Good morning and welcome to Monday. Time to start a new work week. Here’s the Digest.
1. Even though voters rejected the idea in 2012 all the major Republican candidates for governor want to require Minnesotans to show a photo ID before they can vote. Matt Dean, Jeff Johnson, Keith Downey and Dave Osmek insist the issue is far from settled. They blame the defeat on the campaign, not the concept, and remain convinced that most Minnesotans favor a photo ID requirement for voting. And unlike 2012, a Republican in the governor’s office with a GOP-controlled House and Senate would not need to ask voters to weigh in on the change, as Republicans in the Legislature did five years ago to get around DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto pen. Opponents of voter ID frequently raise concerns about disenfranchisement. They insist such laws discriminate against elderly, poor and minority voters, who are less likely to have IDs. (MPR News)
2. Nearly 12 weeks into the rollout of a new computer system for Minnesota’s vehicle licensing operations, the -dollar effort continues to cause a daily barrage of problems for some of the people who operate — or depend on — the state’s 174 licensing offices. People report being over- or undercharged for their plates and tabs, and repeated systemwide shutdowns and monthslong processing delays are beginning to strain cities, counties and individuals who run the license centers as private enterprises. (Star Tribune)
3. The gunman at last Sunday night’s shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas is entry number 134 in a database of mass shooters that two Twin Cities professors are building. Jillian Peterson, a Hamline University assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice, and James Densley, an associate professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State University, hope to better understand why mass shootings happen and identify ways to prevent them. They’re focused on shootings that happen in a public place with four or more victims and aren’t family or gang-related. Peterson and Densley code mass shooters according to 50 different variables. Peterson said they go deep into shooters’ histories and look at past trauma, their parents, mental illness, their relationships with other people and their social media profiles. (MPR News)
4. There are now four candidates for Congress in Minnesota’s vast 8th Congressional district in northeast Minnesota. Thirty-three-year-old Leah Phifer, a native of Two Harbors and current Isanti resident who stepped down from her job as an intelligence analyst for the FBI in May to explore a run for office, has announced she will challenge incumbent Congressman Rick Nolan for the DFL endorsement. Phifer spent 80 days touring the district in northeast Minnesota this summer, logging 7,000 miles on her motorcycle. She heard a lot of anxiety about health care, she said, and about what she called a lack of transparency in politics. Republican St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber has already launched his campaign, as has Green Party Candidate Skip Sandman. (MPR News)
5. Minnesota lawmakers need to approve $1 million next year for the second phase of a study about adding another Twin Cities-to-Chicago passenger train with stops in Red Wing and Winona. Legislators already are faced with more than $3 billion in requests for construction projects across Minnesota. Red Wing Mayor Sean Dowse said a second train would help boost the city’s economy. “Bottom line, I think it would be helpful to us both economically and as a benefit of living in Red Wing,” he said. The current Amtrak Empire Builder route has a once daily round-trip service from the Twin Cities to Chicago. The Minnesota and Wisconsin transportation agencies did a feasibility of a second route in 2015 that found there was enough demand to warrant a second train. (Rochester Post Bulletin)