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

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.
Latino business leader says he's 'not jumping ship on Trump'

Latino business leader says he's 'not jumping ship on Trump'

Lost in the fierce debate over Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s shifting immigration position is a focus on two other issues that one longtime GOP…
Officials launch awareness blitz on human trafficking ahead of 2018 Super Bowl

Officials launch awareness blitz on human trafficking ahead of 2018 Super Bowl

More than 50 digital billboards across Minnesota will aim to counter a surge in human-trafficking cases this year.
Labor secretary, Sen. Franken tour U.S. Bank Stadium, tout its diverse workforce

Labor secretary, Sen. Franken tour U.S. Bank Stadium, tout its diverse workforce

The Minnesota visit was part of Tom Perez's pitch for expanded apprenticeships in blue-collar trades, which he said would ensure more women and minorities enter the workforce.
Minnesota State Fair serves up big dose of politics in key year

Minnesota State Fair serves up big dose of politics in key year

It serves as the unofficial kickoff of the political season, with booths and exhibits intended to get voters thinking more seriously about the November elections.
State legislator proposes tax cut for Minnesota Olympic medalists

State legislator proposes tax cut for Minnesota Olympic medalists

A Republican state legislator is proposing tax cuts for Minnesota Olympic medalists who said the elite athletes shouldn't be "financially penalized upon returning home."
Minnesota offers $900K to help American Indians finish high school

Minnesota offers $900K to help American Indians finish high school

Two Minnesota nonprofits serving adult American Indians aiming to finish their high school education are recipients of nearly $900,000 in new funding by the state…
Gov. Dayton, legislative leaders abandon special session hopes

Gov. Dayton, legislative leaders abandon special session hopes

Gov. Mark Dayton won't call legislators back after impasse over light rail.
Rep. Paulsen, Bonoff clash in first Third District debate

Rep. Paulsen, Bonoff clash in first Third District debate

They talk trade, health care, transportation — and Donald Trump.
Green Party nominee Jill Stein in Minneapolis calls for policing reforms

Green Party nominee Jill Stein in Minneapolis calls for policing reforms

Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party’s candidate for president, on Tuesday called for broad, systemic changes to end police brutality in black communities, advocating for…
Paulsen, Bonoff raising huge sums in contested Third District

Paulsen, Bonoff raising huge sums in contested Third District

Money from interest groups shows a fierce battle for the congressional seat is likely.
Jason Lewis wins GOP battle to run for U.S. Rep. Kline's seat

Jason Lewis wins GOP battle to run for U.S. Rep. Kline's seat

The former talk radio personality won the four-way race to be the Republican candidate against DFLer Angie Craig in what will be a closely fought swing district contest.
On the stump, U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen steps around Donald Trump

On the stump, U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen steps around Donald Trump

In district known for ticket-splitting, Minnesota Republican has distanced himself from the Republican presidential nominee.
Water quality a top issue at FarmFest 2016

Water quality a top issue at FarmFest 2016

Gov. Mark Dayton’s signature water-quality law is expected to be a major topic of debate and discussion at this year’s FarmFest forum, one of the…
GOP lines up behind badge in debate over race, police practices

GOP lines up behind badge in debate over race, police practices

CLEVELAND – Republicans gathered for their national convention offered staunch support of police this week, and thanked officers from across the country who provided…
Trump, Minnesota GOP enter shaky alliance en route to general election

Trump, Minnesota GOP enter shaky alliance en route to general election

Fresh off their wild national convention, Minnesota Republicans are joined once and for all with the political thunderbolt that is Donald Trump.
Donald Trump's conservatism still in doubt for many

Donald Trump's conservatism still in doubt for many

Some in the Minnesota delegation aren't yet fully on board this train.
Minnesota millennials give voice to their peers' vital role in Trump's bid

Minnesota millennials give voice to their peers' vital role in Trump's bid

Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has a dramatic edge among younger voters, one that Trump tried to cut into Tuesday night.
Minnesota delegates, GOP leaders say Trump shows 'strength' after recent violence

Minnesota delegates, GOP leaders say Trump shows 'strength' after recent violence

Amid RNC, world turmoil, Minnesota delegates cite Trump's security stance.
How Gov. Dayton got to his statement on race after Castile was shot

How Gov. Dayton got to his statement on race after Castile was shot

The governor's core advisers are more diverse, and are sharing their stories.
Gov. Mark Dayton's plan fell short, but Legislature didn't ignore education

Gov. Mark Dayton's plan fell short, but Legislature didn't ignore education

Lost amid the rancorous legislative session earlier this year, which ended with the 11th-hour collapse of a major bonding and transportation bill, was a small…
NAACP head calls for policing reforms

NAACP head calls for policing reforms

NAACP national president Cornell Brooks called on Minnesota state leaders Sunday to strengthen laws prohibiting racial profiling and for police departments to improve racial data…
After deadly week, unease rises on both sides of the badge

After deadly week, unease rises on both sides of the badge

The shooting of Philando Castile has revived calls for more oversight of police, including changes to officer training, traffic stop procedures and misconduct investigations.
Gov. Dayton: 'I'm heartbroken for Minnesota'

Gov. Dayton: 'I'm heartbroken for Minnesota'

Minnesota's congressional delegation joined calls for a federal investigation; Obama says Americans should be 'deeply troubled'
Dayton selects McKeig as next Minn. Supreme Court justice

Dayton selects McKeig as next Minn. Supreme Court justice

Gov. Mark Dayton has selected Fourth Judicial District Judge Anne McKeig as the next Supreme Court justice, giving the state's highest court the first female majority since 1991.
Minnesota courts cyberattack underscores growing threat

Minnesota courts cyberattack underscores growing threat

A recent cyberattack on the Minnesota Judicial Branch's website underscored a growing threat that state officials warn will become more difficult to combat without additional…
Business groups and GOP push for state law to override cities' sick, wage rules

Business groups and GOP push for state law to override cities' sick, wage rules

Minnesota business groups are responding to recent sick leave proposals, pushing for a preemptive state law and are also preparing a lawsuit against Minneapolis.
Court to hear arguments in State Auditor Rebecca Otto's lawsuit

Court to hear arguments in State Auditor Rebecca Otto's lawsuit

Otto contends that state legislators overstepped their constitutional bounds when they approved a law that privatizes county audits.
Trump will likely be a wild card in Minnesota's Third District

Trump will likely be a wild card in Minnesota's Third District

His spot atop GOP ticket could be trouble for Rep. Erik Paulsen in a district that went for President Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Dayton ignores last-minute pleas, lets $260M tax cut bill expire

Dayton ignores last-minute pleas, lets $260M tax cut bill expire

While Mark Dayton said he supported many of the bill's provisions, his administration caught an error that officials said would have cost the state treasury $101 million over the next three years.
Amid divisions, DFL leaders target Trump at state convention

Amid divisions, DFL leaders target Trump at state convention

Minnesota DFLers at their Saturday state convention warned fellow DFLers that divisions among them could hurt their electoral prospects this fall.
Divided DFLers await fierce debate at state convention

Divided DFLers await fierce debate at state convention

Delegates to the convention in Minneapolis expect feuding from the Sanders and Clinton camps.
GOP legislative hopefuls file en masse for office

GOP legislative hopefuls file en masse for office

Leaders touted lineup of candidates for fall elections.
Dayton accuses GOP of burying sports grants over transgender athlete policy

Dayton accuses GOP of burying sports grants over transgender athlete policy

The governor said he would not call a special session unless legislators reauthorize a sales tax exemption on tickets for high school sporting events.
Gov. Dayton says he's open to special session, on his terms

Gov. Dayton says he's open to special session, on his terms

"I am going to take the weekend to think about what requirements I would have to call a special session," the governor said at a news conference.
Plenty of blame at Capitol after disappointing close of session

Plenty of blame at Capitol after disappointing close of session

Gov. Dayton won't commit to a special session to try again on spending, transportation bills.
In first crack in stalemate, Minn. legislators agree on $259M tax bill

In first crack in stalemate, Minn. legislators agree on $259M tax bill

Outstate Minnesota wins big in tax bill; St. Paul soccer stadium included.

GOP's $800 million public-works bill fails to pass

Legislative leaders are still negotiating over final budget priorities.
House GOP has transportation plan with $100M in car tab fees

House GOP has transportation plan with $100M in car tab fees

House GOP plan would boost transportation spending by $600 million through higher license tab fees, drawing on the state surplus and borrowing.
Dayton alters road, transit funding plan; GOP still says no

Dayton alters road, transit funding plan; GOP still says no

House Republicans flatly rejected the governor's proposals for either a gas tax hike or an increase in vehicle license tab fees, saying they amounted to unnecessary tax increases.
Ahead of Monday legislative showdown, Dayton staff crafts road work compromise plan

Ahead of Monday legislative showdown, Dayton staff crafts road work compromise plan

As election-year session draws to a close, much work remains.
Legislators hoping for transportation, public-works bill are on edge

Legislators hoping for transportation, public-works bill are on edge

The increasing prospect of no public-works projects this session could affect fall election chances.

Senate DFL proposes borrowing $1.5 billion for capital improvements

Bonding proposal would pay for infrastructure improvements.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt is facing a major political test

House Speaker Kurt Daudt is facing a major political test

As he tries to successfully navigate the end of the legislative session, Daudt then will pivot to a crucial election where he will fight to hold the GOP House majority.
Bipartisan group of legislators urges more transparency on major spending bills

Bipartisan group of legislators urges more transparency on major spending bills

A bipartisan group of state senators is pushing for more transparency and time on major spending bills in the final days of the legislative session.…
House debates budget bill that holds spending steady for schools

House debates budget bill that holds spending steady for schools

GOP budget measure would repurpose funds, not use any new money.
Legislators crack down on 'patent trolls' who target small businesses

Legislators crack down on 'patent trolls' who target small businesses

They buy patents, then threaten firms with suits over alleged violations.
State Sen. Terri Bonoff to challenge Rep. Paulsen, sources say

State Sen. Terri Bonoff to challenge Rep. Paulsen, sources say

The Minnetonka senator's team is planning to launch her campaign Saturday at the local Senate convention.
Dayton appoints new head of jobs and economic development agency

Dayton appoints new head of jobs and economic development agency

Katie Clark Sieben is stepping down as commissioner of the state's jobs and economic development agency and will be succeeded by Dayton's deputy chief of staff.
Candidates of color for Minn. Legislature struggle to break in

Candidates of color for Minn. Legislature struggle to break in

More than a dozen who have launched campaigns for House and Senate seats this year have encountered enormous challenges.
Hundreds gather downtown after Jamar Clark decision

Hundreds gather downtown after Jamar Clark decision

DNA and other evidence confirms officers' account that Clark grabbed one officer's gun and was not handcuffed when he was shot, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. Activists complained that Freeman discounted some witness accounts.
Reaction: Activists say police were aggressors in Clark confrontation

Reaction: Activists say police were aggressors in Clark confrontation

Activists immediately criticized Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman's decision to not charge the officers.

Ask a legislator to officiate at your wedding? Maybe

A Senate bill would allow these 201 state officials to perform civil ceremonies.

GOP bill would limit bathroom use to 'biological sex'

An "appalled" Dayton said he would veto the plan on a transgender issue.
Dayton outlines $100M proposal to reverse racial disparities

Dayton outlines $100M proposal to reverse racial disparities

His proposals, if enacted, would provide one-time infusions of capital into business-development programs, youth employment initiatives and down-payment assistance for lower-income first-time home buyers
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