Staff Directory 6370434

Briana Bierschbach

Reporter | Politics and Government

Briana Bierschbach is a politics and government reporter for the Star Tribune.

Bierschbach has spent the last decade covering Minnesota politics for various publications, including MPR News and MinnPost. She started her journalism career in college at the University of Minnesota's campus newspaper, the Minnesota Daily, where she covered city hall. Bierschbach also has worked at the Pioneer Press, the Associated Press and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. In her spare time, she teaches a class on state government at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and spends time with her husband, dog and two cats.
Recent content from Briana Bierschbach
The Minnesota Legislature left plenty of work on the table after hitting their deadline to adjourn at midnight on Sunday.

What did — and didn't — get done at the Minnesota Capitol this legislative session

Legislators left plenty of work on the table as they negotiate a possible special session.
Representatives spoke in the House chamber during a recess Sunday, May 24, before a midnight deadline to pass bills.

Billions in limbo as retiring legislators say farewell

Gov. Tim Walz ended a meeting with top legislative leaders on Monday with no timeline or clarity on next steps. Walz said he's ready to call legislators back, but Republicans in the Senate asked for a few days to "decompress."
The tax conference committee, seen here two years ago, is meeting to finalize a tax deal.

Tax deal reached in final weekend of session at State Capitol

The fate of the $4 billion package is tied to other fights over spending on classrooms, health care and public safety.
Tim Walz could be the only governor in state history to serve a full term without issuing any vetoes.

Gov. Tim Walz expected to end first term with zero vetoes

Governors before him have made extensive use of their veto pens.
The deadline for legislators to pass bills this session is Sunday at 11:59 p.m.

Most work remains undone in Minnesota Legislature's final weekend

Legislators have agreed on a drought relief package, state worker contracts and a higher education spending bill.
The deal would allow the state’s five largest breweries to start selling their beer to-go in growlers.

Lawmakers strike deal to allow growler sales by big brewers

The deal doubles what craft distilleries can sell to customers each day.
Family members of the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn filed two lawsuits in district court on Monday.

Late Rep. Jim Hagedorn's family sues his widow for medical expenses

Jennifer Carnahan, Hagedorn's widow, says the matter needs to go through the probate process.
Minnesota legislators are tapping into current and future surpluses to make their proposed deal work.

Where does money for tax cut, spending deal come from?

The roughly $12 billion deal doesn't include an agreement lawmakers already struck earlier this year to replenish the state's unemployment insurance trust fund and send checks to frontline workers. Here are answers to some common questions about how they plan to pay for it all.
State Auditor Julie Blaha has tested positive for COVID-19.

Minnesota State Auditor Julie Blaha tests positive for COVID

The first-term DFLer will miss the party's convention in Rochester to quarantine.
Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement: “With an unprecedented surplus, we have the ability to make significant investments in the things that will impro

Minnesota's divided Capitol strikes end-of-session deal

Gov. Tim Walz said he and top legislative leaders have agreed to the "broad framework" of a deal to spend a historic budget surplus to cut taxes, spend money on classrooms and public safety.
Minnesota’s divided Legislature appears far from agreement on tax cuts, education spending and how to address rising violent crime.

Long agenda remains for final legislative session week

Legislators remain far apart on on tax cuts, public safety and funding for classrooms.
President of the Minnesota Nurses Association Mary Turner said the contracts are not “extravagant.”

Minnesota labor leaders call on Senate to ratify state employee contracts

The contracts must be ratified before legislators go home for the year.
Minnesota has two major political parties focused on legalizing marijuana.

Minnesota marijuana party grapples with spoiler label in swing races

Several members are pushing to change the name of the Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party to address concerns.
House Speaker Melissa Hortman tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and said she would work remotely.

Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman tests positive for COVID

The legislative leader said she will continue to participate in end-of-session negotiations remotely.
The 2022 session is nearing an end against the backdrop of a historic budget surplus and election-year politics.

2022 legislative session: What's at stake, issue by issue

We track the status of top issues ahead of the Legislature's May 23 adjournment.
State Rep. Kelly Moller, DFL-Shoreview, said calls to review confidential communications occur most frequently in sexual assault cases, which has a ch

Sexual assault counselors push to protect victim confidentiality

Advocates say disclosure of information could have a chilling effect on the willingness to report.
Former Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek is running in a crowded field for governor as the only candidate with law enforcement experience.

Rich Stanek looks to law enforcement record for breakaway in Minnesota GOP governor field

The former Hennepin County sheriff is among a half dozen candidates vying for the party's nomination.
President Joe Biden spoke during a memorial service for former Vice President Walter Mondale on Sunday, May 1, in Minneapolis. “Fritz was a good man

Mondale remembered: 'One of the finest men I've ever known'

The late Minnesotan climbed to the pinnacle of U.S. politics as an influential senator and vice president.
Dr. Sarah Traxler travels from Minnesota to South Dakota one week a month to offer abortion services at the only Planned Parenthood in South Dakota.

If justices overturn Roe, Minnesota could become an island for legal abortions

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the landmark abortion case, states like Minnesota could become islands for women seeking the procedure.
Former state Rep. Erin Maye Quade withdrew from her local DFL endorsing convention in April because she was in labor. She’s still considering whethe

Candidate's labor during convention sparks debate over Minnesota's endorsement process

Critics say the often-lengthy weekend conventions are inaccessible to the average voter.
Leaders at the Capitol have a tentative deal on unemployment insurance and frontline worker pay.

Minnesota leaders strike deal on unemployment insurance, frontline worker pay

Businesses face a Saturday deadline to pay increased taxes to help fill a state fund for unemployed workers.
Attorney General Keith Ellison alleges four Utah-based companies used deceitful business practices to defraud Minnesotans.

Ellison sues four Utah solar firms over 'deceptive' practices

The lawsuit follows complaints from dozens of homeowners who said the sales people used high-pressure tactics to get them to sign contracts.
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Gov. Tim Walz delivered his State of the State address in the Minnesota House chambers on Sunday.

Gov. Tim Walz calls for unity in fourth State of State address

Walz made a call for unity in front of Democratic and Republican legislators Sunday night in his fourth State of the State address, returning to the Minnesota House chamber for the speech for the first time since the onset of coronavirus.
Vice President Walter Mondale’s portrait at the University of Minnesota Law School was draped with a black sash after his death at age 93 in April 2

Walter Mondale's memorial service scheduled for May 1

The late vice president and influential senator will be remembered for his lasting legacy in state and national politics.
Mary Giuliani Stephens ran for governor in 2018 but suspended her campaign and threw her support behind the eventual Republican nominee, Jeff Johnson.

Minnesota GOP governor candidate Paul Gazelka picks former Woodbury mayor as running mate

Mary Giuliani Stevens joins Gazelka's ticket just weeks ahead of the Republican Party's endorsing convention.
Becoming an early presidential primary state would give Minnesota much more visibility than it had in 2020. Minnesota’s primary was held on Super Tu

DFL aims to make Minnesota an early presidential primary state

The Democratic National Committee is looking at which states will have an early say in the 2024 primary cycle.
Rep. Kristin Robbins, R-Maple Grove, is sponsoring legislation to ban social media platforms from targeting user-generated content at kids.

Minnesota legislators tangle with tech giants over social media content for kids

A proposal targeting Big Tech's algorithms has drawn the companies' intense opposition.
Gov. Tim Walz’s campaign has raised more than $1 million in the first three months of the year and has $4.1 million in the bank ahead of the midterm

Walz leads GOP challengers in fundraising heading into midterm election

Republican donors are split among more than a half-dozen candidates for the nomination.
Gov. Tim Walz, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and other officials toured a veterans home in Hastings on Thursday.

Walz touts budget plan around state with lawmakers on break

More than halfway through the legislative session, only a handful of bills have landed on the governor's desk.
Minnesota state Sen. Lindsey Port contracted COVID-19 more than two years ago, and she’s still battling the illness.

Minnesota legislator opens up about battle with long COVID: A 'new form of isolation'

DFL Sen. Lindsey Port said more people need to talk about the condition to help find solutions.
Senate House and Human Services Reform Committee Chair Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, is proposing a $1 billion boost to wages for long-term care and other work

Legislators tackle 'dire' staffing shortages in long-term care

Today, 23,000 job openings exist in long-term care in the state — roughly a fifth of the industry's workforce — a situation that has caused some facilities to limit admissions, while others are closing down.
A highly contagious and deadly form of bird flu has been spreading across the U.S. and has been detected in 24 states.

Minnesota legislators pass $1M for bird flu response

H5NI has now been found in turkey flocks in 12 Minnesota counties.
Early voting in the First District special primary election begins Friday.

Voting starts Friday in First District special primary election

Twenty candidates from across southern Minnesota are vying to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn in Congress.
Glenn Youngkin, right, emboldened Republicans across the country after his surprise victory over former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left. 

Minnesota GOP eyes 'Virginia model' for midterm success

Democrats say there are key differences between the two states and their candidates this fall.
The giant beaver sits on the wooly mammoth display at the Bell Museum in St. Paul.

An extinct, bear-sized beaver could be chosen as Minnesota's state fossil

A bill was laid over for possible inclusion in a broader package of bills later in the session.
An AutoZone store burned as protesters gathered outside of the Third Precinct in Minneapolis in the days after George Floyd’s death.

Review: Response after Floyd killing lacked clear leadership

State and local law enforcement didn't act quickly enough to coordinate after riots broke out after George Floyd's killing and response teams lacked "clear, experienced" leadership, according to an external review.
The reinsurance program was established in 2017 to stabilize spiking premiums on MNsure, the state’s individual insurance marketplace.

Minnesota lawmakers extend reinsurance program for three years

The deal comes one day ahead of a federal deadline to reauthorize the program.
Gov. Tim Walz’s last State of the State address at the Minnesota Capitol was in 2019.

Gov. Tim Walz returns to Minnesota Capitol for annual address

The State of the State will be delivered April 24 from the House chamber.
Juliet Rudie, the new director of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives office, looks at a portrait of her great-great grandmother holding her

First-in-the-nation state office takes on epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous Minnesotans

Juliet Rudie leads the new office after nearly 30 years in law enforcement.
Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL) is carrying a House bill that would reauthorize the program.

Legislature faces deadline on Minnesota's health 'reinsurance' program

The costly program has been credited with stabilizing the individual insurance marketplace.
Registered nurse Norma Atuesta, right, talked with Myriam Romero and her husband, Isaias Chuquiana, during a prenatal appointment at the East Lake Cli

Millions in federal dollars are earmarked for local projects across Minnesota

Some members of the state's congressional delegation supported efforts to bring federal dollars back to the state.
Nicole Matthews, executive director at Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition, said the federal law change is an important step in the ri

Minnesotans pushed to restore Tribal Nations' ability to prosecute sex crimes

A new law allows tribes to take action against non-tribal members for sexual violence on reservation land.
Twin Cities teachers including MFT, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers Local 59, and ESP, Education Support Professionals, rallied at the Minnesota St

Mediation continues over the weekend between Minneapolis teachers union, school district

Friday marked the ninth day classes were canceled by the strike.
Police use metal barricades to keep protesters, demonstrators and activists apart in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices hear arguments in

Do you remember life before Roe v. Wade? We want to hear your story

The Supreme Court is expected to rule this summer in a case that could determine the future of abortion access in the United States.
A special election will be held to fill the remainder of the late Jim Hagedorn’s term in Congress.

Twenty candidates file for First District special election

The congressional seat is open after the death of U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn in February.
Kari Dorry, right, and campaign volunteers were stuffing envelopes in her campaign headquarters in Ortonville, Minn.

'Can't lose any more ground': Dems try to slow rural red wave

The trend is exacerbating geographic political divides and limiting places for the DFL to make inroads in 2022.
Participants in the Safe at Home Program vote absentee, and their registration information remains private to protect them from aggressors.

Citing possible voter fraud, GOP targets program for those at high safety risk

Safe at Home allows victims of intimate partner violence and others to shield their addresses from aggressors.
This image taken from video shows Mariupol Hospital after the attack in Mariupol, Ukraine.

Minnesota legislators push to divest state pension funds from Russia

The move comes after Gov. Tim Walz ordered agencies to stop contracts with Russian entities.
DFL Senate Minority Leader Melisa Lopez Franzen is one of more than a half dozen women in the Senate retiring after being paired with a colleague in t

Redistricting threatens historic progress for women at Minn. Capitol

A number of prominent female legislators chose to retire after being paired in the same district with male colleagues.
Patty Wetterling served on the legislative working group that recommended removing most children from the Predatory Offender Registry.

Group pushes to take children off Minnesota's Predatory Offender Registry

Patty Wetterling is among those who say the registry has grown too punitive over the years.
Rep. Jim Hagedorn.

Constituents and colleagues to remember Rep. Jim Hagedorn at services Saturday

Services will be held at his boyhood church in Truman, Minn., followed by burial in Blue Earth.
Gov. Tim Walz, at a press conference in January.

Gov. Walz orders state agencies to cut ties with Russia

The executive order comes as other states are joining the federal government in imposing sanctions.
Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, is carrying legislation to require school districts to provide curriculum information to parents “without cost

Minnesota Senate GOP advances 'parents rights' proposals

Democrats criticized part of the package as costly and unnecessary.
The state’s new political maps unite Minnesota’s seven northern Anishinaabe tribes in one congressional district and create a new state Senate sea

New maps draw 'powerhouse' districts for Minnesota tribes

The courts united all seven of Minnesota's Anishinaabe tribes into the Eighth Congressional District and created a new opportunity in the state Senate.
Senate GOPs want the state to give back most of the surplus in tax cuts, while House DFLers voted to send $1 billion in checks to frontline workers.

Minnesota's divided Legislature clashes on tax cuts, frontline worker pay

Democrats passed $1 billion in frontline worker checks while Republicans pitch spending most of the surplus on tax cuts.
Senate Tax Committee Chairwoman Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, is chief sponsor of a bill to add Minnesota to a national nursing licensure compact.

Senate GOP wants to add Minnesota to national nurse licensure compact

The state's nurses union criticizes the proposal as an attack on bargaining rights.
Minnesota political operatives in both parties have been digging into the state’s new redistricting maps and are starting to see the battleground di

Suburbs remain legislative battleground under new Minnesota political maps

The court-drawn redistricting maps could continue fluctuating control of the Minnesota House and Senate for the next 10 years.
Julius Menchikov was busy printing and mounting huge copies of Minnesota’s new redistricting map on Tuesday in St. Paul.

Maps show how redistricting reshapes Minnesota's political borders

Every legislative seat is up for re-election in a redistricting year, meaning control of state government is at stake in the fall election.
Just hours after new maps were released Tuesday, Julius Menchikov was busy printing and mounting huge copies of the map showing new congressional dist

Minnesota congressional boundaries shift under new state district maps

The courts made the biggest shifts in the competitive Second District.
Sens. Michelle Benson and Paul Gazelka are among the Senate Republicans calling for a “Parents’ Bill of Rights.”

Senate Republicans introduce 'Minn. Parents Bill of Rights'

The package includes bills that would require districts and teachers to provide a wide range of information to parents.
Sen. Karin Housley, R-Stillwater, is lead sponsor of the legislation directing the Department of Public Safety to spend $1 million on an ad campaign p

Minn. Senate passes $1M marketing proposal to promote police

Democrats questioned timing so soon after fatal police shooting of Amir Locke.
Former Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, alongside his wife, Maralee, announced his campaign for governor in September.

Paul Gazelka hopes tough-on-crime focus gives him an edge in governor's race

The four-term senator is one of more than a half dozen candidates vying for the GOP nod to take on Gov. Tim Walz.
The new maps will set legislative and congressional boundaries for the next decade.

Four things to watch in Minnesota's new redistricting maps

A court-appointed panel is expected to release the state's new legislative and congressional boundaries Tuesday.
Sen. Eric Pratt and his Republican colleagues are pushing to replenish the state’s unemployment insurance fund.

Republicans seek quick action to refill Minnesota's jobless fund

Businesses are facing double-digit payroll tax hikes without action from lawmakers by March 15.
An RN instructor worked with students in Anoka-Ramsey Community College’s certified nursing assistant program. Both parties want to quickly alleviat

Minnesota leaders debate how to tackle state's historic workforce shortage

Both parties agree the state should take immediate steps to address shortages in health care and law enforcement.
Minnesota National Guard soldiers, seen here during the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, could be deployed in St. Paul during the federal civil

Walz authorizes National Guard to deploy if needed for civil rights trial of three former Minneapolis officers

The National Guard is also prepared if Minneapolis requests assistance following the fatal police shooting of Amir Locke.
The extended COVID-19 presumption applies to doctors, nurses, firefighters, paramedics, police, long-term care workers, home health care workers, corr

Minnesota Legislature extends COVID-19 presumption for workers' compensation

The new law will extend the benefits for public safety and health care workers until January 2023.
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and Gov. Tim Walz deliver dessert bars around the Capitol on the first day of session, starting at the Senate Chamber with Sen

Legislators kick off session with big surplus, long list of priorities

DFL Gov. Tim Walz and both parties in the divided Legislature have outlined lengthy — and at times dueling — lists of priorities in recent weeks.
DFL State Party Chair Ken Martin and Republican Deputy Chair Donna Bergstrom held a joint news conference on Monday, Jan. 31, in St. Paul to promote T

State DFL, Republican parties unite to promote Tuesday caucuses

Activists will gather across the state Tuesday to select delegates and vote in preference polls.
Gov. Jesse Ventura holds up a mock Minnesota sales tax rebate check in 1999.

Gov. Walz's tax plan harks back to 'Jesse checks' days

Like former Gov. Jesse Ventura, Walz must convince a divided Legislature to back his plan.
Minnesota's $7.7 billion surplus: What should the state do with it?

Minnesota's $7.7 billion surplus: What should the state do with it?

The governor and legislative leaders weigh in.
A crowd filled the Minnesota State Capitol lawn last August during a rally against COVID vaccinations and mask mandates.

'Natural immunity' claims part of state GOP vaccine pushback

The idea is gaining traction in Republican-led legislatures around the country, despite pushback from public heath officials who say protection from infection varies dramatically from case to case.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar gestures while speaking to the media after the seven senators met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday,

Klobuchar, bipartisan group travel to Ukraine as Russian threats escalate

The Minnesota Democrat said there's bipartisan support for sanctions if Russia attacks.
GOP Rep. Pete Stauber is seeking a third term.

Minnesota U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber launches bid for third term

The Eighth District Republican said Democrats' control of Washington isn't working.
Election Day 2022 is Nov. 8.

Minnesota's 2022 political dates to watch

Ahead this year: the legislative session, endorsing conventions, elections and more.