A shocking report released this week provides an inside look at how state and local leaders responded to May’s Minneapolis riots, the second-most destructive period of local unrest in U.S. history.
The 55-page report is the product of four joint hearings convened by the Minnesota Senate and is based on testimony from witnesses, data practice requests, written testimony, press conferences and news articles. Read More
Governor Ralph Northam joined 10 other Democratic governors issuing a joint statement on Wednesday defending American democracy, vowing that every valid ballot will be counted in the election.
The statement comes after a contentious debate where President Trump expressed skepticism of mail voting. Trump also called on his backers to scrutinize voting procedures at the polls, which critics said could cross into voter intimidation. Without mentioning Trump by name, the governors noted his refusal last week to commit to a peaceful transition of power. Read More
Gov. Tim Walz and his wife, Gwen, attended and spoke at a candlelight vigil Sunday night in remembrance of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday.
According to Star Tribune reporter Liz Sawyer, “several hundred” people gathered at Boom Island in Minneapolis for the event, which was hosted by the left-wing group Gender Justice. Read More
Minnesota’s Secretary of State Steve Simon is sending letters telling those who haven’t requested an absentee ballot to vote from home. An estimated 2.3 million voters will receive the letter and an absentee ballot application. Read More
The letter asserts that staying safe and keeping other citizens healthy “means voting from home.”
In an interview with The Star Tribune, Governor Tim Walz set the first standards for possibly lifting Minnesota’s emergency executive orders. His statement didn’t promise total relinquishment of his executive powers. Read More
According to Walz, under 20 percent community spread and 4 percent test positivity rate would give Minnesota “a really good chance of doing most things.” The governor balked when questioned whether some of the restrictions were too harsh. Walz stated that his state has endured COVID-19 better than many states.
A viral post from The Coffee Nest shared it was forced to close after the state threatened the local business with imprisonment, fines, and more. They have since deleted the post, citing an influx of private hate messages. Read More
Most commenters expressed frustration over the negative impacts of Governor Walz’s executive orders.
Senator Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) continues to challenge Governor Tim Walz’s emergency executive powers, even after their private meeting Thursday. The two disagree about the necessity of Minnesota’s continued state of emergency.
Their meeting marked the 175th day of Walz’s orders. Read More
U.S. Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx stated in a visit to Minnesota on Sunday that Minnesotans haven’t done enough to decrease the spread of COVID-19. The visit is part of a cross-country tour to gauge how well states are adhering to coronavirus guidelines. Read More
Birx commended the measures instituted by the state. However, she said that Minnesotans needed to do more – especially in rural areas.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved for Minnesotans to receive $300 in weekly unemployment benefits this fall. FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor issued the grant through the Lost Wages Supplemental Payment Assistance program.
The approval comes one day after Governor Tim Walz announced his decision to apply for additional unemployment payments. Walz explained this was a necessary decision based on the continued COVID-19 mandates. Read More
The six-year battle in Minnesota over Enbridge’s 1960’s-era Line 3 pipeline will continue.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) on Wednesday will appeal the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) February decision that approved the project’s certificate of need. Read More
The Minnesota Senate rejected Governor Walz’s appointee for the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) Commissioner Nancy Leppink in a close vote 34 to 32.
Following the four hour session on Wednesday, the governor’s office issued a news release sharing Leppink’s lengthy career and its successes, as well as statements from various councils and organizations who support her. Read More
Governor Walz announced in a press release Friday that he will extend Minnesota’s COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency again by 30 days. The state’s peacetime emergency first went into effect March 13 – this is the fifth extension to date.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and rapidly evolving, and we can’t let our guard down,” stated Walz. Read More
Minnesota’s House and Senate approved the SSHF1 amendment last Monday, a big bill positioned to issue widespread police reform throughout the state. Since its passage 102-29 in the House and 60-7 in the Senate, the bill now rests in the hands of Governor Tim Walz.
SSHF1 is as long as it is weighty in its impact, with around 15 action items up for approval. Not only does it endeavor to further define legal use of force, but it creates and funds an administrative host of units, councils, and boards. Read More
On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz signed Executive Order 20-81, ordering Minnesotans to wear a mask in indoor public settings and crowded outdoor spaces starting Friday at 11:59 p.m.
“COVID-19 has impacted every corner of our state and every aspect of our lives,” Walz said in a statement. Read More
Over a dozen Minnesota state legislators have joined ranks with the Free Minnesota Small Business Coalition to stop what they argue are Governor Tim Walz’s unconstitutional abuses of power. A hearing in the case will take place, July 16, 2020, in Minnesota District Court.
Minneapolis attorney Erick Kaardal of Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson, P.A. is representing the group in a lawsuit against Governor Walz, whom they are charging with overstepping his bounds and interfering in the legislative process, violating civil liberties of legislators, business owners, and the 5.6 million Minnesotans. Read More
The result of a court hearing Thursday could impact the daily lives of about 5.6 million Minnesotans.
Ramsey County District Court Judge Thomas Gilligan heard from Minnesota Solicitor General Liz Kramer and Erick Kaardal, who’s representing more than a dozen state legislators and the Free Minnesota Small Business Coalition that claim harm under Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders. Read More
One of former President Barack Obama’s top health care officials said he asked Gov. Tim Walz to reclose all bars in Minnesota during a Sunday phone call.
Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said he urged Walz and Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm to close “all of the bars to indoor service across the state of Minnesota” to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Read More
Gov. Tim Walz said he plans to extend his COVID-19 peacetime emergency declaration for another 30 days when lawmakers return to St. Paul Monday for a special session.
The governor announced Friday night that he has convened a special legislative session for July 13, the same day his peacetime emergency declaration is set to expire. According to Minnesota law, the governor must convene both houses of the Legislature if he wishes to extend a peacetime emergency when the Legislature is not in session. Read More
The Minnesota DFL Party launched a new ad campaign this week targeting key Republican state senators who are accused of “standing in the way of passing real police reform.”
Jason Lewis, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, said in a recent interview that Democrats don’t “want reform” so much as they “want a political issue.” Read More
Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis said parents should be refunded for property tax payments and tuition if schools aren’t allowed to reopen in the fall.
“The more we learn about COVID, the more it becomes apparent that we have done a huge disservice to our children in the way we have handled this virus. Research has proven that COVID presents minimal risks to young people. But what isn’t minimal is the toll this prolonged lockdown and social isolation has on our kids’ social, mental, and physical well-being,” Lewis said in a statement released Wednesday. Read More
Gov. Tim Walz is expected to call another special session by the end of the week in order to extend his peacetime emergency powers.
House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) alerted members and staff in a Monday email about the likely special session. Read More
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, who welcomed the destruction of a Christopher Columbus statue, chairs the board responsible for Capitol artwork and monuments. Read More
Gov. Tim Walz recently filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against him regarding his use of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit was filed on May 28 by four members of the New House Republican Caucus, the Free Minnesota Coalition, and at least eight businesses across the state. The complaint argues that the governor does not have the authority to “suspend the constitutional rights of Minnesotans.” Read More
Gov. Tim Walz has requested federal financial assistance to help the Twin Cities recover from more than $500 million worth of damage caused by rioting.
In a press release, Walz’s office said nearly 1,500 Twin Cities businesses were vandalized, burned, or looted during the late May riots, with current estimates of the damage exceeding $500 million. Read More
A Minnesota judge on Monday warned that he’s likely to move the trials of four former police officers charged in George Floyd’s death out of Minneapolis if public officials, attorneys and family members don’t stop speaking out about the case.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill stopped short of issuing a gag order against attorneys on both sides, but he said he likely will if public statements continue that make it hard to find an impartial jury. Cahill said that would also make him likely to grant a change-of-venue motion if one is filed, as he anticipates. Read More
Gov. Tim Walz said a statewide mask mandate to help curb the spread of COVID-19 is “on the table” during a Monday press conference.
According to Walz, Republican governors who participated in a Monday phone call with Vice President Mike Pence were also “exploring the idea.” Read More
Gov. Tim Walz said $853 million will be distributed statewide to provide relief to Minnesotans battered by the COVID-19 pandemic starting the week of June 29.
The money comes from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Read More
The Minnesota Legislature’s recent special session ended with no major accomplishments, but the eight-day session will still cost taxpayers an estimated $108,000.
The special session concluded on June 20 after Republicans in the Senate and Democrats in the House failed to reach an agreement on police reform legislation, the allocation of federal coronavirus relief funds, and other leftover business from the regular session, such as a borrowing package for public infrastructure projects. Read More
Gov. Tim Walz approved plans Thursday to distribute $841 million in federal coronavirus aid to cities and counties across Minnesota, along with another $12 million for food banks and food shelves that have seen a surge in demand since the pandemic hit the state. Read More
It’s been two weeks since a Christopher Columbus statue was toppled outside the Minnesota Capitol, but the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said the investigation remains ongoing.
A spokesperson for the agency told KSTP chief political reporter Tom Hauser that the “investigation continues as the [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] works to identify other participants in the incident, beyond the leader.” Read More
Minnesota legislative leaders traded barbs Saturday after a special session collapsed with no deal on revamping policing following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a session that one group called “a train wreck.”
The two sides may be back at it in another special session next month. Read More
Republican lawmakers who sued Gov. Tim Walz said Friday that he has failed to provide legal justification for his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are winning on this issue, and Gov. Walz knows it,” said Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal), one of 13 Republican lawmakers who joined a lawsuit against Walz over his use of emergency powers during the pandemic. Read More
Nine more Republican lawmakers have joined a lawsuit against Gov. Tim Walz regarding his use of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic. Read More
The St. Paul Saints announced Friday that the team will be participating in a 60-game season beginning July 3, but all games will be played in Sioux Falls, South Dakota until “capacity restrictions for outdoor events have relaxed.”
The American Association of Independent Professional Baseball said the shortened season will run from July 3 to September 10, concluding with a championship series between the top two teams. The league will consist of six teams based in three separate hubs. Read More
An Eden Prairie School Board member broke his silence Monday after learning that the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) won’t be releasing state guidance on the upcoming academic year until July 27.
Three scenarios are possible for the 2020-21 school year, including continued distance learning, the resumption of in-person instruction, or a mix of the two. Read More
Yet another resolution to end Gov. Tim Walz’s peacetime emergency declaration was rejected Friday, but this time the proposal received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.
The resolution passed the Republican-controlled Senate in a vote of 38-29, with three Democratic senators joining Republicans in voting to end the governor’s emergency powers, which first took effect March 13 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Read More
The protesters and activists who tore down a statue of Christopher Columbus outside the Minnesota Capitol Wednesday faced virtually no resistance from state leaders or law enforcement.
In fact, after the statue was toppled over, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said Minnesota “is long overdue for a hard look at the symbols, statues, and icons that were created without the input of many of our communities.” Read More
Due to a projected surge in coronavirus fatalities, the state of Minnesota spent $6.9 million to acquire a warehouse for the “temporary storage of human remains,” but the facility has so far gone unused.
“What’s contemplated by the purchase is to buy a building where we can properly handle with dignity and respect and safety the bodies of Minnesotans who may fall victim to the coronavirus,” Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly said during a press conference in early May. Read More
A conservative journalist has sued Gov. Tim Walz’s administration after he was barred from participating in the governor’s daily press briefings on the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the lawsuit, Scott Johnson, an attorney and writer for PowerLine, was allowed to participate in the daily briefings until April 27, when he was suddenly “excluded from all future daily briefings without explanation.” Read More
DFL lawmakers want the state and federal governments to chip in to help repair the estimated $55 million in damage caused to Minneapolis in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and the Legislature’s People of Color and Indigenous Caucus called for “immediate legislative funding for Minneapolis and St. Paul rebuilding efforts” in a joint statement. Read More
Black leaders in North Dakota’s largest city pleaded for calm Thursday in the face of violent threats to disrupt a gathering in memory of George Floyd and advertised the event as a celebration, not a protest.
The OneFargo event is scheduled Friday afternoon at a downtown Fargo park. Organizers had planned to march from Island Park to City Hall for a sit-in, but have scrapped that idea after social media threats surfaced to burn down the city offices and commit other violent acts. Read More
Even as Gov. Tim Walz allows more sectors of the economy to open, Minnesota unemployment ticked upward to 439,550 total claims in the week ending May 30, compared to 417,084 claims the prior week ending May 23.
All told, 22,466 new unemployment claims were filed in the state last week, a drop of 4,745 claims from the 27,211 claims initiated the prior week, an 18.5 percent week-over-week decrease. Read More
A class-action lawsuit was filed this week against the leaders of the Minneapolis Police Department, the Minnesota State Patrol, and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for their “attacks” on journalists during last week’s riots.
“The press is under assault in our City. Over the past week, the Minneapolis Police and the Minnesota State Patrol have tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, shot in the face with rubber bullets, arrested without cause, and threatened journalists at gunpoint, all after these journalists identified themselves and were otherwise clearly engaged in their reporting duties,” states the lawsuit. Read More
Gov. Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced Tuesday that the state will begin a civil rights investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department after one of its officers was charged with murder in the death of George Floyd.
The state agency has also filed a human rights complaint against the police department in relation to Floyd’s death. Read More
Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) falsely claimed that the truck driver at the center of Sunday’s frightening incident on I-35W was a “white supremacist.”
State officials said the driver, who has been identified as 35-year-old Bogdan Vechirko, might not have realized that the interstates had been shut down in an effort to quell unrest in the Twin Cities. Vechirko was arrested on suspicion of assault and remains jailed, but Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Monday that he didn’t seem to be acting intentionally. Read More
As of Monday afternoon, the “majority” of those arrested in the Twin Cities for rioting, violating curfew, looting or other similar charges had Minnesota addresses.
“That would be accurate,” Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington confirmed during a Monday press conference. During a previous briefing, he said he didn’t “have any credible evidence of any specific group being here in Minnesota.” Read More
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, and Gov. Tim Walz all have suggested that many of the rioters wreaking havoc on the Twin Cities are from out of state, but jail records seem to show otherwise.
“We’ve seen long-term, institutional businesses overridden. We’ve seen community institutions set on fire. And I want to be very, very clear, the people that are doing this are not Minneapolis residents. They are coming in largely from outside of the city, from outside of the region, to prey on everything that we have built over the last several decades. The dynamic has changed over the last several days,” Frey said during a joint Saturday press conference. Read More
The Minnesota National Guard now has more than 4,100 troops deployed in the Twin Cities and said it is working toward a total of 10,800 citizen-soldiers for the area.
“This is a significant increase over the 700 on-duty Friday. We live here. We work here. We serve here. We’re all in,” the National Guard said on Twitter Saturday. Read More
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota – Three consecutive nights of rioting in response to the alleged murder of an unarmed black man at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer have left stretches of the city in ruins, producing scenes most accurately described as a war zone.
Officer Derek Chauvin, the man filmed pressing his knee into the neck of a handcuffed George Floyd, was arrested Friday on charges of murder and manslaughter. He and three colleagues involved in the incident were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department Tuesday. Read More
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said he thinks George Floyd was murdered and claimed Floyd “would be alive today if he were white.”
Video from the tragic Monday night incident shows a Minneapolis police officer pressing his knee into the neck of a handcuffed Floyd, who repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. Floyd was pronounced dead shortly after he was taken into custody. Read More