Daily Digest: Monday roundup

Good morning, and happy Monday. It's the start of a new work week and time to check the Digest.

1. The Minnesota House and Senate are supposed to provide some details to the state supreme court today about how much money they have in reserve and how long it will last. On Friday a lawyer for the Legislature and another one for Gov. Mark Dayton filed memos with the court about how much power they believe the judicial branch has to order spending if the dispute over Dayton's line-item veto continues. The court has already ordered the two sides to mediate their differences. (MPR News)

2. With time running short the federal government has still not approved Minnesota's plan to cut health insurance rates on the individual market by using a method called reinsurance. The Legislature approved the plan earlier this year. It would provide a state backup when insurers are faced with the biggest claims. The idea is without that cost pressure the plans can make insurance more affordable to others who don't get coverage through their employers or public programs. But if the federal government doesn’t approve the plan or waits too long, about 160,000 Minnesotans could pay thousands more per year for their coverage. (Pioneer Press)

3. Does state Rep. Matt Dean have an early lead among the Republican candidates for governor? The Star Tribune says so. This is from a profile in Sunday's paper: Beneath the droll facade, Dean is a fiercely competitive and conservative politician with ambitious, far-reaching policy goals should he become governor: a significantly smaller government footprint and, more specifically, a shrinking of the state's public health care programs. (Star Tribune)

4. Although the Republican-controlled 2017 Minnesota Legislature passed a transportation funding bill without raising taxes, Democrats running for governor say it's not enough. The gas tax was last increased in 2006, when the legislature voted to override a veto by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The Democratic candidates say it's time for another boost or the state's roads and bridges will continue to crumble. So far, no Republican candidates have come out in favor of a gas tax increase. (KSTP TV)

5. Matt Pelikan, a Democratic attorney, is joining the ranks hoping to replace Attorney General Lori Swanson. “This is a time of unprecedented challenges for Minnesota and for the progressive values that I cherish,” Pelikan, who will formally announce his campaign in the coming days, said in an interview. “I believe we need a strong progressive attorney general now more than ever.” Swanson, a three-term Democratic incumbent, is weighing whether to run again or join the governor’s race. Two Democrats, Rep. Debra Hilstrom and former Rep. Ryan Winkler, and two Republicans, activist Harry Niska and former Rep. Doug Wardlow, are already running for attorney general. Democratic Rep. John Lesch dropped out on Friday. (Pioneer Press)

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