ST. PAUL — The ongoing federal government shutdown is costing Minnesota and how much longer the state can bear the expense is coming into question, state officials said Tuesday, Jan. 15. As the state entered the 25th day of the partial federal government shutdown, budget directors said the state had doled out nearly $100 million to cover the costs of key federal programs but still didn't know if it could expect repayment from the feds.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota lawmakers want drivers to put the phones down. And under the legislation they brought forward this week, drivers could face penalties if they don't. A bipartisan group of legislators on Monday, Jan. 14, brought forth two proposals aimed at curbing the use of electronic devices behind the wheel. The first would bar holding a cellphone while behind the wheel and the second would bump up the penalties for causing a crash spurred by texting and driving.
ST. PAUL -- It was a week of change in the Capitol. On Monday, Jan. 7, Democrat Tim Walz was sworn into office, becoming the state's 41st governor. A day later, a new and historically diverse group of lawmakers took their oaths of office, flipping the power structure in the Legislature and setting up the country's only split statehouse. Legislative leaders shared their first priorities, agreeing on some of the state's top problems but diverging on how best to solve them. And they struck a friendly tone despite dust-ups on the first day.
ST. PAUL -- A group backing the construction of the Enbridge Energy Line 3 oil pipeline on Thursday, Jan. 10, urged Gov. Tim Walz to reconsider the state's position on allowing pipe replacement to move forward.
ST. PAUL -- In his first official act as governor, Tim Walz on Wednesday, Jan. 9, signed an executive order setting up a government council aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion in state hiring and other decision-making. The DFL governor said the new body comprised of commissioners and members of the public is aimed at reducing disparities and inequities based on gender, race, geography and economic status. And it stems from a similar council established by former Gov. Mark Dayton.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota lawmakers will return to St. Paul on Tuesday for the 2019 legislative session and they’ll face a hefty to-do list when they get there. Their decisions could drive down the cost of health care, improve education outcomes, reduce gun violence and fix roads and bridges. Or lawmakers in the nation’s only divided legislature could dig in and opt not to compromise, leaving many of those possibilities out of reach.
HASTINGS, Minn. — Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz on Thursday, Jan. 3, announced the appointments of seven new commissioners, including his picks to lead the Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources, with a family dairy farm as his backdrop. The choices to lead the departments of health, human services, agriculture, natural resources and others signal a push for bringing gender and ethnic diversity to the posts as well as a mix of experience in the public and private sectors.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Attorney General's Office on Wednesday, Jan 2, brought charges against a man alleged to have defrauded the state medical assistance program out of more than $260,000. In a statement, Attorney General Lori Swanson said Abdi Ali Gure, of Bloomington, submitted false claims for care he hadn't received or from a provider not approved by the state.
ST. PAUL -- A doctor, a first-grade teacher, a farmer, an electrical engineer and a small business owner walk into the Minnesota Capitol. It's not the set-up for a joke, but it will be pretty commonplace come January when a new group of lawmakers makes its way to St. Paul for the 2019 legislative session. The incoming group of lawmakers brings a hodgepodge of professional experience that could influence how they write bills and make decisions about what becomes law.
ST. PAUL -- An outside investigation into a Minnesota lawmaker alleged to have engaged in unwanted advances and touching with a woman he met at the Capitol provided few new details and cost the state more than $38,000. A memorandum sent by Minnesota House Research Department to outgoing House Speaker Kurt Daudt on Friday, Dec. 18, lays out a timeline for the House's first implementation of new sexual harassment investigation protocols. It also issues recommendations for navigating the new policies in the future.