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The Daily Digest: Cigarette tax hike halt? MNsure numbers fall short

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In Minnesota

The House tax committee debated a bill that would prevent cigarette taxes from increasing in the future. (MPR News)

MNsure has fallen short of its enrollment target for private plans. The exchange announced Wednesday it signed up about 60,000 Minnesotans for commercial coverage in its second round of open enrollment, 7,000 short of its target. (AP via MPR News)

Gov. Mark Dayton, Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk say they are close to striking a deal that would settle a festering dispute over the governor's recent pay raises for his agency commissioners. (Star Tribune)

Several DFL state senators are making a push to train more Minnesota workers for the needs of businesses outside the Twin Cities. Their $227 million plan focuses on rural broadband, housing, workforce training and career counseling. (MPR News)

Coming off a session in which they raised the minimum wage and provided increased workplace protections for women, Minnesota DFLers launched an effort to secure paid family leave for all workers in the state. (Pioneer Press)

Racial-justice advocates at the Capitol demanded more measures that they say would improve the lives of all Minnesotans, including restored voting rights for former felons. They also want undocumented immigrants to receive driver’s licenses. (MPR News)

National Politics

President Obama called on Americans and more than 60 nations to join the fight against violent extremism, saying they had to counter the ideology of the Islamic State and other groups making increasingly sophisticated appeals to young people around the world. (New York Times)

At the same event, Minnesota's approach to keeping young people from joining terrorist groups got a lot of attention. (MPR News)

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush promised to chart his own course on foreign policy — even as he announced a campaign brain trust associated with the most contentious policies of his brother’s and father’s presidencies. (Washington Post)

The spectacular explosion of an oil train in West Virginia has underscored frustration over delays in implementing more forceful safety regulations for crude-carrying trains, many of which rumble through communities’ downtowns. (Politico)

As gun rights advocates push to legalize firearms on college campuses, an argument is taking shape: Arming female students will help reduce sexual assaults. (New York Times)