Good morning, and happy Wednesday. Here’s the Digest.
1. Johnson wants to hang with Trump. Jeff Johnson, the endorsed Republican candidate for Minnesota governor, said Tuesday he’ll head to Duluth next week to be on hand for President Donald Trump’s visit. The Hennepin County commissioner said he doesn’t yet know if he’ll have a formal role in the presidential campaign rally. Trump is coming to promote congressional candidate Pete Stauber in the 8th District. But Johnson said he hopes Trump takes a stand in the governor’s race, too, as the president has in some other states with contested GOP primaries. “I would very much welcome Donald Trump’s support, and I think that it would raise the visibility of this race a lot in the state to people who are maybe not paying much attention,” Johnson said in an interview. Johnson is competing with former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty in an August primary for the party nomination. Pawlenty hasn’t committed to attending the Trump rally. (MPR News)
2. MNLARS is running out of money for fixes. A new report shows that two state agencies will soon run out of money to make repairs to the troubled Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS). Minnesota IT Services and the Department of Public Safety updated state legislators this week in a required quarterly progress report on ongoing efforts to fix MNLARS gaps and defects. Agency officials noted some improvements since their initial report was delivered in late April. But they also highlighted the looming financial problem. Another ramp-down of the repair work is coming, Minnesota IT Service Commissioner Johanna Clyborne said in an interview. She’s just not sure when. (MPR News)
3. Groups ask court to block funding cuts. A plan to cut state funding for nonprofit service providers threatens to disrupt the lives of thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities who depend on state services to live and work in the community, according to a class action lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday. Two organizations that represent hundreds of nonprofit disability service providers are seeking an emergency court order to prevent a 7 percent cut to the rates paid through the state’s Medicaid “waiver” program, which helps people with disabilities pay for transportation, personal caregiving and other support services that help them live more independently. The cuts were scheduled to go into effect on July 1. (Star Tribune)
4. Owners of St. Paul bowling alley squeezed out by soccer stadium want relocation money. The former owners of the Midway Pro Bowl are asking a state agency to force the city of St. Paul to pay their relocation expenses. The bowling alley, which was pushed out of a Snelling-University Avenue strip mall last year to make room for Allianz Field, has hired an attorney and filed a claim for relocation benefits with the state Office of Administrative Hearings, which is scheduling proceedings. In response, City Attorney Lyndsey Olson called the lease buyout a private matter between the bowling alley owners and their former landlord, RK Midway, which should not involve St. Paul coffers. “The city denies any liability to Midway Pro Bowl,” said Olson, in an email. (Pioneer Press)
5. Vandals strike pipeline work site. Trespassers broke into a secure worksite for the Line 3 replace project near the Wisconsin and Minnesota border. The incident was reported to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday morning, after crews arrived at the location. Crews observed anti-Enbridge graffiti, and damaged electrical lines and hoses on the equipment. Cement had been poured into the gas tanks of the equipment, as well. Crews were working Tuesday to clean up hydraulic fluid and motor oil that leaked from the equipment onto the ground due to the incident, according to Enbridge spokeswoman Jennifer Smith. The almost 13-mile segment of the Line 3 replacement project in Wisconsin is now in service. “Equipment at this worksite is related to cleaning of original Line 3 as part of the deactivation process,” Smith said in a statement. (Duluth News Tribune)