Dave Orrick / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, a Democratic candidate for Minnesota governor in November, released 10 years of personal federal and state income tax returns Tuesday, Jan. 16. Here is a quick summary: — Walz and his wife, Gwen, who works in education, reported $208,592 income in 2016, for which they paid $32,670 in federal taxes and $11,928 in Minnesota taxes, according to the returns. That's an effective tax rate of 21.4 percent.
ST. PAUL — Former Republican Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will not run for the U.S. Senate in November. Pawlenty, who has been courted by numerous donors and influential Republicans to run for the seat formerly held by Al Franken, made his announcement on the Fox Business Network Tuesday, Jan. 16. "I am very interested in public service and service for the common good," Pawlenty said on air. "There are a lot of different ways to do that, but I'll tell you today that running for the United States Senate in 2018 won't be part of those plans."
ST. PAUL — A pair of Republican state lawmakers have effectively derailed — at least for now — plans for so-called "high-speed" passenger train service between the Twin Cities and Chicago. All they needed to do was object. "It's in effect like a one-person veto," said Sen. Scott Newman, one of the two lawmakers who put the brakes on a vision that has been in the works since the 1990s and has, over the years, received bipartisan support.
ST. PAUL — When will the problems plaguing Minnesota's vehicle registration system be fixed? No one would say Thursday, Jan. 4, amid repeated questioning from frustrated state lawmakers, one of whom suggested that the state's entire IT department be dismantled and those who worked on the system be purged from state employment. State officials said they're working on coming up with an answer.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Republican legislative leaders Friday, Dec. 22, renewed their offer to Democrats to avoid a legal fight stemming from a series of dominoes that will fall once U.S. Sen. Al Franken resigns. Under the plan pitched by Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton would get to have a lieutenant governor from his own party — and the Republicans would get to preserve their slim majority in the Senate.
ST. MARY'S POINT, Minn.—State Sen. Karin Housley, a Republican from Washington County, announced Tuesday that she'll run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Al Franken. Housley, a Realtor who lives in St. Mary's Point, is the first Republican to formally announce a bid for the seat.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, and State Sen. Michelle Fischbach, the Republican who stands poised to be the state's next lieutenant governor, "had a very cordial and enjoyable lunch of Minnesota walleye and hot fudge sundaes," Friday, Dec. 15, according a statement from Dayton. That's not all. "The Senator very graciously brought me a loaf of homemade banana bread, which I expect to devour this weekend," Dayton continued, adding later that they agreed to "a constructive working relationship."
ST. PAUL — That didn't take long. Shortly after Tina Smith was named successor to Al Franken, a legal battle erupted over control of the Minnesota Senate — and the state Supreme Court might have to settle it. Immediately at stake is whether Republicans can maintain their one-vote margin in the Senate. Perhaps a larger issue at stake is the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.
ST. PAUL — Two Minnesota lawmakers — a Republican woman and a Democratic man — have a plan to revamp the way the state House deals with sexual harassment allegations. The plan, announced Monday, Dec. 11, would speed up the process for allegations to be addressed and allow anyone — not just fellow lawmakers — to make a complaint.
ST. PAUL — Al Franken's announced resignation from the U.S. Senate will create a rare vacancy in a crucial link between Minnesotans and the nation's highest tiers of power. Wait, it's not as rare as you might think. In the past 100 years, Minnesota had this same scenario six times, with some of the state's most storied political figures involved. Two of the vacancies occurred when a Minnesotan was elected vice president of the United States. Three were the result of crashes that killed the sitting senator.