Sam's Top 5 Things to Know for Wednesday

1. Governor Dayton striked funding for the Legislature in order to draw Republicans back to table to rework several budget bills

Star Tribune: Yesterday Gov. Mark Dayton signed all the Republican-crafted budget bills that will make up Minnesota’s next two-year, $46 billion state budget. Dayton is also letting a package of $650 million in tax cuts become law, but registered disapproval by withholding his signature from the bill.

But, in a sign that Dayton does not yet consider budget work finished for the year, he used his power of line-item veto to strike out funding for the state House and Senate. In a letter explaining the decision, Dayton wrote that he did so in order to bring legislative leaders “back to the table to negotiate provisions” in the tax bill and two budget bills, public schools and public safety.

Dayton accused Republicans of a “sneak attack,” particularly for their decision to shift funding for the Department of Revenue into the tax bill. He said he would have vetoed the tax bill if not for that provision.

2. Al Franken will seek third term in 2020

Pioneer press: If anyone doubted Al Franken loves his job and wants to keep it for a long time, Minnesota’s junior U.S. senator announced in a Pioneer Press interview last week that he plans to seek a third term in 2020.

He also makes his intentions perfectly clear in his new memoir, titled, “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate.”

While he lampoons President Donald Trump, congressional Republicans and the rest of the Washington establishment, he writes that being a senator is the greatest — if not most fun — job he’s ever had. And he figuratively gives lots of big, sloppy kisses to the Minnesota folks back home.

He concludes his serious-but-hilarious work by stressing the importance of remembering whom he’s serving and “how (expletive) great they are.”

3. Appeals Court upholds law allowing Minnesota counties to hire private audits

The Associated Press: Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto says she’ll appeal her case over a state law allowing counties to hire private firms for financial audits to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Minnesota’s Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the controversial 2015 law in a 2-1 ruling. It’s the second such decision, following a district court’s ruling last year that the change was constitutional.

Republicans behind the change argued counties can get cheaper audits through private firms. But Otto says it’s an unconstitutional breech of her duties.

Otto said Tuesday she plans to take the case to the state’s highest court. She has spent more than $250,000 fighting the law so far.

Republican Rep. Sarah Anderson said an appeal to the Supreme Court “would serve no purpose other than to waste taxpayer dollars.”

4. Kathy Griffin apologizes for severed Donald Trump head photo after backlash

The Washington Post: Comedian Kathy Griffin said she was “not afraid to do images that make noise.” But the picture of her holding a prop of President Donald Trump’s severed head would lead to an apology after criticism came from the president’s son, a Clinton, and many more.

In a video posted on Twitter and Instagram, Griffin said that she crossed the line and that the image was too disturbing. She also tweeted: I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong.

The photo was shot by photographer Tyler Shields. Griffin said she has asked him to take down the images. Criticism came from both conservatives and liberal figures, including Donald Trump Jr., who called the picture “disgusting but not surprising.”

But even people who do not usually defend Trump expressed repulsion at the image. Chelsea Clinton tweeted: This is vile and wrong. It is never funny to joke about killing a president.

Al Franken is scheduled to appear with Griffin on July 7 in Beverly Hills. The event is billed as "Senator Al Franken in Conversation with Kathy Griffin" and is a promotion for his new book, "Giant of the Senate."

When KARE 11 asked Franken's office for a response, they provided this statement:

Sen. Franken thinks Kathy Griffin is a talented comedian and respects her right to free speech, but believes this image was inappropriate and not the kind of thing that should be part of our national discourse.

Franken has not yet said if he will keep his appearance with Griffin.

5. Chipotle lists St. Paul-area locations exposed in payment card security breach

Pioneer Press: Dozens of Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota and Wisconsin were hit in a payment card security breach in late March and early April.

Chipotle Mexican Grill last week provided details on what stores were hit and on what days. An investigation of the security incident, first reported April 25, found that malware installed on the company’s system accessed payment card data from point-of-sale devices at a variety of Chipotle restaurants from March 24 to April 18. More than 80 Minnesota and Wisconsin restaurants were on the list.

The malware searched for track data coming from the magnet stripe of payment cards. That information can include the name of the cardholder, the card number, expiration date and the verification code.

“There is no indication that other customer information was affected,” Chipotle said in a statement.

Not all locations were hit, but many in Minnesota were. The company is providing specific details online of what Chipotle restaurants had security breaches and on what days. In St. Paul, for example, payment information was vulnerable at three locations.

The Denver-based company urged customers who paid with a credit or debit card at an affected location during the time listed to review their payment card statements closely and to report any unauthorized activity by calling the number on the back of the card.

Chipotle said it has removed the malware and is working with cyber security firms to enhance its security. It also notified payment card networks of the breach.


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