Good morning, and happy Friday. Here’s the Digest.
1. Some are dreading tax season. Ask a CPA about preparing Minnesota state tax returns next year and you’ll hear a common refrain. “It’s going to be a mess and confusing,” said Chris Wittich, a CPA with Boyum Barenschee, a Minneapolis accounting firm. “The Department of Revenue certainly has a big job to try and explain to people how is this supposed to work.” Minnesota did not align its tax code with the massive rewrite of U.S. tax law last year. Minnesota lawmakers typically change state tax law to conform with federal policy. But Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed this year’s tax bill. The different state and federal policies leave Minnesota taxpayers and accountants in the dark about how to proceed. The divergence of the tax codes is complicating many matters — including decisions about itemizing deductions and choosing business accounting methods. The state revenue department is still trying to resolve some key matters, but commissioner Cynthia Bauerly promises software, forms and everything else Minnesotans need to get their state taxes done will be ready in time. And she said there won’t be a bigger state tax bite. (MPR News)
2. Supreme Court tosses Minnesota voting attire law. Andy Cilek wore a tea party patriots tee shirt when he went to vote in 2010. An election official told him he could not vote unless he removed the shirt or covered it up, because state law prohibits clothing promoting a candidate or a group with recognizable political views. Cilek, the executive director of the election watchdog group Minnesota Voters Alliance, said his lawsuit was about more than tee shirts and buttons. He said it was about election officials abusing their power. The United States Supreme Court ruled 7-2 Thursday that the Minnesota law is too broad and violates the First Amendment. “The Supreme Court opinion today is a big victory for those of us who believe in the Constitution, the rule of law and holding public officials and public servants accountable,” Celik said. (MPR News)
3. Pawlenty largely ignoring Johnson. Jeff Johnson has tried repeatedly to get Tim Pawlenty to pay attention to him. After Johnson secured the Republican endorsement at this month’s state convention, the Hennepin County commissioner urged Pawlenty to exit the race. Johnson also invited Pawlenty to meet him in regular debates, which he doesn’t expect will happen. “Nor did I expect for him to drop out when I called for him to drop out,” Johnson, 51, said with a knowing chuckle. Pawlenty, 57, also laughed off the suggestion. “We don’t live in Russia. This is a democracy. This is the United States of America,” Pawlenty said in a ridiculing tone. Two months from the Aug. 14 primary, Johnson concedes he’s got ground to make up on Pawlenty. And Pawlenty is providing little indication he will make it easier by engaging his rival. (MPR News)
4. Dayton says he would greet Trump in Duluth. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday that the White House was informed that he would be willing to travel to Duluth to shake hands with President Trump next week. Trump will be in Minnesota on Wednesday for a campaign rally and so far there are no indications of an official component to the trip, such as a policy speech or tour around an administration initiative. “I would be very willing to greet him when he arrives at the tarmac,” Dayton said. “I think that’s very appropriate as governor to greet a president who is arriving in our home state. Whether that’s accepted or not remains to be seen. But I did make that offer.” He said he has yet to hear back from Trump’s team. (MPR News)
5. Draft report says cops ordered that arrested people be sedated. Minneapolis police officers have repeatedly requested over the past three years that Hennepin County medical responders sedate people using the powerful tranquilizer ketamine, at times over the protests of those being drugged, and in some cases when no apparent crime has been committed, a city report shows. On multiple occasions, in the presence of police, Hennepin Healthcare EMS workers injected suspects of crimes who already appeared to be restrained, according to the report, and the ketamine caused heart or breathing failure, requiring them to be medically revived. Several people given ketamine had to be intubated. These are among the findings of an investigation conducted by the Office of Police Conduct Review, a division of the city’s Department of Civil Rights. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said in an email last night that releasing the report before it was finished was “irresponsible,” and called on the Star Tribune to “correct the record.”(Star Tribune)