against efforts to unionize faculty on the Twin Cities campus. SEIU Local 284 in January 2016 filed a petition to represent both faculty groups in a single union. But before the roughly 3,000 faculty could vote on whether to form a union, university leaders challenged who could participate in the election. The union is considering an appeal to the state supreme court. (Pioneer Press)
5. We have a winner. At least a “corn poll” winner. Jeff Johnson, Hennepin County commissioner and 2014 Republican gubernatorial candidate, came in first at the State Fair in the Minnesota Republican Party’s “corn poll.” There’s no science behind his win and no prize that comes with it: Visitors to the party’s booth were given dried corn kernels and invited to dump them into growlers marked for nine gubernatorial candidates or an undecided growler. At the end of the Fair, Johnson’s growler attracted the most corn, according to the party, with Matt Dean, a state representative, coming in second, and Keith Downey, who stepped down as Republican Party chair this year, taking up the third corniest spot. (Pioneer Press)