ST. PAUL -- A class of new lawmakers took their oaths of office Tuesday, Jan. 8, establishing a new order in the statehouse and setting the stage for conflict over top issues. It was the first day of the legislative session and leaders of the country's only split Legislature said they were eager to rack up early bipartisan wins but signaled that big disagreements were on the horizon.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota lawmakers are set to travel to the Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 8, for the kickoff to the 2019 legislative session. They'll welcome dozens of new legislators to their ranks and see Democrats take control of the House of Representatives while Republicans hold a two-seat advantage in the Senate. The new composition sets up the only split statehouse in the country. And it raises a number of questions about how things are going to work over the five-month legislative session. So here are some things to watch:
ST. PAUL -- Tim Walz was sworn in as Minnesota's 41st governor Monday, Jan. 7, succeeding outgoing Gov. Mark Dayton. In his inaugural speech, the former history teacher called on the comments of former governors and emphasized his desire to make Minnesota the 'education state,' to improve access to health care and to ensure all communities thrive. And he said achieving those goals only be done if elected officials drop partisan labels and work together.
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.
ST. PAUL — On Monday, Jan. 7, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will close out an eight-year term in office and a 40 years of public service. The reality of ending that chapter brought out a somber side of the 71-year-old DFLer during an interview last week. “They say everybody needs a good reason to get out of bed in the morning and this job has given me that in spades for eight years,” Dayton said, “and now I have to find something else." He said he hopes that something else includes the part of his job that he'll miss most: visiting kids in school.
MINNEAPOLIS -- More than half of those picked to lead Minnesota departments and agencies are women. The announcement came Friday, Jan. 4, as Gov.-elect Tim Walz filled out his cabinet, naming his picks to lead key state economic and labor posts. The seven picks for departments that lead economic development, commerce, labor and industry and state revenue leave the administration with just one commissioner slot yet to be filled and they fleshed out a tapestry of diversity in terms of gender representation, ethnicity and geography.
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 — Minnesota Court of Appeals arguments will now be made available to the public, the state's judicial branch announced Thursday, Jan. 3. Beginning Thursday, Minnesota residents can access the recordings on the Minnesota Judicial Branch website — mncourts.gov . Oral arguments before the court are set to be posted within 24 hours of the hearing. Edward Cleary, chief judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals said the court handles more than 2,000 cases a year and opinions issued on those appeals can have a broad impact.
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 -- Attorney General-elect Keith Ellison on Friday, Dec. 28, announced that he'd tapped a former Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota director to act as his second in command. Ellison in a statement said he chose John Keller to serve as Chief Deputy Attorney General. In the role, Keller will be responsible for helping Ellison manage the lawyers who provide legal counsel to state boards, agencies and officials.