Sam's top 5 things to know for a Tuesday

posted by Justice & Drew -

1.  Trump is looking to refocus his presidency in a prime-time address to Congress this evening

Trump's advisers say he will use his prime-time speech to declare early progress on his campaign promises, including withdrawing the U.S. from a sweeping Pacific Rim trade pact, and to map a path ahead on thorny legislative priorities, including health care and infrastructure spending.

Republicans, impatient to begin making headway on an ambitious legislative agenda, hope Trump arrives on Capitol Hill armed with specifics on replacing the "Obamacare" health law and overhauling the nation's tax system, two issues he's so far talked about in mostly general terms. More broadly, some Republicans are anxious for the president to set aside his feuds with the media, the intelligence community and the courts, which have overshadowed the party's policy priorities.

2. President Donald Trump declared yesterday that "Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated."

Yet the opposite has long been painfully obvious for top congressional Republicans, who face mounting pressure to scrap the law even as problems grow longer and knottier.

With the GOP-controlled Congress starting its third month of work on one of its biggest priorities, unresolved difficulties include how their substitute would handle Medicaid, whether millions of voters might lose coverage, how their proposed tax credits would work and how to pay for the costly exercise.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office made things complicated recently by giving House Republicans an informal analysis that their emerging plan would be more expensive than they hoped and cover fewer people than former President Barack Obama's statute. The analysis was described by lobbyists speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations with congressional aides.

3. The University of Minnesota is dropping the king and queen from its Homecoming festivities in the name of gender inclusivity.

Instead, the U will name two Homecoming “royals” this fall, no matter their gender identity.

“We wish to promote a spirit of inclusion at the University of Minnesota. This change allows the University to select the best student representatives for the U of M based on campus and community involvement — regardless of gender,” the Student Activities Office said in an announcement asking for royalty applications.

As in past years, the U will name 10 students to Homecoming court, only this year the mix won’t necessarily be five men and five women. Those 10 will be paired at random to compete in pre-Homecoming events, and their performance, along with a university-wide vote, will determine the two royals.

4. Former Macy's in downtown St. Paul is going to be renamed the Treasure Island Center

Treasure Island Resort and Casino announced that it had signed a multiyear agreement for naming and sponsorship rights for the former Macy's under redevelopment in downtown St. Paul. The building, which will now be called Treasure Island Center, will include a practice ice rink for the Minnesota Wild, an orthopedic clinic, a brewpub and other retail and office space.

Shelley Buck, president of the Prairie Island Indian Community Tribal Council, which runs Treasure Island, said in a statement, "The Treasure Island Center is an exciting opportunity to be actively engaged in the revitalization of downtown St. Paul. St. Paul has always been an important market for Treasure Island Resort and Casino, and it is even more significant to us as a Dakota Tribe because it is within our historic territory."

Treasure Island plans to have some administrative offices there for sales and marketing staff, said casino spokeswoman Cindy Taube. The Caribbean-themed Treasure Island casino is located 40 miles south of the Twin Cities near Red Wing.

"Having Treasure Island put its name on this incredible hub is a testament to the investment happening in downtown St. Paul," said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. "I look forward to seeing more vibrancy and energy in this area as Treasure Island Center becomes a destination for residents and visitors alike."

5. After passing in the Senate, Minnesota's Sunday liquor ban is one step closer to heading to the governor’s desk.

The state Senate voted 38-28 yesterday to let Minnesota liquor stores open on Sundays, giving opponents of a Sunday sales ban the victory they need to finally undo a 159-year-old, increasingly unpopular state law.

Senator Jeremy Miller from Winona said, "We've been hearing loud and clear from our constituents that it's time to get this done. Today we have an opportunity to show Minnesota we're with the people."

Differences between the Senate measure and a companion bill the House passed last week mean a few more steps in the legislative process before supporters can celebrate with the cocktail of their choice. But the Senate was seen as the steepest climb for the ban's opponents, and Gov. Mark Dayton's promise to let the repeal become law means liquor stores in the state are likely to be able to start featuring Sunday hours come July.

 

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