Christopher Magan / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL—Minnesota has a new online tool to help outdoor enthusiasts plan trips to state and regional parks and trails. The Minnesota Great Outdoors website, launched Tuesday, allows park-goers to search a state map of parks and trails and compare amenities. "Previously, you would have to know which office or region managed the park or trail you were looking for. Now, you have a clear, easy-to-navigate launchpad to find all of the information you need to plan your trip," said Commissioner Tom Landwehr, of the state Department of Natural Resources, in a statement.
ST. PAUL — What good are state political conventions, anyway? The Minnesota Democratic and Republican parties invested a lot of time and resources last weekend to pick preferred candidates for the fall election. Party activists were pumped up as they rallied and cheered for their favorite politicians for U.S. Senate, Congress, governor and state constitutional offices.
ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton decided to save one of the most bipartisan bills for last. "That's the last bill I'll sign as governor of Minnesota. And a great one to end on," the Democrat said after signing a bill to stabilize pension funds that provide benefits to 511,000 current and retired state workers. Dayton held a signing ceremony in the Capitol rotunda Thursday, May 31, which he noted was "packed to the rafters" with cheering government workers. The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously during the legislative session that concluded May 21.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota lawmakers are trading in their legislating loafers for door-knocking sneakers as they prepare to hit the campaign trail. Their first stop will be at party conventions the first weekend in June, where they will anoint preferred candidates for governor, two U.S. Senate seats, eight congressional districts and constitutional offices like secretary of state and attorney general. Republicans are gathering in Duluth while Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party members are convening in Rochester.
ST. PAUL—A 2015 Teacher of the Year from St. Paul schools lost her spot on a new teacher licensing board because she insulted President Donald Trump, using a raw expletive, in a social media post. "He is not worthy, nor are his puppet masters, of human dignity," reads the Jan. 12 Facebook post of Amy Hewett-Olatunde. "He is the s***hole, and we should line up to take a dump on him."
ST. PAUL—Ideas never really die at the Minnesota Legislature. There's almost always a glimmer of hope that a proposal will make it through, until the House and Senate are forced by state law to adjourn on "the first Monday after the third Saturday in May." This year, that's May 21. After that, lawmakers who couldn't get attention for certain issues turn into a sort of disappointed Minnesota sports fan — There's always next year ...
ST. PAUL—A Republican-led group of lawmakers unveiled a tax code overhaul late Friday that would cut Minnesota's first two tax brackets between now and 2020. A joint committee of House and Senate lawmakers met this week to iron out the differences between tax plans that have cleared their two chambers. Minnesota needs to align its tax code with recent federal changes, or many residents will pay more next year.
ST. PAUL — As Gov. Mark Dayton toured the state this week making the case for $138 million in emergency spending for schools, Republicans accused the Democratic leader of exaggerating the fiscal urgency schools face to make a political point. State Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, notes that the $18.8 billion, two-year education budget approved last May included significant new spending. And Dayton's plan gives the additional money to every district when not all of them are facing shortfalls.
ST. PAUL — The next two weeks will be hectic for Minnesota lawmakers involved in rewriting the state's tax code to align it with recent federal changes. For even the most dedicated observers of the state Legislature, the coming negotiations will likely be complex. But what lawmakers agree upon between now and the May 21 session's end could have lasting effects on Minnesotans' bank accounts.
ST. PAUL — Ten Minnesota school districts and charter schools have reached a pact with the state Department of Human Rights to fix racial disparities in student discipline. Two other school districts could be headed to court after failing to agree upon a plan. "I'm encouraged," Kevin Lindsey, human rights commissioner, said of school leaders' plans.