Daily Digest: Legislature has nearly $17 million

Good morning and happy Tuesday. Here’s the Digest.

1. Lawyers for the Legislature shared details with the Minnesota Supreme Court Monday about how much money the House and Senate have in reserve accounts.  Combined the total is $16.7 million dollars on hand. The Senate’s $6 million will last until December, while the House’s $10.7 million will last until February, assuming Gov. Mark Dayton’s line item vetoes of budget money stands. The Supreme Court ordered the Legislature to provide an accounting of its reserves as part of Dayton’s appeal of a court decision that ruled his vetoes null and void. The Supreme Court hasn’t upheld or overturned that lower court ruling. Instead it ordered the two sides into mediation. (MPR News)

2. In an earlier court filing, Dayton’s attorney argued that the Legislature’s budget is deliberately opaque, making it difficult to know which expenses are “critical” and which could be trimmed to save money. Expenses from the state Senate alone singled out in that memo include money spent in 2016-2017 on things like dry cleaning ($1,000); water coolers ($30,000) and out-of-state travel ($200,000.) Much bigger sections of the Legislature’s budget cover salaries and benefits for 201 state lawmakers and hundreds of legislative employees, along with payments on the new Senate office building. (Star Tribune)

3. Minneapolis police officers are rarely turning on their body cameras, even after Chief Medaria Arradondo required that the devices be activated in all public encounters, a City Council member said Monday. That was among the findings of a two-month audit of the department’s body camera program, according to Council Member Linea Palmisano, who called the results of the 23-page report “damning.” “There’s some people who never have it on,” said Palmisano, after reviewing the report over the weekend. “This is a very expensive program and there isn’t oversight of this, and there isn’t governance.” The report also found that there is no clear chain of command for reprimanding officers who fail to activate their cameras, Palmisano said. Arradondo says the cameras are being used more since he issued his directive in July. (Star Tribune)

4. The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday refused to suspend a Minneapolis ordinance requiring employers to provide time off for employee illness or emergency, but did keep intact a temporary limit on how aspects of the policy are enforced on businesses based outside the city. The ruling by a three-judge appeals panel upheld a lower court decision that let the ordinance go into effect in July. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce had sought an injunction to block the policy while it sues over the sick and safe time ordinance. (MPR News)

5. In Washington Senate Republicans expressed growing hope Monday for a final push to scuttle President Barack Obama’s health care law, an effort that still faces an uphill climb and just a two-week window to pass. Adding more risk, senators would be in the dark about the bill’s impact on Americans, since the Congressional Budget Office says crucial estimates won’t be ready in time for a vote. (AP)

Comments are closed.