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Daily Digest: Chaotic opening to Kavanaugh hearings

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The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings will continue on MPR News stations today, starting at 9 a.m. Day One set a high bar for dramatics.

1. No one said this would be easy. Quarreling and confusion marked the Senate hearing Tuesday for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, with politically charged arguments about White House documents and process getting as much attention as the role the conservative judge would likely play in shaping rulings on abortion, executive power and other national issues. (AP via Star Tribune)

2. Better hang on to those receipts, after all. The Minnesota Department of Revenue is granting some flexibility for 2018 income tax filers when it comes to the deductions they opt for on state and federal forms. In a newly published notice, the tax department said it won't require people to match up deductions for 2018. That means they can claim the standard deduction on a federal form but still itemize for their state taxes. (MPR News)

3. Police reform comes into focus. It was around this time last year when then-candidates Jacob Frey and Melvin Carter ran campaigns for mayor with this big focus: police reform. Officers should have more time to be out and about in neighborhoods, they said, to build the community’s trust after controversy after controversy involving officers last year. But at the time, the candidates for mayor of Minneapolis and St. Paul didn’t explain specific plans for police to do so. Flash forward past the November 2017 election, two swearing-in ceremonies and roughly eight months in office, and details on how exactly Frey and Carter want to change their cities’ police departments are now available, via their 2019 budget proposals. (MinnPost)

4. Doctors looking to make House (and Senate) calls. At least nine Democratic physicians running in races across the country as first-time candidates for Congress. They present a stark contrast to Congress’ current physician makeup. Twelve of the 14 doctors now in Congress are Republicans. Three are senators. Half of the 14 practice in high-paying specialties such as orthopedic surgery, urology and anesthesiology. By contrast, these stumping Democratic physicians hail predominantly from specialties such as emergency medicine, pediatrics and internal medicine, though one is a radiologist. (via Rochester Post Bulletin)

5. A primary reason for Dems to be optimistic about midterms? As both parties begin their final post-Labor Day sprint to Election Day, there are concrete signs that Democratic voters are fired up heading into the midterm elections. Nowhere is that more evident than in the majority of states that have already held primaries. There's been massive increases in Democratic turnout while often a minimal uptick — or even noticeable dip — in turnout among Republican voters. Republican pollster John Couvillon has been studying primary turnout for several election cycles. His research this year found that there are many indicators that predict this could be an election for Democrats on par with 2006 — the last time they won the House. (NPR via MPR News)