Daily Digest: Why no Amazon? Why no details?

Good morning, and happy Friday. Will the federal government partially shut down at midnight? Seems like the odds are pretty good. Here’s the Digest:

1. Minnesota did not make Amazon’s top 20 for its second headquarters. Unlike some other regions that offered billions of dollars in incentives, it offered existing state incentive programs totaling $3 million to $5 million and the suggestion that additional help could come from the Legislature. But most details of Minnesota’s bid, including potential sites for the project and local financial incentives, were never made public. And state officials say there still are no plans right now to release the bid, which was actually prepared by a non-profit called Greater MSP. (MPR News)

2. Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras is on the verge of being confirmed to a federal appeals court post after winning committee backing Thursday. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s endorsement makes it likely he’ll win confirmation from the full Senate to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. The committee’s 13-8 vote for Stras included the support of Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. “I want to make clear he would not be my first choice for this job,” she said in remarks ahead of the vote. “There were others that I had worked with over the years and knew that I would have suggested for this job. But morally when I look at this and have to answer the question is he qualified, could he serve on the 8th Circuit? I have to say yes.” (MPR News)

3. Lindsey Port, who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment that led to the resignation of a DFL state senator says she has seen a backlash. Port was not one of Al Franken’s accusers, but she was the woman most closely associated with the #MeToo movement in Minnesota. After Franken resigned, Port noticed the tone toward her changed on social media and at DFL events. People started suggesting Franken’s accusers were paid to take him down, and before long, Port said she was being accused of being paid as well. Some people even argued her own story “softened the ground” for Franken’s eventual ouster, she said. Within weeks, several prominent DFL donors who had pledged to support her second campaign for a seat in the state House withdrew those pledges, which were for a total of $6,000. They also withdrew support from Port’s nonprofit, Blueprint Campaigns, which supports Democratic candidates for the state House. (MinnPost)

4. State Rep. Nick Zerwas may need open heart surgery. Doctors are working out a new course of treatment for Zerwas, R-Elk River, after an orthoscopic procedure Wednesday revealed that routine surgery meant to correct a flaw in his heart would not work. Zerwas, 37, an influential member of the House Public Safety committee, was born with a serious heart defect that has required multiple surgeries since childhood. Twenty-one years ago, Zerwas had what he as described as “a Gor-Tex tube” placed in the right side of his heart to promote blood flow. In brief phone interview Thursday, Zerwas said a recent annual checkup revealed the conduit was collapsing and possibly pulling away from his heart. Were it to fail, blood flow could be impeded and cause a stroke. (Minnesota Lawyer)

5. The chair of the Minnesota Republican Party will get a cut of large donations to the party. The Minnesota GOP’s Executive Committee voted Thursday night to grant party chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan’s request for a personal commission on large donations to the party. In December, Carnahan outlined a proposal that she receive 10 percent of major donations, retroactive to the final quarter of 2017. Her payout for the final three months of 2017 would be more than $24,000. Her current base salary is $67,000. Carnahan’s predecessor, Keith Downey, also received a commission, but it was lower than what she requested. (Star Tribune)

6. Lots of drama at the Minnesota Capitol this weekend. Starting Friday night, Wonderlust Productions is staging a new play in the recently refurbished Capitol building. It’s called “Our House” and was created from conversations with the people who work behind the scenes to keep the state democracy running smoothly. The story follows the arrival of a new Capitol employee and what she learns in the process. There’s a case of mistaken identities. A document goes missing. There’s even a play within the play. The cast is a mix of professional actors and people who have worked in the Capitol. (MPR News)

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