Staff Directory 19363479

Abby Simons

Reporter | Politics and government
phone: 651-925-5043
Abby joined the Star Tribune in 2008. Before moving to politics, she covered Minneapolis police, suburban police and Hennepin County District Court.
Recent content from Abby Simons
Minnesota builders win a court battle against home sprinkler mandate

Minnesota builders win a court battle against home sprinkler mandate

Year-old rule mandated installation in houses larger than 4,500 square feet.
Lawyer says ISIL defendant had no ability to build anti-aircraft rockets

Lawyer says ISIL defendant had no ability to build anti-aircraft rockets

Abdirizak Warsame never had the ability to build anti-aircraft rockets, his attorney says.
Minn. Sentencing Guidelines Commission signs off on drug sentencing reform

Minn. Sentencing Guidelines Commission signs off on drug sentencing reform

Proponents say changes create statewide standard and promote treatment.
Plan to redo drug sentencing draws an emotional response

Plan to redo drug sentencing draws an emotional response

Sentencing Guidelines Commission hears from both sides on proposal to reduce prison time for low-level offenders.

Mpls. man accused of Twitter threats to FBI agents remains jailed

Abdulkadir's attorney argues that no one was specifically threatened.
Son of slain Somali political activist sues money-transfer business

Son of slain Somali political activist sues money-transfer business

Case alleges that big money-transfer firm helped fund the killers.
Minnesota commerce commissioner: Bitcoin buyers, beware

Minnesota commerce commissioner: Bitcoin buyers, beware

 Six years after its introduction to the masses, Bitcoin, the decentralized currency known as “cash for the Internet,” is growing in popularity. Yet it still…
Ex-Minneapolis student 'Mujahid Miski' denies ties to Islamic State

Ex-Minneapolis student 'Mujahid Miski' denies ties to Islamic State

Former Roosevelt student Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, arrested in Somalia last month, vows he won't return to the U.S.
Hy Berman, longtime U professor, political commentator, dies at 90

Hy Berman, longtime U professor, political commentator, dies at 90

Teaching history at the U or speaking on issues of the day, Hy Berman was "always engaged."
A doe is taken but 'my big buck is still out there'

A doe is taken but 'my big buck is still out there'

A novice's second deer hunting season brings on big expectations and a drive for more.
Mankato officer led Mpls. police to protest shooting suspect

Mankato officer led Mpls. police to protest shooting suspect

The new information, detailed in a search warrant application, came as officials got an extension until Monday to file charges in the case.
Social media offering picture of men who went to protest 'locked and loaded'

Social media offering picture of men who went to protest 'locked and loaded'

Days after a YouTube video went public, four men were arrested in connection with Monday night's shooting of five protesters.
Governor: Ambulance video of shooting is inconclusive

Governor: Ambulance video of shooting is inconclusive

Minneapolis NAACP chief says remarks reinforce need for public to see footage from shooting.
For those wrongly convicted, Minnesota to make good

For those wrongly convicted, Minnesota to make good

State is the 30th to pass a law compensating freed inmates for time served, plus damages.
Timberjay bill fails to define 'government function,' creates gray area

Timberjay bill fails to define 'government function,' creates gray area

  When Gov. Mark Dayton signed what is now known as the “Timberjay bill” last year, open-government advocates cheered, lauding the legislation that in essence…
Trial for alleged ISIL recruits pushed to May

Trial for alleged ISIL recruits pushed to May

Lawyers given more time in wake of new charges.
Ventura says he was 'booster rocket' propelling sales of 'American Sniper'

Ventura says he was 'booster rocket' propelling sales of 'American Sniper'

Ventura says he is prepared to fight the case again if retrial is ordered.
'Mr. Right' Jason Lewis hopes to take his libertarian streak to Washington

'Mr. Right' Jason Lewis hopes to take his libertarian streak to Washington

Former radio show host Jason Lewis said a slow recession recovery motivated him to run for Second Congressional District seat.
Permit-to-carry class offers real-life firearms education

Permit-to-carry class offers real-life firearms education

  Gunshots thundered around me as my instructor, Rob Doar, loaded a clip into 9-millimeter Glock 19 and handed it to me. It was lighter…
Tragedy in Oregon spurs fresh gun law debate in Minnesota

Tragedy in Oregon spurs fresh gun law debate in Minnesota

In the wake of the latest mass shooting, gun rights supporters remained steadfast that 2nd Amendment should be inviolate, while gun control supporters say they are more motivated than ever.
REAL ID worries for Minnesota driver's licenses about to get real

REAL ID worries for Minnesota driver's licenses about to get real

Come January, Minnesota driver's license might not suffice at the airport.
EPA mandates likely mean changes at Sherco coal plant

EPA mandates likely mean changes at Sherco coal plant

Republicans say jobs will be lost; DFLers say it's part of the state's clean-energy revolution.
Third man in Twin Cities ISIL case pleads guilty

Third man in Twin Cities ISIL case pleads guilty

Columbia Heights man names co-conspirators, explains ISIL's appeal to Westernized youth.
'I committed a terrorist act,' Twin Cities ISIL suspect admits

'I committed a terrorist act,' Twin Cities ISIL suspect admits

Hanad Musse, one of seven defendants charged with conspiring to leave the United States to fight alongside terrorists in Syria, pleaded guilty in federal court in Minneapolis Wednesday.
Education, mentoring key in anti-terror recruiting project

Education, mentoring key in anti-terror recruiting project

The program still received pushback from some Islamic organizations.
Defendant in Minneapolis ISIL terror case to plead guilty

Defendant in Minneapolis ISIL terror case to plead guilty

Plea negotiations are also underway for at least two other defendants, and agreements could be reached within the next week to 10 days, according to multiple sources.
New chief of liquor association plans to take new course

New chief of liquor association plans to take new course

  Tony Chesak’s first phone call of the day Thursday was crucial for one of the ­thousands proprietors he represents: Is it legal to take…

Federal judge orders specifics in alleged Twitter death threats

An indictment filed in April against Mahamed Abukar Said, 19, of Minneapolis alleged he threatened authorities, including the U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis and the FBI, with a "massacre."
Minnesota judge again denies bail in ISIL case; trial set for Feb. 16

Minnesota judge again denies bail in ISIL case; trial set for Feb. 16

Defense attorneys were visibly frustrated by judge's ruling in the case of seven young Somali-American men charged with conspiring to support the terror group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
Federal appeals court upholds women's prison sentences in terror case

Federal appeals court upholds women's prison sentences in terror case

The appeals court said the evidence warrants the sentences for supporting al-Shabab.

Plot by 7 from Twin Cities to join ISIL was long in making

Fearing their arrests were imminent, seven Somali-American men tried to get out of the country last spring to fight alongside terrorists in Syria before FBI agents could catch up to them, according to new evidence released Friday by federal prosecutors.

Lawyers for Minnesota terror suspects argue ISIL not terrorist organization

Attorneys for 7 suspects in FBI case are also seeking lighter security at trial, saying it could influence jury.
Informant in Twin Cities terrorism case paid $41K by FBI

Informant in Twin Cities terrorism case paid $41K by FBI

Defense attorneys say payments undermine the informant's credibility.
Accused ISIL recruits from Twin Cities denied release by federal judge

Accused ISIL recruits from Twin Cities denied release by federal judge

U.S. district judge to weigh options for "deradicalization" before release
Government: Alleged ISIL conspirator says deradicalization 'hopeless'

Government: Alleged ISIL conspirator says deradicalization 'hopeless'

Both sides file documents in fight over release of three of the suspects.
Man convicted of threatening FBI agents now faces new gun charges

Man convicted of threatening FBI agents now faces new gun charges

Charges in the October incident follow Mohamed Ali Omar's release from federal custody
Minneapolis man who threatened FBI released prior to sentencing

Minneapolis man who threatened FBI released prior to sentencing

Convicted of threatening FBI agents, Mohamed Ali Omar must wear monitor bracelet until sentencing.
Did jeweler loot his own store?

Did jeweler loot his own store?

Daniel Rohricht was accused of stealing from his bankrupt business. He admits he is not "lily-white," but he said he is no "mini-Denny' Hecker."
Judge denies bail for Minnesota man charged in terrorism conspiracy

Judge denies bail for Minnesota man charged in terrorism conspiracy

"This stuff is fake," said the mother of two men charged in a terrorism conspiracy before a hearing Thursday for her oldest son.
Minneapolis man who threatened FBI released prior to sentencing

Minneapolis man who threatened FBI released prior to sentencing

Mohamed Omar, whose brother is among several Twin Cities men being held on terrorism-related charges, has been in federal detention seven months.
With divided Legislature, what was -- and wasn't -- accomplished in 2015

With divided Legislature, what was -- and wasn't -- accomplished in 2015

A big surplus had some thinking this session would be smooth, but the extra money fueled extra debates.
Attorney for ISIL suspect: Feds waving 'bloody flag of terrorism'

Attorney for ISIL suspect: Feds waving 'bloody flag of terrorism'

After federal court hearing, judge ordered the Minneapolis man to remain in custody.

Five suspected terrorist recruits plead not guilty in Minneapolis court

The men are accused of planning to join ISIL.
Gov. Dayton takes issue with Minnesota legislators' budget deal

Gov. Dayton takes issue with Minnesota legislators' budget deal

Minnesota House and Senate leaders said late Friday that they had struck a tentative budget deal, but the governor was objecting to the level of education funding and said he intends to stand firm.
With clock ticking at Capitol, budget talks continued into night

With clock ticking at Capitol, budget talks continued into night

With little apparent progress and time running out, Dayton and lawmakers trade accusations
Minnesota ban on fire retardants would be toughest in nation

Minnesota ban on fire retardants would be toughest in nation

Limits on flame-retardant treatments would be most restrictive in nation.
Minnesota Senate passes police body-cam rules

Minnesota Senate passes police body-cam rules

House counterparts say it could derail bill to curb license-plate readers.
For Rep. Nick Zerwas, 'Right to Try' legislation is from the heart

For Rep. Nick Zerwas, 'Right to Try' legislation is from the heart

  It’s a story state Rep. Nick Zerwas has shared plenty of times before — it defines who he is today. But on Friday, it…
Minnesota firefighters seek action on stalled flame retardant bill

Minnesota firefighters seek action on stalled flame retardant bill

House leaders have been reluctant to act on the effort by Minnesota firefighters to ban flame retardant chemicals they blame for higher cancer rates,
March 26: Move to restore felon voting rights appears stalled

March 26: Move to restore felon voting rights appears stalled

The bipartisan group had high hopes that this year's outcome would be different.
House member apologizes for 'convenient' rail line linking prisons, north Minneapolis

House member apologizes for 'convenient' rail line linking prisons, north Minneapolis

"I recognize my comments last night offended some people," Republican Rep. Jim Newberger said. "I will work in the future to not repeat this mistake."
Another no to Sunday liquor sales, but it's looking good for growlers

Another no to Sunday liquor sales, but it's looking good for growlers

The Minnesota Senate rejected a Sunday sales measure, but proponents remain optimistic.
Minnesota Senate Majority Leader says Sunday liquor sales are a long shot

Minnesota Senate Majority Leader says Sunday liquor sales are a long shot

Senate leader says biggest hurdle is in the House.
Help in state budget for Hmong, Lao vets decades after Vietnam

Help in state budget for Hmong, Lao vets decades after Vietnam

Tucked in the Minnesota Senate's Health and Human Services Omnibus bill is an appropriation to fund mental health services specifically for hundreds of Minnesota Hmong and Lao veterans born before 1965.

On Sunday liquor sales, Daudt sees glass half full

House Speaker Kurt Daudt said move to reverse sales ban has a better chance than in past years.
Teen guest describes special bond with Dayton

Teen guest describes special bond with Dayton

To the hundreds who filled the House chamber for Thursday's State of the State address, Gov. Mark Dayton is, whether adversary or ally, a man…

State may bolster number of child protection workers, with a catch

Some of the money is dependent on quick and frequent visits by caseworkers.
Uber, insurance companies strike a deal; legislation heads to floor

Uber, insurance companies strike a deal; legislation heads to floor

A fight over driver insurance requirements had Uber threatening to leave the state.
Poll: Minnesotans are split over what to do with budget surplus

Poll: Minnesotans are split over what to do with budget surplus

Minnesotans are nearly as divided as lawmakers are on what to do with the state's projected $1.9 billion budget surplus. Nearly 40 percent prefer refunds; 30 percent say "salt it away."
Proposal for mental health sites opposed by some advocates

Proposal for mental health sites opposed by some advocates

Senator's plan for 'jail diversion hubs' gets pushback from advocates.
Proposed insurance requirements for ridesharing has Uber reconsidering future in Minnesota

Proposed insurance requirements for ridesharing has Uber reconsidering future in Minnesota

Uber manager says $1 million policy requirement would affect strategy in state.
'Right to Try Act' gives hope to dying patients

'Right to Try Act' gives hope to dying patients

If approved by Legislature, Minnesotans could get easier access to experimental drugs, devices still under clinical trials.
A legislative victory for a grammar stickler

A legislative victory for a grammar stickler

  Tension punctuated a House hearing last week over how long law enforcement agencies can keep on file data gleaned from automated license plate readers…
Minnesota House panel backs legalizing firearm 'silencers'

Minnesota House panel backs legalizing firearm 'silencers'

Advocates say the devices, now banned in the state, protect shooters' hearing. Foes say they aid criminals.
Republicans propose overturning transgender student-athlete policy

Republicans propose overturning transgender student-athlete policy

A coalition of House and Senate Republicans want to ban transgender students from participating in girls' sports and would require student athletes to use the bathrooms, locker rooms and changing rooms appropriate to their birth gender.
More Minnesota Level 3 sex offenders are breaking probation

More Minnesota Level 3 sex offenders are breaking probation

Apprehension unit can't begin to keep up with its list of parole violators
Minnesota lawmakers take broad first look at 2015 liquor reform

Minnesota lawmakers take broad first look at 2015 liquor reform

A wide swath of measures did not include a repeal of the ban on Sunday sales.
Minn. lawmakers talk booze, but not Sun. sales ban

Minn. lawmakers talk booze, but not Sun. sales ban

A wide swath of proposals by lawmakers did not include a repeal of Sunday sales ban.

'Private divorce' measure would take splits out of Minnesota courtrooms

Skeptics say the legislation is probably unconstitutional.
Feb. 26: Dayton signs compromise bill on pay raise flap

Feb. 26: Dayton signs compromise bill on pay raise flap

Bill sends nearly $16 million in emergency funding to three agencies.
Dayton appointed to Governors Council, will advise on National Guard issues

Dayton appointed to Governors Council, will advise on National Guard issues

  Gov. Mark Dayton was named Friday to a national forum of governors that will advise federal defense agencies on National Guard issues. The appointment…
Senate committee approves bill to restore voting rights to freed felons

Senate committee approves bill to restore voting rights to freed felons

Bill clears state Senate Judiciary Committee, with newfound support from Republican lawmakers and right-leaning groups.
Broad coalition pushes for Minnesota data privacy amendment

Broad coalition pushes for Minnesota data privacy amendment

Broad coalition pushes state amendment for greater data protection, but Senate obstacles arise.
Lawmakers consider 'necessity defense' in DWI cases

Lawmakers consider 'necessity defense' in DWI cases

  Four years have passed since the night Jennifer Axelberg took refuge in a vehicle to escape her abusive husband after an alcohol-fueled fight at…
Dayton-Bakk fractures throw DFL agenda into doubt

Dayton-Bakk fractures throw DFL agenda into doubt

DFLers hope that the governor's anger cools and that the two will talk.
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