Author: MinnPost

WASHINGTON – The brutal slaughter of 19 children and two teachers in a Texas elementary school has not moved the needle when it comes to the approval of gun legislation in Congress, with the GOP continuing to be opposed to even the most modest proposals. The mass shooting in Uvalde by 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos, who used an AR-15-style rifle, happened on the heels of another mass shooting at a grocery store in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, N.Y. But the latest gun violence seemed to only rip open further partisan divisions. A little over a year ago, the U.S.…

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The unusual dynamics of the 2022 session of the Minnesota Legislature created the circumstances for its partial collapse Sunday evening when the House and Senate ended the regular session without passing most tax and spending bills. With more money to spend than any previous even-numbered year Legislature, there were resources to do some of what both Republicans and DFLers wanted: tax cuts, new spending and even additional savings. Having $9.25 billion in surplus and more than $1 billion in federal cash from the American Rescue Plan meant both parties could get some of what they wanted. Expectations were raised among…

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Gov. Tim Walz, center, speaking at Monday’s press conference, with House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, left, and Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, right. MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz was projecting himself as something of a seer Monday in describing the deal he struck with legislative leaders on budget and taxes. “Two weeks ago I gave a state of the state address where I was absolutely convinced that this leadership team could get together,” Walz said Monday in announcing the bipartisan agreement, which will divvy up the state surplus not only for the state’s current budget but…

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On Monday night, Politico reported that a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion — not a final ruling — suggested the court may overturn federal abortion rights it ruled on in 1973’s Roe v. Wade and upheld in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The draft report set off a bonfire of speculation about whether the court would actually overturn the cases when it releases its final opinion in the coming months, the effect such a decision would have on states’ abortion laws, as well as what the political implications could be for the upcoming midterm elections. If U.S. Supreme Court ends the federal protection for abortion,…

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Light rail track shown in the Highway 62 LRT tunnel. Source: Metropolitan Council Of all the questions Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle received during his second public grilling over the massive cost overruns on the Southwest Light Rail project, one was the hardest to answer. Call it the $500 million question. Charlie Zelle. Source: Metropolitan Council “You’ve told us why we have to go on no matter what, but Chair Zelle, where the heck are you going to get the money?” asked Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanka. “It will likely not come from any one place,” Zelle said. He cited the federal…

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Feb. 18, 2022 It turns out, $73 billion has a way of changing the way you look at things. State Sen. Michelle Benson During a hearing on Feb. 17 on federal COVID-19 relief funds received by the state, Sen. Michelle Benson noticed a difference in the slides presented by Minnesota Management and Budget. Rather than the last three digits being left off to shorten the numbers, the last six digits were removed in order to simplify the explanation of how money flowed to Minnesota in COVID-19 relief. “The amount of money has gotten so big, we’re used to seeing in…

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By Peter Callaghan | MinnPost Staff Writer 1. The least change is the best change? In filing the first lawsuit seeking Supreme Court intervention in drawing new congressional and legislative districts last year, Peter Wattson, a redistricting expert and former state Senate staffer, thought the end result would be maps that do just enough to even out population shifts. He was right. Despite calls from one of the intervenors in the lawsuit calling for sweeping changes to boost the political clout of voters of color, the special five-judge panel overseeing the process went small when it redrew lines for Minnesota’s 201 legislative districts and eight congressional districts.…

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By Peter Callaghan | MinnPost Staff Writer The Minnesota Legislature is facing an important deadline this week to agree to new legislative and congressional district maps following the 2020 Census. It’s not going to make it. Neither the House nor the Senate is going to even pass their own versions of the maps that will determine a lot about which party controls politics in Minnesota for the next decade. “I don’t anticipate that happening,” said Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller when asked whether the Senate would debate maps prior to the statutory Tuesday, Feb. 15, deadline for agreement. While the Senate had…

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