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Politics Friday: 5 issues Minnesotans are talking about

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A view of empty Democrat seats during a meeting of the Senate Finance Comm.
A view of empty Democrat seats during a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee to vote on the nominations of cabinet nominees Tom Price and Steve Mnuchin, on Capitol Hill, January 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. Senate Democrats on the committee did not show up for the meeting and are boycotting Mnuchin and Price committee votes.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Political editor Mike Mulcahy and local political reporters on Friday talked through the week's top political stories during a discussion on MPR News. 

Here the top five topics they discussed. Click on the audio bar above to hear more.

 1) President Trump's executive order on immigration and travel might have some legal holes

Jill Hasday, professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, told Mulcahy that the lawsuit filed by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and Washington state raised constitutional issues Trump's order. That and other legal challenges to the order are likely to end up before the Supreme Court. 

 2) Don't expect the Senate to be bipartisan and friendly anytime soon

Long-time political science professor Steven Smith said the U.S. Senate is more divided than it's been in 150 years. "Partisan feelings are running very, very high," said Smith. For instance, three times this week Republicans suspended committee rules to advance cabinet nominations.

 3) An Affordable Care Act replacement might be stalled

Smith went on to say that the fight over nominees will make replacing Obamacare a difficult task for Republicans. They can repeal it without Democratic support, but to replace it they need 60 votes to break a filibuster in the Senate. There are 52 Republicans. 

"We're a long way from seeing how the Republicans will construct a replacement," said Smith.

 4) Minnesota Republicans are looking to save some money

All three local political reporters were in agreement that House and Senate Republicans want to reduce spending in Gov. Mark Dayton's proposed budget and cut taxes more than the $300 million Dayton has recommended. 

The governor's plan totals $45.8 billion and includes some spending increases required by current law.

 5) Sunday liquor sales will make an another appearance at the Legislature. 

The seemingly never-ending battle over Sunday liquor sales has been revived for the session. Keep an eye out next week, it may make its way to the floor of the House.

 Guests

Jill Hasday, distinguished McKnight University Professor and Centennial Professor in Law University of Minnesota Law School.

Steven Smith, political science professor and director of the Weidenbaum Center at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. 

Brian Bakst, covers politics and state government for MPR News.

Briana Bierschbach, covers the Minnesota Legislature for MinnPost.

Tim Pugmire, covers politics and state government for MPR News.