Good morning, and happy Thursday. I hope your summer is going well so far. Here’s the Digest.
1. The ‘Tonight Show’s’ Super Bowl visit cost state taxpayers $267,000. Jimmy Fallon embraced his surroundings when he brought his “Tonight Show” to Minneapolis last year: he ate hotdish cooked by a suburban family, impersonated native-son music icon Bob Dylan and waved mittens at his exuberant audience while flattering them. “Well, it’s official. You heard it here first. We are moving the show to Minneapolis,” Fallon joked in his opening monologue. “That’s right, hold on to your tater tots.” It was a publicity score for the state the night the Super Bowl was played a few blocks away. But the local attention wasn’t free. “The Tonight Show” told the state it spent more than $3 million to take the show on the road, including Fallon’s six-figure paycheck for the episode. But records indicate it also got nearly $267,000 back through a Minnesota government rebate program amid questions over its eligibility. Melodie Bahan is executive director of the Minnesota Film and TV Board, a nonprofit entity that needs state signoff to issue rebate checks. She said the show was among the largest budget projects in her couple of years at the helm. “Anytime that a show comes here that’s going to hire more than a 100 people — local people — and pay them really good wages, that’s a victory,” Bahan said. (MPR News)
2. Group will push for legal marijuana in Minnesota. A recently formed political committee will try to make the economic case for legalizing recreational marijuana in Minnesota. Cannabis for Economic Growth was registered with the state Campaign Finance Board in April. Corey Day, who until January was the executive director of the state Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, registered the PAC after forming a consulting business called Blue Ox Strategies. Day is listed as the chair of the committee while Minneapolis attorney Lawrence Wright is the treasurer. “Our goal is to talk about the economy of it all,” Day said. “Taxation, revenue, entrepreneurship, how this new economy is going to help the state.” The focus of their efforts will be not be on lobbying legislators at the Capitol, however; it will be on persuading voters. Day said he envisions commissioning polling to see how voters in different parts of the state view the issue and then use digital ads, television and mail to promote the issue. For supporters, the reasons to legalize recreational use of marijuana are many: Prohibition has only fueled an black market, and legalization would allow it to be regulated like alcohol; it would halt the consequences of criminalization that have fallen much heavier on low-income people and communities of color — especially young black men; finally, it could boost economies and raise revenue for state and local governments. Cannabis for Economic Growth will focus its efforts around that last point, says Day. In 2018, Washington state collected $361 million in tax revenue from $1.35 billion in sales. The same year, liquor taxes raised $370 million and tobacco taxes raised $415 million. (MinnPost)
3. Omar among freshman lawmakers at odds with Pelosi. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admonished Democrats for personally attacking one another, warning in a closed-door meeting Wednesday that the party’s fracturing was jeopardizing its majority. Without naming names, her target was clear: the four liberal freshmen known as “the Squad.” “You got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it. But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just okay,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) told Democrats. But “the Squad” — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) — is convinced it is Pelosi who is being the bully. The four are struggling with the speaker’s moves to isolate them in recent weeks, according to interviews with the lawmakers, congressional aides and allies. Pelosi has made at least half a dozen remarks dismissing the group or their far-left proposals on the environment and health care. More recently she scorned their lonely opposition to the party’s emergency border bill last month. And she defended those comments Wednesday, saying, “I have no regrets about anything. Regrets is not what I do,” doubling down on her claim that the group has little power in the House. (Washington Post)
4. No right to lawyer if police have a warrant to check your blood. The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled 4-3 Wednesday that a suspected impaired driver does not have a right to an attorney before submitting to a blood test if police have a search warrant. The decision comes in the case of a woman arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in 2017 in Dakota County. A deputy got a warrant for a blood sample, but she tried to get those results tossed from the case because she wasn’t given the chance to talk with a lawyer. “This is the one warrant where the law says if somebody says ‘no,’ the cops absolutely have to respect that ‘no.’ It’s a big legal gray area, where if anybody needed the advice of an attorney it would be somebody who had the right to say no to a warrant, said Dan Koewler, who has been watching the case for the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “After this decision, they no longer have the right to make that phone call.” Koewler says an attorney might advise a client to also get an independent test or explore alternatives. Prior case law found that a driver has a limited right to consult with an attorney before submitting to a blood test, but the Supreme Court says this case is different because police had a warrant, and a warrant protects rights of the accused. Bill Lemons of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association says prosecutors have been awaiting guidance offered by the decision because it could affect thousands of cases where drug or alcohol impairment is suspected. (MPR News)
5. Flanagan to lead trip to Germany. Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, on her first official trip abroad, will take part in a German energy seminar next week that includes tours of renewable energy projects and meetings with German politicians, according to details released by the governor’s office Wednesday. Flanagan, a former DFL state legislator, announced late last month her plans to lead a delegation of state lawmakers and business leaders on an overseas trip focused on sustainability in the agricultural and energy sectors. The trip will be centered around the Berlin Seminar on Energy Policy, an annual gathering hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. “This seminar is an opportunity to learn about how our state can further its commitment to combating the real threat of climate change while creating a prosperous clean energy economy,” Flanagan said in a statement. The itinerary includes travel to communities and projects that “demonstrate the benefits of connecting renewable energy generation with other sectors.” Members of the delegation will also visit a research hub focused on innovations in public transportation and meet with German politicians and officials from Germany’s Economic Affairs, Environment and Agriculture ministries. (Star Tribune)