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Erin Golden

Reporter | Politics and government reporter
Phone: 612-673-4790
Erin Golden reports on Minnesota government and politics. Before joining the Star Tribune, she reported for the Omaha World-Herald and The (Bend, Ore.) Bulletin.
Recent content from Erin Golden
Weeks before schools open their doors for the start of a new academic year, Minnesota education officials are finalizing the overhaul of the state’s

Minnesota works to complete teacher licensing overhaul

The new rules are aimed at helping schools avoid roadblocks that have contributed to the state's teacher shortage.
Election judge Marcus Singleton, left, and Salma Abdirahman, right, helped a voter at the Brian Coyle Community Center on primary election day, Tuesda

Minnesotans post most votes for primary since 1982

Polls are open around the state until 8 p.m. as voters narrow the field of candidates for governor, U.S. Senate, Congress, and other seats.

District buys land for new Rosemount elementary school

The Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school board voted to spend $3.2 million on the 34-acre property at the southwest corner of the intersection of Bonaire Path and Akron Avenue, east of Hwy. 3 and County Road 42.
A sinkhole caused by a water main break developed in front of Kelly's Pub in downtown St. Paul. St. Paul Regional Water Services was hard at work prep

Broken water main creates sinkhole on Kellogg Blvd. in St. Paul

Businesses lost water and part of Kellogg Blvd. was shut down as crews worked to fix road.
Associate Justice Natalie E. Hudson wrote the majority opinion in the school segregation case.

Minn. Supreme Court says school segregation case can proceed

The court rejected claims that the Legislature, not the court system, was the right place to decide what constitutes an adequate education.
Brittany Boegel

Brittany Boegel, teacher and travel enthusiast who died in Alaska at age 32, is remembered

She poured her energy into her classroom for 10 years, opting to teach where the students' needs were often complex and the resources limited.

Timeline set for $25 million in school safety grants

State will begin accepting applications Aug. 29 for the new funding.
Rep. Frank Hornstein, shown in 2012, traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border to witness the fallout from family separations.

Minnesotan feels pain of migrant crisis at home

After going to Texas, Rep. Frank Hornstein wants his fellow legislators to take a closer look at Minnesota's immigration detention policies.
Demonstrators marched on Washington Avenue S. in Minneapolis to the U.S. Federal Courthouse on Wednesday as part of a protest over the Supreme Court's

Supreme Court ruling on public union dues hits Minnesota labor groups

The high court's ruling is likely to mean an immediate blow to the budgets of organized labor groups.
A few hundred protesters marched Tuesday night in downtown Minneapolis to show their displeasure at the Supreme Court's decision to uphold President D

Like travel ban ruling, reaction in Minnesota is divided

Opponents of President Trump's travel ban say the Supreme Court ruling could boost discrimination based on religion. Those who champion Trump's proposals as important strategies to combat terrorism applauded the decision.
State Attorney General Lori Swanson in a February file photo. Swanson announced Thursday she would join other state attorneys general in suing the Tru

Swanson will join other states suing over border separations

Attorney General Lori Swanson said Thursday that Minnesota will join with other states preparing to sue the Trump administration over the "inhumane treatment of children"…
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and Gov. Mark Dayton

Dayton, Swanson challenge 'immoral' border separations of families

Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday that he would not authorize Minnesota National Guard troops to help with immigration enforcement at the border, and Swanson joined with other attorneys general to push against the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy.
Rep. Ilhan Omar hugged her husband Ahmed Hirsi after she won the DFL endorsement. Their daughter Isra Hirsi, 15, is on the right.

State Rep. Omar wins DFL endorsement for Ellison's seat

Voting is largely symbolic but builds momentum for primary.
The DFL Party will try to endorse a primary candidate for U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s seat as he runs for state attorney general.

DFL to meet Sunday to sort out endorsement for Rep. Ellison's seat in Congress; Anderson Kelliher to sit it out

The endorsement is functionally a symbolic gesture, but official party backing still confers some status.
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach as his running mate last month.

Pawlenty, Walz beat party-endorsed rivals in fundraising

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty has more in his campaign bank account -- $1.3 million -- than any of his Republican and DFL competitors.
FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2018, photo, Andy Cilek poses with a Tea Party shirt at his home in Eden Prairie, Minn. Cilek was one of two voters who defied

Supreme Court strikes down Minnesota law on voter clothing

The court sided with voters who were challenged at polls in Hennepin and Ramsey counties for wearing T-shirts and buttons with political messages.
Attorney General Lori Swanson shakes hands with running mate Rick Nolan at the Marquette Hotel in Minneapolis on June 4.

Lori Swanson debuts first TV ad of governor's race

She was the last to join the race but the first to buy statewide airtime.
FILE - In this Sunday, June 10, 2018, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Paya Lebar Air Base for a summit with North Korean leader Kim

President Trump headed to Minn. for first visit since election

The president's June 20 rally in Duluth will come just under two months before Minnesota holds its primary election.
DFL candidates, activists and donors are still sorting out how the shifting political landscape will affect candidates for governor, including the end

For the DFL, a 'crazy ride' to the primary awaits

Primary infighting for governor, attorney general and Congress seats likely to expose weaknesses, drain financial resources.
Lori Swanson announced her plans at a news conference Monday with running mate U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan at her side.

Swanson joins governor's race with Nolan as running mate

A Swanson-Nolan gubernatorial ticket adds more drama to a DFL primary that already promises to be hotly contested. With the endorsing conventions behind them, both parties are focused on the next chapter of the campaign.
Gov. Mark Dayton emphasized the conflicting interests of the DFL party and the GOP party during Wednesday's press conference.

Dayton signs $1.5B bonding bill, expresses 'deep concerns'

The DFL governor said the Republican-crafted bill was inadequate and set a "dangerous precedent" by tapping other funds.
Relatives of elder abuse victims gathered outside the Minnesota House chamber in May to protest inaction by the state Legislature over proposals that

What got done and what didn't at Minnesota Legislature

The DFL governor and Republican leaders at the Capitol ended up at odds over much of their work.
A passerby takes cell phone photos of the aftermath of a three-alarm fire at Lake Street and Chicago Avenue.

Three-alarm fire engulfs Lake Street building in Minneapolis

Small businesses, studios filled building that once housed Roberts Shoes.
State Sen. Michelle Fischbach is sworn in as lieutenant governor of Minnesota on Friday, May 25, 2018.

Fischbach resigns Senate seat, takes lieutenant governor oath

State Sen. Michelle Fischbach had been holding off from being officially sworn into the position amid a legal challenge from DFLers who maintained the state Constitution prohibited her from serving in both roles.
Republican legislative leaders House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka spoke outside the State Capitol on Monday.

2018 Legislature: What passed, what didn't and what's next

Lawmakers have adjourned their session, but many major initiatives of the year face a veto threat from Gov. Mark Dayton
Vile, appalling disgusting, debacle, badly mismanaged, beholden to special interests, just some of the ways Gov. Mark Dayton described actions by by t

Dayton veto threat hangs over legislative session's final bills

Minnesota lawmakers adjourned late Sunday after finalizing a handful of tax and spending measures, but with little chance they'd have much to show for three months of work as Gov. Mark Dayton vowed to veto most of their major efforts.
With the clock ticking, it's unclear whether Republican leaders at the Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton will reach accord on a handful of pr

Minnesota lawmakers, Gov. Dayton at odds as finish line nears

In session's second-to-last day, a late meeting between Dayton, lawmakers produced no agreement.

Myriad laws pass muster as Legislature scurries to wrap up

Many make specific tweaks to existing state law or apply only to certain cities or counties — the kind of legislative action that rarely gets attention.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton reflected on the final days of the 2018 legislative session in the library of the governor's residence.

Dayton promises veto of key tax bill, lashes out at Legislature

Gov. Mark Dayton is promising to veto a key tax bill that the Republican-controlled Senate passed narrowly Wednesday, ratcheting up tensions between the governor and the Legislature's GOP majorities.
The Minnesota State Capitol.

Dayton vetoes abortion bill that requires asking about ultrasound

Doctors would have had to offer patients a look.
Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans is one of just two members of Gov. Mark Dayton’s inner circle who have been with him from t

As right-hand man to Dayton, Frans is Capitol's chief defuser

Budget czar Myron Frans is poised to crunch numbers and jump in with the right idea during the legislative session's final days.

Abortion ultrasound bill heads to Gov. Dayton's desk

The bill approved by the Legislature requires doctors to ask women if they'd like to see an ultrasound before having an abortion.

Minnesota Senate Republicans propose $825 million for public works

The proposal is similar to one from the House but much smaller than one offered by the governor.

Minnesota Senate votes to ease child care regulations

Lawmakers vote to relax regulations in effort to ease child care shortage.
Rep. Paul Marquart, ranking DFLer on the House Tax Committee, commended GOP Rep. Greg Davids for his work as committee chairman on Monday after the Ho

Minnesota lawmakers have two weeks left, much to do at the Capitol

The Legislature is behind its usual pace in getting bills turned into law.
Families of those killed by distracted drivers listened during a February rally at the State Capitol to drum up support for a law that would ban the u

Hand-held cellphone bill backers make push in session's final weeks

Senate sponsor and advocates blame partisanship, but Senate leader says measure could still advance this year.
GOP Governor candidate Mary Giuliani Stephens announced Rep. Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley as her running mate in a State Capitol press conference.

Woodbury mayor running for governor taps rural state representative as GOP running mate

Mary Giuliani Stephens selected Rep. Jeff Backer, who represents the Morris area, as her lieutenant governor running mate.
Gov. Mark Dayton, shown last week, is urging the Legislature to approve additional funding for schools.

Dayton proposes nearly $138M in emergency aid to schools

With many schools preparing to lay off teachers and staff members —or close their doors altogether — Gov. Mark Dayton said the state should step in to help.
Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles in his St. Paul office.

Legislative audit finds early education programs 'complex and fragmented'

Need for coordinated push in early education cited.
The cover of Thinking Minnesota showcases the article alleging political “indoctrination” in the Edina School District. It was sent to all househo

'Academic balance' measure advances in Minnesota Senate

The plan came in response to a recent controversy in the Edina School District.

House approves school safety funding for Minnesota schools

Money could be used for building improvements or additional staffing.

Minnesota Supreme Court considers future of cameras in courts

The state's high court held a public hearing Wednesday on the future of a pilot project allowing cameras in criminal sentencing hearings.
State Rep. Erin Maye Quade, of Apple Valley, second from right, holds a 24-hour sit-in on the Minnesota House floor for stronger gun laws, Tuesday, Ap

DFL Rep. Erin Maye Quade ends House floor sit-in, vows to continue pursuing gun control

The lawmaker from Apple Valley said she wanted to draw attention to the Legislature's inaction on gun-control measures.
Erin Maye Quade of Apple Valley holds a 24-hour sit-in on the House floor for stronger gun laws. Other DFL reps are joining her. She is here with Raym

DFLer Maye Quade stages House floor sit-in, wants stronger gun laws

Rep. Erin Maye Quade was joined by a handful of others in the House.

Minnesota lawmakers consider broadening harassment policy

One proposal would relax definition of what's considered harassment.
At a Nov. 15 hearing, Sen. John Jasinski, R-Faribault, described how some constituents received two sets of license tabs due to problems with the MNLA

Lawmakers say state should pay for licensing problems

State's flawed computer system has some registrars operating in the red.
In a photo she shared on Twitter, GOP Sen. Michelle Fischbach met Friday with DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.

Dayton, Fischbach pledge to work together in governor's office

In first meeting to discuss Fischbach's new role, they avoid legal issues.
The DFL kicked off its get-out-the-vote bus tour at the State Capitol Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in St. Paul, MN. Here, Sen. Al Franken, second from le

Tina Smith, a political insider, steps onto the national stage

Long known as a "velvet hammer" behind the scenes, she must craft her own public persona as Minnesota's next senator.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to the U.S. Senate, where she will replace Sen. Al Franken.

Dayton picks Lt. Gov. Tina Smith for Franken's Senate seat

Sen. Al Franken, facing accusations of sexual harassment, said last week that he would resign "in the coming weeks." Smith would be up for election next November.
The constitution says the state Senate president ascends to the lieutenant governor's office. Senate President Michelle Fischbach, seen here Wednesday

Dayton's Senate appointment could create a mess at State Capitol

GOP Sen. Michelle Fischbach says she'll keep seat in Senate; Dayton administration disagrees.

Third DFLer joins race for Minnesota state auditor

So far, no Republicans have signed up to run for Rebecca Otto's seat.
Gov. Mark Dayton was tight-lipped Friday, saying only he wants “a great United States senator for Minnesota.”

Dayton not ready to talk about Franken seat; Smith mulls run

Minnesota's DFL governor said Friday that he'll name a replacement for Sen. Al Franken "in a couple days," but he wouldn't say who it might be.
Gov. Mark Dayton left following the end-of-year budget forecast Tuesday.

Minnesota projected to have $188 million budget deficit

The deficit in the current two-year budget cycle is projected to grow to $586 million in the 2020-21 biennium. Since the state budget must be balanced, it would require cutting spending or raising more revenue.
Rep. Tony Cornish and Sen. Dan Schoen announced Tuesday that they will soon resign, ending a jarring period in Minnesota politics, when the State Capi

Special elections set to replace Minn. legislators accused of harassment

Voters to decide who will replace two legislators who quit after allegations.

Gov. Mark Dayton says he's cancer-free, encourages more screening

Governor proclaimed 'Cancer Screen Week" in Minnesota, says own experience taught importance of early detection.
In this Oct. 26, 2017, photo, a woman walks past the Briva Health enrollment office for MNsure, Minnesota's insurance marketplace, in Minneapolis.

Candidates agree: Health care is the top issue in Minn. governor's race

DFL and GOP candidates offer up vastly different fixes.
Republican gubernatorial hopeful Matt Dean talked with fairgoers at the Minnesota State Fair this year. On Saturday, Dean finished first in a straw po

Rep. Matt Dean tops GOP governor straw poll

Party activists picked among a field of seven candidates who hope to be on the ballot in 2018.
The South Saint Paul Quick-Serv License Center. ] GLEN STUBBE ï Thursday, September 28, 2017 The upgrade of Minnesota's v

State outsources drivers licensing system upgrade work for $26M

Following the bumpy rollout of a new vehicle licensing system, the state of Minnesota is hiring a private firm for similar upgrades to its drivers licensing operations.
In his last year in office, Gov. Mark Dayton wants to focus on expanding pre-K access, passing a public works bill and overhauling senior care standar

In final year, Dayton ready to move on from fight with GOP

He says he'll lift budget veto and rebuild relationship with Republican legislators.
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said the program helps erase divide between rural, populous areas.

Faster internet coming to greater Minnesota, with help from the state

The $26M is for broadband projects across the state.
Jaime Tincher, with Gov. Mark Dayton

Gov. Mark Dayton's chief of staff to serve as St. Paul deputy mayor

With governor's term winding down, members of his administration are lining up their next positions.
Cynthia Miller, right, wiped away tears as many speakers talked about how they were sexually harassed in the past. She came to the protest with friend

Rally at Minnesota Capitol calls out sexual harassment

In speeches, several women who serve at the Capitol who said they are frustrated by harassment and discrimination regularly encountered there.
After the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld Gov. Mark Dayton's veto of the budget of the state House and Senate and the Legislative Coordinating Commissi

Gov. Dayton's line-item veto of Legislature's budget upheld

The decision hands Gov. Dayton a legal victory as he seeks to rework costly tax breaks and other measures he signed into law this spring as part of a new state budget.
MN.IT Commissioner Thomas Baden took a lot of hard questions Wednesday from members of the Senate Transportation Committee, who hammered him about the

Gov. Dayton, Minnesota officials apologize for licensing problems

Dayton, state's top IT official say rollout of state's new vehicle licensing system has not gone as planned, inconvenienced Minnesotans.
Sen. Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, in a 2016 Star Tribune file photo.

Senate worker: Schoen 'crossed line' by sending explicit photo

Sen. Dan Schoen is facing renewed calls to resign after an employee of the state Senate reported that he sent her an unsolicited sexually explicit photograph.
The polls open at the Brian Coyle Center for city elections last Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. DAVID JOLES ï

U.S. Supreme Court to consider Minnesota law barring political clothing at polls

Groups are challenging a state law about political apparel at polling places.
Mayor Betsy Hodges spoke to her campaign volunteers on election night at Gandhi Mahal restaurant in Minneapolis. GLEN STUBBE glen.stubbe@startribune.c

Caught in the middle, Hodges squeezed out in Minneapolis

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges mounted a re-election bid this year based on the same messages that had won over so many of the city's voters. But this time many of the same people who propelled Hodges into office voted to replace her. On Election Day, she became only the second Minneapolis mayor in 40 years to run for a second term and lose.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka

Minn. Senate faces December furloughs, shutdown

Amid a budget stalemate with the governor, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said the Senate will run out of money Dec 1.
After “reds” like Jerry Ewing, right, and “blues” like Tamara Kaiser discussed common stereotypes, they were invited to speak one-on-one about

'Reds' and 'blues' sit down together to try to heal the political divide

A group called Better Angels is organizing the gatherings of Republicans and Democrats to talk, listen and find what they have in common.
Customers stood in long lines at the department of vehicle services office Friday at the Sears in St. Paul.

Minn. vehicle registration problems make for long waits

A recent run of problems with the state's new vehicle licensing system is prompting new headaches during an already bumpy transition.
Gov. Mark Dayton spoke at a Capitol press conference in September, after mediation broke down with legislative leaders in the long-running political a

Nov. 1: Gov. Dayton rejects Legislature's calls to restore funding

Republicans dispute his assertion that lawmakers have access to $45 million.
Gov. Mark Dayton held a 9:30 a.m. press conference to talk about the impact of the Republican tax bill on Minnesotans.

Dayton says GOP tax plan would cut deductions for 900K Minnesotans

The governor called a morning news conference to blast the GOP plan still in the works in Washington — particularly a proposed elimination of federal deductions for income, sales tax and property tax.
CenturyLink is based in Monroe, La.

CenturyLink ordered to be more clear in billing Minn. customers

A ruling in a lawsuit by the attorney general includes ordering the company to stick to the prices it initially quotes to customers buying phone, internet and cable packages.
Dean Phillips' outreach director Clara Severson, right, accompanied him as he spoke to an Indivisible group in Edina. Dean Philips, got a hug from a s

Unhappy with Trump, Minnesota 'resistance' eyes next election

Many activists are tackling local issues, launching own bids for office.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Speaker Kurt Daudt at a press conference in September. GLEN STUBBE •

Minnesota Legislature asks Ramsey County judge to restore funding

The legal battle with the governor dates back to May.
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