Rachel E. Stassen-Berger / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Minnesota has adopted the federal Real ID standards for driver's licenses after years of debate.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Republicans want to fundamentally redesign the state's laws governing how candidates raise and spend campaign money. For the past 40 years, Minnesota candidates could get a partial subsidy for their campaigning from the state. And for most of the last 25 years, donors who give candidates small amounts of money — $50 per person — could get a refund for their contributions. The laws were designed to keep candidacy accessible to all and allow Minnesotans of limited means to connect with candidates.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota legislators say they are worried this year about making sure local governments records are public under the law. They've expressed outrage over slow and redacted information from state agencies. Some have even sought Gov. Mark Dayton's emails to find out more about state business. But what of legislators' own emails and correspondence? The public has no legal permission to see them.
ST. PAUL—Democratic state Rep. Tina Liebling has been known around the Minnesota Capitol as a policy wonk since she arrived in the House in 2005. Liebling, an attorney with a master's degree in public health, represents the Mayo Clinic-focused Rochester district, has served on health committees, chaired a health committee and spoken out on health care issues for more than a decade. She digs into details of legislation. Now, she wants to take the policies for which she has long been known to a statewide stage. On Sunday, she announced that she would run for governor.
ST. PAUL — Democratic House Rep. Paul Thissen told the Pioneer Press that he is seriously considering running for governor and expects to make a decision in the next two months. "I'm seriously thinking about it," Thissen said. "I really want to try to do it in a way that doesn't follow a traditional way your run a campaign, because I think how you run your campaign does lead to how you govern."
ST. PAUL — Senate leaders think they've struck a deal to revive a defeated measure to bring Minnesota into compliance with federal Real ID standards. Three weeks ago, the Republican-controlled Senate rejected a bill to make the state's driver's licenses compatible with federal requirements that will go into effect next year. All the Senate's Democrats and five of the Senate's Republicans voted against the measure. The final vote was 29-38.
ST. PAUL — For local Democrats, there's always money in the mini-doughnut stand. Over the last 50 years, or so, a group of Democrats from Ramsey County has organized volunteers to run a doughnut booth at the Minnesota State Fair. The group, which has been registered as the "10th Ward & Rural Ramsey County (fka DFL Donut Booth)" since 1977, then contributes the profits to local Democratic-Farmer-Labor groups.
ST. PAUL—The debate over transportation funding — and the hard divide on solutions — is back at the Minnesota Capitol. On Tuesday, the Minnesota House released its plan to fund the state's roads and bridges. Like the plan the Senate released earlier this week, the proposal redirects current spending to roads. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, as he has before, is proposing increasing the gas tax to pay for transportation needs.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, long thought to be positioning herself to take over when Gov. Mark Dayton leaves office, said she has decided to pass on a gubernatorial bid. "After careful consideration, and many conversations with family and friends, I have decided not to run for Governor in 2018," the Democrat said in a statement on Friday, March 17.
ST. PAUL—Lobbying interests spent nearly $67 million last year trying to sway Minnesota officials, according to reports released Thursday.. Lobbyists have been on the rise over the past decade, according to state reports. State and local hearings are rife with those seeking to make their clients' voices heard.