Staff Directory 298000161

Stephen Montemayor

Reporter | U.S. District Court and federal agencies
Phone: 612-673-1755
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Stephen Montemayor covers politics and government in Minnesota. He previously reported on federal courts and law enforcement for the Star Tribune.


A native of Kansas City, Montemayor lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two cats. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism and enjoys camping, travel and a good beer.
Recent content from Stephen Montemayor
“I don’t see how new red flag laws are going to be any more beneficial if we’re not enforcing the kind of ‘red flag light’ bills that we hav

Amid pressure for gun control, Republicans cite lagging enforcement of existing laws

Just hours before Margaret Flath’s husband shot and killed her in a domestic dispute two years ago, he had bonded out of jail in Wadena,…
Abdelhamid Al-Madioum

St. Louis Park man who joined ISIS is believed found in Syrian prison

Abdelhamid Al-Madioum, 22, disappeared in 2015 while on a family vacation. He claims that the FBI interrogated him in a Syrian prison.

Libertarian Party in court for easier path to Minnesota ballot

Its first challenge is to Minnesota's primary voting restriction.
Michelle Fischbach, shown here when Tim Pawlenty introduced her as his running mate, announced Monday she was challenging U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson.

Analyst: Fischbach not invulnerable but makes Seventh District race a 'tossup'

Another national political analyst considers former Minnesota Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach’s challenge to longtime DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson a “tossup.” David Wasserman of the…
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon in 2016.

Cost forecast for Super Tuesday in Minnesota triples, thanks in part to 2 legalize-marijuana parties

Secretary of state says new major parties on ballots will boost costs.
Former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach, left, and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson. The Seventh Congressional District battle sets up what could be the most comp

Michelle Fischbach to test Collin Peterson's strength in a pro-Trump district

Their battle sets up what could be the most competitive and closely watched U.S. House race in Minnesota
An ATF official at the scene of a shooting in South St. Paul in 2018. A record 3,909 firearms were confiscated by Minnesota law enforcement last year,

ATF says record year for gun seizures in Minnesota

The recent mass shootings have renewed scrutiny of semiautomatic military-style rifles.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks at the Iowa Federation of Labor convention on Aug. 21 in Altoona, Iowa. (AP Phot

Klobuchar's prosecutor past, once an asset, puts her on the defensive

The same job that served as the foundation of Klobuchar's political career has been the source of fresh skepticism among voters of color and progressives.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, smiled to one of his supporters as he spoke at MPR's booth at the Minnesota State Fa

Minnesota is key battleground state, Sanders tells fairgoers

A thick crush of supporters followed Sanders between radio and television interviews, chanting his name and cheering.
In this file photo, Angel and Carl Larsen, owners and founders of Telescope Media Group, stand in front of family and friends outside the Federal Cour

St. Cloud couple who refused to film same-sex wedding win in appeals court

Appeals panel says state law violates speech rights.

Loss in court slices millions from Minnesota state budget

The state of Minnesota is potentially out more than $130 million this budget cycle after losing a court battle that will greatly limit the state's ability to collect taxes on trust accounts in other states.
A crowd on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol listened to a speaker as they gathered for a rally against gun violence earlier in August where Go

Pressure builds for new Minn. laws to deal with gun violence

Other states have passed "red flag" and background-check bills, part of a national movement for tougher gun laws now stirring again in Minnesota.
Kyle Rosenquist checked out a semiautomatic rifle at Bill’s Gun Shop in Robbinsdale. He plans to join the nearly 290,000 gun-permit holders in the s

Carnage raises scrutiny of popular, widely available rifles

Since a federal ban on assault weapons expired in 2004 after a decade in force, the nation has become awash in the guns, with up to 20 million circulating.
Daniel Karpowitz is a New York academic tapped to help lead the Minnesota Department of Corrections' prisoner education and second-chance efforts.

New Walz recruit aims to expand college in Minnesota prisons

Daniel Karpowitz comes from Bard Institute, which has been credited with cutting recidivism rates for prisoners.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon met last week with state officials tasked with reviewing election security strategies before absentee primary

New info about election hacks raises the alarm in Minnesota

After partisan blockade, Minnesota officials now have access to federal security money.
Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, front, and Assistant Commissioner Booker Hodges.

Minnesota public safety leaders hit the road for feedback on police recruitment

Officials from the state Department of Public Safety are hitting the road this summer to collect feedback designed to aid law enforcement recruitment efforts. The…
A sign for Bde Maka Ska at 32nd Street Beach.

Lake Calhoun or Bde Maka Ska? Minnesota Supreme Court to decide

The state high court agrees to hear the legal challenge over state's 2018 decision to rename the Minneapolis lake.
DOC Deputy Commissioner Sarah Walker, pictured at a rally in February, has resigned.

Ex-corrections official says she's unfairly accused of lobbying on state time

Sarah Walker stepped down abruptly on Friday.
Attorney General Keith Ellison and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announce a working group and public hearings about what they call police

Ellison, Harrington kick off working group on deadly police encounters

In wake of police shootings, new group aims to guide policy

Minnesota courts hit reset on troubled online access system

Scores of errors set back remote access project.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Nancy Leppink and Gov. Tim Walz after the bill signing ceremony.

Minnesota lawmakers, officials hail new wage-theft law as nation's strongest

Gov. Tim Walz signs bill making wage theft a felony in Minnesota.
Attorney General Keith Ellison leaves Fergus Falls City Hall after holding a public listening session there.

Attorney General Keith Ellison goes on the road to counter hate

Rural Minnesota is emerging as a key part of state officials' search for solutions to hate and bias-motivated crime.
Bjorn Ihler, who survived terrorist Anders Breivik’s shooting rampage in 2011, spoke at Macalester College this week.

Norway terror attack survivor: Shooter wasn't a monster, but 'a human being like us'

Bjorn Ihler shares lessons of 2011 extremist violence.
FILE - In this March 6, 2019, file photo, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., sits with fellow Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee during a bil

State GOP lawmaker calling for ethics probe of Rep. Ilhan Omar

GOP state Rep. Steve Drazkowski also was behind campaign finance complaints.
Attorney General Keith Ellison spoke at an inclusivity forum on Friday, June 21, in Fergus Falls, Minn.

Ellison says he'll defend abortion restrictions in state statutes

Some wondered how state attorney general, an abortion-rights advocate, would respond.
A state probe of campaign finance violations showed that Rep. Ilhan Omar filed federal taxes in 2014 and 2015 with her current husband, Ahmed Hirsi, w

New documents revisit questions on Rep. Omar's marriage history

Although she has legally corrected the discrepancy, she has declined to say anything about how or why it happened.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and other officials say they are reviewing longstanding inconsistencies in police agencies' collection of dat

Keith Ellison zeroes in on hate crimes

Law enforcement partnerships are seen as key to deterring acts based on bias.
Justice David Lillehaug is a former U.S. attorney in Minnesota who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

Justice David Lillehaug to step down next year due to illness

In a statement released Wednesday morning, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Lillehaug, 65, said he had intended to seek re-election in 2020 but is coping with Parkinson's disease.
State Sen. Kari Dziedzic

Minn. legislator revives push to strip rapists' parental rights

Alabama and Minnesota are unique among the states in that they have no statute ending parental rights for fathers found to have conceived a child by rape or incest.
Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, Assistant Commissioner Booker Hodges, and Community Affairs Director Nicole Archbold, sat fo

Top cop John Harrington charts a path for change in Minnesota

John Harrington wants to scale up the ethos of community policing to a vast wing of government serving law enforcement from Duluth to Albert Lea.
In this March 16, 2018, file photo, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon discusses election security issues in his office in St. Paul.

Minnesota joins nationwide election security 'academy'

Six-month program will focus on cybersecurity across the state, nation.
Governor Tim Walz, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and House Speaker Melissa Hortman held a press conference Sunday night to announce a budget agr

Legislative defeats on gun restrictions set stage for 2020

State lawmakers defeated stricter firearms laws, but neither side is backing down.
"It gives us hope because we're being taken seriously," wage theft victim Nely Bautista said of the the Minnesota measure.

May 23: Lawmakers reach bipartisan deal to make wage theft a felony in Minnesota

Law also increases state's budget for enforcement.
Voters cast their ballots at a voting center in Minneapolis Friday, Sept. 23, 2016.

Budget deal frees up federal election security money for Minnesota

Minnesota is the only state not to use the funds since Congress approved the money more than a year ago.
State legislative leaders have agreed to a top priority of advocates for sex assault survivors: the formation of a task force to examine how authoriti

New Minnesota sex crimes task force survives in late budget deal

Gun control, probation reform not part of compromise public safety package.
Sen. Warren Limmer expressed skepticism about a task force to reform sex crime laws.

Long-sought rape law reforms in jeopardy as legislative session winds down

As session ends, lawmakers differ on the need for a task force to review legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka walked toward the Governor's office for budget negotiations early Sunday afternoon.

Budget tensions rise with fiery remarks by Walz, GOP senators

The contrasting scenes with Minnesota senators approving a stopgap bill and Gov. Tim Walz addressing teachers reflected the strains after a week of closed-door budget talks.
OxyContin pills.

Minnesota to sue family behind opioid maker Purdue Pharma

The lawsuit has become part of the political fight over proposed fees on makers of opioid drugs.
Activists filled an overflow room Tuesday as a conference committee debated the gun measures, with Sen. Ron Latz on screen.

Minnesota gun control proposals hit obstacle in conference panel

Proposals fail to advance in surprise conference vote on public safety spending.
“These increases are not normal,” Keith Ellison said

Ellison joins suit targeting 'staggering' drug prices

42 states and Puerto Rico allege that the collusion led to large price increases for 112 drugs, some of which soared more than 1,000% beginning in 2013.
Sexual assault survivor Asma Mohammed of Rise testifies during the meeting about eliminating the statute of limitations for criminal sexual assault ca

Bill to remove statute of limitations in Minnesota rape cases prompts heated debate

Minnesota lawmakers are largely unified around the need to improve the way rape cases are investigated and prosecuted. But a proposal to eliminate the statute…
Sexual assault survivor and activist Sarah Super, right, hugged Rep. Aisha Gomez, D-Minneapolis, after testifying Thursday.

Statewide task force proposed for revising Minnesota's rape laws

Changes to sex assault statutes advance in Senate, while statute of limitations bill prompts emotional testimony.
First Lady Gwen Walz greeted Randy Anderson, a board member with the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition.

Minnesota first lady Gwen Walz spotlights college opportunity in prison

Minnesota's first lady will convene talk at screening of PBS documentary.
Tonja Honsey is the first formerly incarcerated woman to be appointed to the state's Sentencing Guidelines Commission.

State's sentencing commission gaining new perspective

Believed to be the first woman to serve on the commission after having served time behind bars, Tonja Honsey brings a wealth of experience helping mothers and pregnant inmates in the years since her return to society.
The state Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the former Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr lacked authority to change the name

DNR to appeal ruling against renaming Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska

Commissioner concerned ruling will hinder future efforts to rename waters.
Jenny Teeson, who testified in front of various committees earlier this session about being drugged and raped by her ex-husband, thanked Sen. John Hof

Survivor persists, state Senate passes 'marital rape' repeal

After the Senate's 66-0 vote, Gov. Tim Walz could sign the repeal later this week, striking Minnesota from the ledger of states that still have loopholes that make it difficult under certain circumstances to prosecute men for sexual assault.
Former DFL state Rep. Joe Radinovich resigned from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board on Thursday.

Walz reprimands IRRRB chief in wake of DFLer's resignation

Gov. Tim Walz said last week he will tighten hiring rules after reports that the IRRRB — long accused of DFL cronyism — passed over a qualified woman and deviated from normal procedures by publicly posting the position for just 24 hours, instead of the usual 21 days.
Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell, seen Feb. 8, said a bill passed this week by the Senate falls short of funds needed to improve officer and inma

DOC chief: Senate public safety bill would lead to 'increased risks to safety'

Corrections chief says the bill would lead to the loss of dozens of officers' jobs.
Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, shown in March.

Senate GOP lawmaker: Minnesota gun bills not 'germane' to public safety spending bill

Gun debate will get pushed to end-of-session budget talks.

Public unions in Minnesota face legal challenge from Forest Lake school worker

She's represented by a nonprofit group that wants to make it easier for nonunion public sector workers to opt out of contributing to their unions.
Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, listened as Budget Commissioner Myron Frans spoke about her Omnibus State Government Bill before the Senate Finance C

House DFLers sidestep Green New Deal amendment meant to divide

GOP measure aimed to call attention to its costs.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.

While hackers threaten 2020 election systems, politics intruding on security fixes

Minnesota hasn't touched federal money to ward off hackers. A key Republican calls the issue "no big thing."
Gov. Tim Walz, shown Tuesday, might have to intervene in the shaping the leadership of the state’s premier public university amid an internal DFL di

Diversity concerns threaten process to pick four U regents

A governor has not had to elect regents since 2001. And the internal DFL divisions have added to concerns over legislative delays surrounding endgame budget and tax disputes in the Capitol.
Secretary of State Steve Simon held his hand over his heart as the Minnesota State Patrol Honor Guard posted the colors before the state's 10 electors

Appeals Court judges order release of Minn. voter information data

Voters Alliance says it needs the records to spot fraud; state officials plan to appeal.
Gov. Tim Walz signed the hands-free cellphone bill into law while surrounded by family members of victims of distracted driving at the Capitol in St.

Families of victims credited for 'hands-free' phone law in ceremony with Gov. Walz

They spent years rallying support to limit cellphone use while driving
Officer Chris Walswick with the Burnsville Police Department talked with a driver during a traffic stop related to a distracted-driving patrol. Office

'Hands-free' cellphone bill signed by Gov. Walz

The Legislature gave final approval to the measure on Thursday.
The different formulations of cannabis that were dispensed at Minnesota Medical Solutions, the state's first medical marijuana dispensary in 2015.

Minn. Corrections Department to allow medical marijuana while under supervision, parole

Under past policy, offenders prescribed the drug could be sent to prison.

Senate Democrats convene faux 'banned bills' committee for measures rejected by Republicans

If only for 90 minutes — in a world of make-believe — DFL lawmakers called the shots Monday on a panel of the Republican-led Minnesota…

Asset forfeiture law change getting bipartisan backing in Legislature

The bill would limit government seizures of money or property to criminal cases, and then only after a conviction.

Walz wants to open three new human rights offices in outstate Minnesota

Worthington, Bemidji and Duluth are in the running.

Repeal of Minnesota's 'marital rape exception' headed for final vote

Officials estimate repeal could result in seven new convictions each year.
Attorney General Keith Ellison at a listening session in January.

Ellison backs challenge to Trump order ending protections for Liberians

Ellison cites harm to Minnesota health care industry employers.
Senate Republican Majority Leader Sen. Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa)

Minn. Senate GOP leader willing to give hearings to gun control bills

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, a Republican, is a vocal opponent of gun control, but he says he would be willing to hear proposals 'on both sides' regarding universal background checks and a "red flag" law.
Female driver texting on mobile phone while driving.

'Hands-free' cellphone bill advances in Minn. Senate

The Minnesota Senate voted overwhelmingly Monday for a bill barring cellphone use while driving unless the phone is being used in a "hands-free" mode.Although the…
Jenny Heger Teeson spoke about having her then husband drug her, rape her and record the whole thing. She testified for a bill that would remove the m

Repeal of 'marital rape' defense clears first Minnesota Senate committee as deadline nears

House unanimously passed identical legislation last month.
Nely Bautista had to confront her boss to get the $390 she was owed for a cleaning job.

Minn. attorney general, lawmakers look to crack down on wage theft

Attorney General Keith Ellison is creating a new labor division to address economic crimes.

Senate panel to take up Minnesota's 'marital rape' exception

Monday hearing comes as deadline to move bill nears.
Former Minnesota Attorney Generals Lori Swanson and Mike Hatch.

Former AGs Lori Swanson, Mike Hatch to open Mpls. law firm

The firm brings together the last two state attorneys general, both of them litigators with a long history of working together in Minnesota's legal community.
A man looks at his phone while driving.

Distracted driving bill clears Minn. House; Senate vote expected soon

If the measure becomes law, Minnesota would join 16 states and the District of Columbia in banning cellphone use by motorists unless they use active hands-free technology while they drive.
First Lady Gwen Walz, shown in February at the governor's residence.

Gwen Walz: 'We are coming' after Minnesota senators who don't support gun measures

GOP Senate majority leader said the issue more likely to be taken up next year.
Minnesota State Capitol

'We forget about them': Mentally ill find new allies at State Capitol

Lawmakers look at ways to get people to treatment, not jail, faster.
Acknowledging a lack of trust around investigations of Minnesota officers who use deadly force, the state’s new public safety commissioner is among

'Lack of trust' in investigating Minnesota police shootings under scrutiny

The state's new public safety commissioner is among a growing set of law enforcement leaders now studying new approaches to such cases.

Minnesota attorney general sounds alarm over 'tech support' scammers

Keith Ellison said office fielded more than 300 complaints last year.

Minnesota, 20 other states try to block Trump administration's new family planning 'gag rule'

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison joined the group of Democratic state attorneys general for the second federal legal challenge to the new policy in as many days.
Lawyers at a University of St. Thomas conference last week listened to lawyer and drug counselor Patrick Krill describe a crisis of rampant mental ill

Minnesota Supreme Court taking aim at mental health 'crisis' in legal profession

The court is alarmed by high levels of depression, anxiety and stress among practicing attorneys.
More from Star Tribune