More from the Homepage
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
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.

CAPITOL SCORECARD • 2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION Divided Legislature, mixed results

Minnesotans chose divided government in last year’s election, giving Gov. Mark Dayton a second term while flipping control of the House to Republicans. And division…
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.

Bill would allow some Minnesota businesses to refuse same-sex wedding services

Sen. Paul Gazelka says the measure is a compromise.
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,
Minn. House passes public safety funding bill including DWI, texting penalties

Minn. House passes public safety funding bill including DWI, texting penalties

Bill addresses issues like drunken driving, texting.

Minnesota Sunday liquor sales effort stalls again at Legislature

Without Sunday amendment, omnibus liquor bill passes easily.
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.

Bill would protect those who call police from retaliatory lawsuits

Measure addresses instances where lawsuits are filed in retaliation.
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.

Blushing and giggling, House committee tackles serious subject: Genital piercing

Genital piercing came up in regulation discussion.
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.
Dayton signs compromise bill on pay raise flap

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.
Minnesota lawmakers want to crack down on insurance scammers

Minnesota lawmakers want to crack down on insurance scammers

Loopholes in state law make Minnesota more vulnerable.
Burnsville police chief praises body cameras as crime-fighting tool

Burnsville police chief praises body cameras as crime-fighting tool

GOP, DFL agree that the monthly stipend is overdue for a raise.

Lawmakers split over putting data privacy in the Minnesota Constitution

They’re divided over whether such an amendment is necessary or redundant.
Legislation aims to make police body cam footage mostly private

Legislation aims to make police body cam footage mostly private

The proposal by a trio of cops-turned-legislators is pitched as an effort to protect citizens’ privacy. But advocates of open government vow to fight that.
Push for Sunday auto sales gets chilly reception from dealers

Push for Sunday auto sales gets chilly reception from dealers

Auto retailers locking their doors on Sundays is one thing that hasn’t changed in Minnesota for decades, thanks to a 58-year-old “blue law.” But a Minnesota legislator is reviving a dormant attempt at doing away with a law she calls ridiculous, and the industry isn’t happy.
Legislators debate shelf life of license-plate reader data

Legislators debate shelf life of license-plate reader data

  Concern among Minnesota lawmakers was nearly universal over license plate readers, a new crime-fighting technology in 2012 that had the potential to compromise the…
Push for Sunday liquor sales renewed with confidence, support

Push for Sunday liquor sales renewed with confidence, support

Despite years of failed attempts, public demand is overwhelming, advocates say.
Dayton proposes $30 million to boost U medical school

Dayton proposes $30 million to boost U medical school

Gov. Dayton says money will attract top-tier faculty, address an expected shortage of doctors.
Lawmakers launch first initiatives to reform child-protection laws

Lawmakers launch first initiatives to reform child-protection laws

Lawmakers unveiled an 11-point plan in response to reports detailing the need to bolster protection.
Met Council needs to be more accountable, senators say

Met Council needs to be more accountable, senators say

A bill from Sen. Dave Osmek, above, would allow more local control of the huge planning and policymaking entity by requiring the governor’s appointees to get some local signoff.

BCA shelves gun-permit applications after questionnaire found intrusive

Gun rights advocates cried foul, saying questions on form violated state law.
State Sen. Sean Nienow is relieved of $840K in debt

State Sen. Sean Nienow is relieved of $840K in debt

A Minnesota state senator who filed for bankruptcy after reneging on a six-figure small-business loan was relieved of $840,000 in debt last year.
Power shift fires up advocates of Sunday liquor sales

Power shift fires up advocates of Sunday liquor sales

Some lawmakers say the new climate inside the Capitol offers the best chance yet to repeal the 80-year-old law that prohibits Sunday sales.
Power shift fires up advocates of Sunday liquor sales

Power shift fires up advocates of Sunday liquor sales

Some lawmakers say the new climate inside the Capitol offers the best chance yet to repeal the 80-year-old law that prohibits Sunday sales.
Frustrated Gov. Dayton slams GOP transportation plan as 'pure fantasy'

Frustrated Gov. Dayton slams GOP transportation plan as 'pure fantasy'

He said the Republican plan to devote $750 million to transportation over four years by cutting elsewhere in the state budget was straight out of “La-La Land.”
Task force wants Minn. lawmakers to get tough on DWI offenders

Task force wants Minn. lawmakers to get tough on DWI offenders

A state DWI task force is proposing tougher penalties for Minnesota’s drunken drivers with hopes that they will encourage more offenders to install ignition interlock devices before getting back behind the wheel.
Autistic children can pose barrier to housing

Autistic children can pose barrier to housing

Some families have found it hard to secure housing due to disruption or damage from their kids. Meanwhile, $500,000 in state aid to help is stuck in limbo.
Minnesota legislators look to weigh in on nation's drone debate

Minnesota legislators look to weigh in on nation's drone debate

The use of drones is igniting a fresh phase in the nationwide debate on the right to privacy vs. the need for surveillance.
DFL calls for ethics review into Ortman campaign's alleged payment for endorsement

DFL calls for ethics review into Ortman campaign's alleged payment for endorsement

Campaign payment undisputed, but not OK’d, says GOP senator.
Groups lay out their legislative wish lists

Groups lay out their legislative wish lists

Tax relief, transportation funding, energy standards are among issues interest groups hope Legislature will address.
Franken tells TV network: 'I'm ready for Hillary' to be president

Franken tells TV network: 'I'm ready for Hillary' to be president

During a chat with MSNBC, the Minnesota senator proclaims “I’m ready for Hillary” in 2016.
Rep. Kline optimistic on education reform, calls torture report 'purely partisan'

Rep. Kline optimistic on education reform, calls torture report 'purely partisan'

The veteran congressman said an education bill should move rapidly to the floor.

BCA agreed to FBI terms on secret cellphone tracking

At issue are devices that reveal cellphone locations at any given time, without the user knowing.
Cambridge man convicted in gun dispute involving Minnesota House speaker

Cambridge man convicted in gun dispute involving Minnesota House speaker

A man charged with pulling a gun during a dispute in Montana where then-House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt was present was found guilty of felony…
Dismal returns cost Independence Party major status

Dismal returns cost Independence Party major status

For the first time in the 16 years since Jesse Ventura “shocked the world” with a runaway victory, the IP will lose its status as a major party.
Franken wins re-election over McFadden; Dems lose majority

Franken wins re-election over McFadden; Dems lose majority

Al Franken easily won re-election Tuesday to a U.S. Senate seat that he had narrowly captured six years ago.
Franken, McFadden find common ground as well as differences

Franken, McFadden find common ground as well as differences

In the third and final debate before Election Day, Sen. Al Franken and Republican challenger Mike McFadden worked harder to acknowledge their differences than their similarities.
For Franken, net neutrality remains key campaign issue

For Franken, net neutrality remains key campaign issue

Franken said he gets asked about net neutrality “all the time.” Mike McFadden? “You know how many times I’ve been asked about these issues in 16 months on the trail? Zero. Zero times.”
State's U.S. Senate race brings cash from coast to coast

State's U.S. Senate race brings cash from coast to coast

Both candidates have drawn major sums from far beyond Minnesota.

GOP mailers on drunken driving draw DFL ire

The campaign materials focus on use of ignition lock for drunken drivers.
McFadden colleagues lambaste ad blaming him for layoffs

McFadden colleagues lambaste ad blaming him for layoffs

Challenger’s supporters lambaste Franken ad as “intentional manipulation.”
Poll: Franken lead in Senate race narrows to single digits

Poll: Franken lead in Senate race narrows to single digits

U.S. senator is leading GOP challenger Mike McFadden 48 percent to 39 percent, though Franken’s advantage appears to have slipped recently
Hillary Clinton joins wave of campaigning Democrats in Minnesota

Hillary Clinton joins wave of campaigning Democrats in Minnesota

She stumped for state’s DFL leaders, citing their achievements in the wake of the recession.
First lady tells Mpls. rally to 'finish what we started' by voting

First lady tells Mpls. rally to 'finish what we started' by voting

Michelle Obama calls for big turnout to boost Franken, Dayton.
Sponsored Links
From Around the Web
More from Star Tribune
Top Stories
Most Read