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Ricardo Lopez

Reporter | Politics and government
phone: 651-925-5044
Ricardo Lopez covers all aspects of Minnesota politics, the state budget, the administration and state agencies.
Recent content from Ricardo Lopez
Dayton follows through on threat, vetoes 5 budget bills

Dayton follows through on threat, vetoes 5 budget bills

Calling the proposals harmful and inadequate, he urged Republicans to reconsider.
Gov. Dayton vetoes two bills that sought limits on abortions in Minn.

Gov. Dayton vetoes two bills that sought limits on abortions in Minn.

They would have ended state funds for abortions and enacted restrictions.
For Minnesota Legislature's young parents, life's a juggle

For Minnesota Legislature's young parents, life's a juggle

Long hours, late nights at Capitol mean less time at home with spouses, kids.
Protests online and outside Paulsen, Lewis offices follow health care vote

Protests online and outside Paulsen, Lewis offices follow health care vote

Group shows anger over votes for GOP measure repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
Senate passes measure limiting abortions, but Dayton promises veto

Senate passes measure limiting abortions, but Dayton promises veto

Dayton vows to veto the GOP measure to end state funds, enact restrictions.
Minnesotans favor Syria strikes, oppose wall, deporting

Minnesotans favor Syria strikes, oppose wall, deporting

Minnesota Poll: A large majority of Minnesotans support President Donald Trump's decision to order missile strikes against Syria but oppose other top priorities he has on national security.
Minnesota House backs ban on state dollars for abortion

Minnesota House backs ban on state dollars for abortion

The measure bans state dollars from covering the cost of abortions for low-income women on public medical programs. If it passes the Senate, it will face a veto by Dayton.
Bill O'Reilly ouster stirs up women-in-workplace conversation at Capitol

Bill O'Reilly ouster stirs up women-in-workplace conversation at Capitol

Last week’s ouster of Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News ratings juggernaut, over quiet settlements in numerous sexual harassment cases against women, drew attention to the…
Marijuana rally at Capitol calls for decriminalizing pot

Marijuana rally at Capitol calls for decriminalizing pot

Cannabis supporters took a light-hearted approach to a serious message on drug laws.
Perpich Center for Arts Education waits, watches as legislators decide its future

Perpich Center for Arts Education waits, watches as legislators decide its future

Struggling high school and middle school operated by the center are in limbo.
Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman announces bid for governor

Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman announces bid for governor

The Republican kicked off his candidacy on Wednesday.
Bureau of Mediation Services commissioner dies from sudden illness

Bureau of Mediation Services commissioner dies from sudden illness

Josh Tilsen, a member of Gov. Mark Dayton's cabinet, died Tuesday after a sudden illness. according to a family member.

Republican attorney Harry Niska joins race for AG

Attorney from Ramsey says he would focus on consumer protection, public safety.
Minnesota abortion foes renew effort to ban using state money for procedure

Minnesota abortion foes renew effort to ban using state money for procedure

MCCL renews bid to overturn ruling allowing state to fund abortions for poor women.
After two terms of Dayton, DFL losing grip on outstate voters

After two terms of Dayton, DFL losing grip on outstate voters

His social agenda, farm policies don't mesh with many rural and small-town voters.
Dayton denounces religious bias at Muslim Day event

Dayton denounces religious bias at Muslim Day event

Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday forcefully denounced religious bias, delivering an implicit critique of President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and recent executives implemented by his administration.…
Gov. Mark Dayton urges Legislature to OK federal funding for 28 road, bridge projects

Gov. Mark Dayton urges Legislature to OK federal funding for 28 road, bridge projects

Dayton said further delay risks losing summer construction season, federal funding.

Minn. Senate controller fired after felony forgery charges from past job

Nonpartisan finance officer in Minn. Senate let go after officials learn of felony forgery charges tied to earlier employment.

Minnesota Senate GOP transportation plan calls for diverting general fund money

Republicans want to divert $400 million to pay for roads and bridges.

Dayton condemns burglary, graffiti targeting black family in Delano

Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday condemned the burglary and racist graffiti at a Delano home belonging to a black family that has left the town…
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will not run for Minnesota governor in 2018

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will not run for Minnesota governor in 2018

Her surprise decision clears way for fellow DFLers.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's budget proposal swells to north of $46 billion

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's budget proposal swells to north of $46 billion

The governor wants $147 million more in new spending; $100 million would go toward expanding voluntary preschool.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt moves to block legislative pay increases

House Speaker Kurt Daudt moves to block legislative pay increases

One of the state's top Republicans said the Minnesota House would not fund recently recommended pay increases to legislative salaries.
Bipartisan bill calls for statewide strategy to end HIV/AIDS epidemic

Bipartisan bill calls for statewide strategy to end HIV/AIDS epidemic

Stubborn rate of new infections prompts call for strategy to knock down numbers.
Taunts, scuffles as Trump backers and detractors meet at Capitol rally

Taunts, scuffles as Trump backers and detractors meet at Capitol rally

Scuffles broke out Saturday in the rotunda of the Minnesota State Capitol at a pro-Trump rally that drew several hundred supporters of the president and a smaller group of counterprotesters. Six people were arrested.
U regents vote has some asking: What happened to diversity?

U regents vote has some asking: What happened to diversity?

DFL Rep. Jennifer Schultz is leading the charge to reform the way regents are chosen after her fellow legislators elected four white men last month.
'Meth is back' as record amount of drugs seized in Minnesota last year

'Meth is back' as record amount of drugs seized in Minnesota last year

Minnesota health and law enforcement officials on Monday reported an "alarming" rise in the amount of drugs seized by authorities last year, led by a…
Hoping to avoid political gridlock, Gov. Dayton steps up outreach to legislators

Hoping to avoid political gridlock, Gov. Dayton steps up outreach to legislators

Governor hopes private meetings set a better tone.
Owners of small Minnesota liquor stores gird for Sunday hours

Owners of small Minnesota liquor stores gird for Sunday hours

With the Legislature's repeal of the ban all but clinched, some owners fear higher overhead.
Minn. budget officials to release economic forecast

Minn. budget officials to release economic forecast

State budget officials on Tuesday will give state legislators a starting point from which to make spending decisions for the next two years. Released twice…
Parents of Minn. transgender children find some hope in reassurance from Dayton, school officials

Parents of Minn. transgender children find some hope in reassurance from Dayton, school officials

Gov. Mark Dayton forcefully denounced Trump's withdrawal of a federal directive that allowed transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

Senate Republicans, new to majority, unveil 'Advancing Minnesota' agenda

Senate Republicans mount push for tax cuts, reduced government spending and transportation funding.
Feb. 22: Bills to crack down on Minnesota protesters advance in House, Senate

Feb. 22: Bills to crack down on Minnesota protesters advance in House, Senate

Two bills that would crack down on protesters who block highways, public transit or airport roads passed, 10-6, along party lines.
Omar navigates rising political celebrity as she adjusts to life in Minn. Legislature

Omar navigates rising political celebrity as she adjusts to life in Minn. Legislature

First Somali-American state legislator finding her way at the Capitol.
Push to raise $100,000 for Nellie Stone Johnson statue at State Capitol

Push to raise $100,000 for Nellie Stone Johnson statue at State Capitol

An effort to raise more than $100,000 for a statue of Nellie Stone Johnson, a black civil rights and labor leader during the 1930s and…
Trump's trade talk rattles Minnesota corporate leaders

Trump's trade talk rattles Minnesota corporate leaders

Cargill boss, others say globalization has helped Minnesota companies.
Dayton to have surgery to remove prostate, aiming to excise cancer

Dayton to have surgery to remove prostate, aiming to excise cancer

Mayo Clinic procedure for governor on March 2 to remove prostate, says cancer has not spread further
For Gov. Dayton, cancer diagnosis is just another challenge in the job

For Gov. Dayton, cancer diagnosis is just another challenge in the job

"I've had other difficult life situations. I'm accustomed to them," he said of diagnosis.
Two Dayton health scares and a turbulent week for Trump

Two Dayton health scares and a turbulent week for Trump

A fainting episode and cancer diagnosis jump-started a wild week in Minnesota politics. After muscling through a lengthy budget presentation on Tuesday, Gov. Mark Dayton…
Dayton expects to finish term after prostate cancer diagnosis

Dayton expects to finish term after prostate cancer diagnosis

Gov. Mark Dayton said he would undergo more testing after he collapsed Monday night while delivering his State of the State address.
Gov. Dayton's address cut short by collapse

Gov. Dayton's address cut short by collapse

Legislators immediately adjourned the gathering, and Dayton appeared to be seated upright and aware shortly after the incident occurred, and he was escorted out of the room.
As Rep. Keith Ellison seeks new role, potential successors swarm

As Rep. Keith Ellison seeks new role, potential successors swarm

The possibility of an open Fifth Congressional District seat is bringing all kinds of DFLers out as potential replacements for U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison if…
Minnesota women for Trump are hoping for change

Minnesota women for Trump are hoping for change

With women divided over Trump, many in Minnesota who backed him — and some who didn't — say he deserves chance.
Kaler asks Legislature for 12 percent boost in U funding

Kaler asks Legislature for 12 percent boost in U funding

He says taxpayer dollars won't go to coach buyouts.
Dayton unveils $300M tax plan; GOP unveils health care bills

Dayton unveils $300M tax plan; GOP unveils health care bills

Combined, the proposals by the DFL governor and Republicans who control the Legislature would cost the state $600 million.
Dayton unveils $1.5B public works bill, says it would create 23,000 jobs

Dayton unveils $1.5B public works bill, says it would create 23,000 jobs

Dayton issued his second salvo of the session, urging lawmakers to pass a major public works bill this year after failing to pass one last year.

Dayton to Chamber of Commerce: State needs call for new spending

Governor sees more uncertainty but urges added spending.
Dayton, legislators kick off session in newly refurbished Capitol

Dayton, legislators kick off session in newly refurbished Capitol

A newly refurbished State Capitol was the backdrop Tuesday as 201 state legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton embarked on a debate about state spending over…
'I'm not going to go quietly into the night,' Gov. Dayton says

'I'm not going to go quietly into the night,' Gov. Dayton says

As GOP-led legislative session opens today, the governor prepares for his final budget showdown.

Minnesota Supreme Court returns to historic chamber

Justices will hear two cases, the first at the Capitol since renovations began in 2014.
Michelle MacDonald, former Supreme Court candidate, fined for violating campaign-finance law

Michelle MacDonald, former Supreme Court candidate, fined for violating campaign-finance law

MacDonald was accused of citing an endorsement that she did not have.
New state Senate leader fervent in faith, measured in approach

New state Senate leader fervent in faith, measured in approach

Soft-spoken, with a ministerial air that befits the title of the book he wrote before entering politics, Gazelka is described by colleagues from both parties as thoughtful, polite and measured.
Complaint sheds new details on D.C. cab incident involving Omar

Complaint sheds new details on D.C. cab incident involving Omar

D.C. authorities are investigating an incident involving an incoming Minnesota legislator and a D.C. cabdriver.
Omar's campaign says she reported cabbie incident to D.C. authorities

Omar's campaign says she reported cabbie incident to D.C. authorities

She filed reports of threats, bigotry with two Washington, D.C., agencies.
Minn. officials project $1.4B budget surplus as fight looms

Minn. officials project $1.4B budget surplus as fight looms

Gov. Dayton offers cautionary note, citing "continuing economic insecurity," but political leaders likely will fight over the sum as they debate priorities in the upcoming legislative session.
Minn. leaders expect to see a modest budget surplus today

Minn. leaders expect to see a modest budget surplus today

Friday's forecast will likely stoke political clashes over tax cuts, infrastructure and health care.

Regional Human Rights office to be staffed full time in St. Cloud

Previously, staff was on site to investigate discrimination claims just twice a month.

State's Human Rights Dept. toils with half the staff it had at peak

The nearly 50 percent drop in full-time staff since 1990 comes amid a growing workload and heightened racial tensions in Minnesota over the past year.
Gridlock looms at Minn. Capitol as Gov. Dayton, Daudt dig in

Gridlock looms at Minn. Capitol as Gov. Dayton, Daudt dig in

Republicans scored major electoral upsets, flipping control of the state Senate and surprising DFL leaders.
GOP's Paulsen defeats challenger Bonoff in Minnesota 3rd District

GOP's Paulsen defeats challenger Bonoff in Minnesota 3rd District

The four-term congressman from Eden Prairie, handily won re-election, beating his Democratic opponent by more than double-digits.
For two American Indian legislators, images from Standing Rock are hard to take

For two American Indian legislators, images from Standing Rock are hard to take

Images and video that emerged in October from a crackdown on protesters being arrested after blocking a proposed oil pipeline in North Dakota resonated deeply…
Paulsen and Bonoff get outside help in final days of close race in the Third

Paulsen and Bonoff get outside help in final days of close race in the Third

Congress members stump for their respective candidates.
Gov. Dayton proposes rebates to ease sting of rising health premiums

Gov. Dayton proposes rebates to ease sting of rising health premiums

The governor on Thursday proposed direct financial assistance to Minnesotans facing skyrocketing premiums on MNsure plans next year.
2016 Minn. Poll: Majority say Trump unfit for job because of lewd remarks

2016 Minn. Poll: Majority say Trump unfit for job because of lewd remarks

The poll results also reflect a dramatic gender divide that has been evident through much of the campaign.
Paulsen distances himself from Trump as he fends off DFL blitz

Paulsen distances himself from Trump as he fends off DFL blitz

Incumbent snubs nominee after latest flap, while DFL sees Bonoff as its best chance in years.
Dayton urges lawmakers to agree on a fix for rising health premiums

Dayton urges lawmakers to agree on a fix for rising health premiums

Governor says he'll call special session if both sides can agree on a plan.
Angie Craig, Jason Lewis spar over health care and Donald Trump

Angie Craig, Jason Lewis spar over health care and Donald Trump

The DFL and GOP candidates drowned out Independence Party contender Paula Overby.
Dayton creates council to improve practices in wake of police shootings

Dayton creates council to improve practices in wake of police shootings

In the wake of high profile police shootings of black men in Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton announces council that will examine policing practices and make recommendations.
Political outreach to minorities intensifies in rural Minnesota changes

Political outreach to minorities intensifies in rural Minnesota changes

As rural demographics shift, so does networking strategy of both parties.
At U forum, Nancy Pelosi bullish on Democrats' electoral prospects

At U forum, Nancy Pelosi bullish on Democrats' electoral prospects

During forum at U, she said she fully expects to see Angie Craig and state Sen. Terri Bonoff in Congress.
Trump loses support of Minn. GOP leaders, including Paulsen

Trump loses support of Minn. GOP leaders, including Paulsen

The fallout from Donald Trump's 2005 remarks about how his celebrity emboldened him to grope and kiss women extended to Minnesota, where prominent GOP officials on Saturday began withdrawing their support.
Minnesota wants to reclaim top spot in voter turnout

Minnesota wants to reclaim top spot in voter turnout

Secretary of State Steve Simon wants to make Minnesota No. 1 again — in voter turnout, that is. Simon, the state’s top elections official, has…

Minnesota Supreme Court dismisses voting rights case from conservative group

The ruling said the broad challenge should first be heard in district court.
Gov. Dayton again says special legislative session before election unlikely

Gov. Dayton again says special legislative session before election unlikely

Transportation funding was still the sticking point in the most recent talks.
Minnesota swears in its first American Indian Supreme Court justice

Minnesota swears in its first American Indian Supreme Court justice

The court now has its first first female majority since 1991.
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