Dave Orrick / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Capitol was a tapestry speckled with blaze orange Thursday, Feb. 22. It wasn't deer hunting season. It was a major gun control rally. Blaze orange, aka hunter orange (and briefly aka tangerine tango), has traditionally been the fashion dominion of gun-toting hunters or construction workers. The color is legally required during some fall hunting seasons in Minnesota, Wisconsin and scores of other states as a safety measure — so hunters can see each other and not shoot each other.
ST. PAUL — State Rep. Erin Maye Quade left Wednesday's sexual harassment training for the Minnesota House of Representatives in tears. The Apple Valley lawmaker — a central figure in the #MeToo movement's presence in the Minnesota Capitol — needed a few minutes to compose herself before speaking with a reporter.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota House members had better attend an upcoming all-day sexual harassment and bias training session — or they'll lose one of their most basic powers of influence: seats on committees. That edict has come down from House Speaker Kurt Daudt, a Republican from Crown who has said the House will have "zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior" in the wake of the national #MeToo movement that cost two male lawmakers their seats.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota's computer system that handles vehicle registrations and titles is a mess. To fix it, state information technology officials say they need $43 million — and some of it right away. The system, known as MNLARS, has already cost $93 million and was supposed to work. Many lawmakers are angered by it all, and some have vowed that heads must roll before they approve any more money.
ST. PAUL — Lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton will most likely take out a massive taxpayer-backed loan this year to fund a pile of construction projects. The only questions are how much should the loan be and which projects should be funded? Spoiler alert: Democrats say it should be bigger than what Republicans say. Support from both parties is needed to pass a construction spending plan. Both sides agree that money must be spent on infrastructure, ranging from crumbling state buildings to new water-treatment plants.
ST. PAUL — It was all happy happy, joy joy last week when legislative leaders from both parties and Gov. Mark Dayton posed for selfies and met the media for a pre-session briefing. They can profess chumminess all they want, but the reality is there are serious disagreements not just on policies, but on the basic confines of Minnesota's balance of power and its constitution. It could surface the instant the Senate convenes at noon Tuesday, Feb. 20.
ST. PAUL — It will cost $43 million in additional funding to fix Minnesota's flailing vehicle title computer system and make it work the way everyone wants. That price tag will fix all the glitches and tackle all the backlogs by July. And make needed enhancements by the fall of 2019. Oh, and a chunk of that money is needed by March 1. It's unclear how much. That was the sobering message delivered Wednesday, Jan. 31, by top officials with the state departments of Information Technology and Public Safety.
MINNEAPOLIS — "Bold North." If you haven't heard it yet, you will. A lot this week. From billboards to merchandise to the utterances of the international media that has descended on the Twin Cities, "Bold North," the tagline of Super Bowl LII, will be everywhere. The Bold North slogan has made its way onto coffee bags. (Courtesy of Caribou Coffee) And, yeah, that's us: Minnesota. We're the Bold North.
ST PAUL—A senior special agent for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was accused of using a woman's immigration status as leverage to have sex with her, and a female Stillwater prison guard was subject to constant images of porn and sexually explicit comments by her supervisors, according to court filings in a case whose settlement was disclosed Friday, Jan. 26.
ST PAUL—Pledging to ensure a safe workplace for more than 33,000 state employees, Minnesota's top human resources official on Friday, Jan. 26, recommended the formation of a central office to ensure all sexual harassment complaints are fully investigated. That's the first of many recommendations made by a panel of commissioners and other senior state officials ordered by Gov. Mark Dayton to review state sexual harassment policies and how they're working.