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Ricardo Lopez

Reporter | Politics and government
Recent content from Ricardo Lopez
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton

Dayton follows through on threat, vetoes 5 budget bills

Calling the proposals harmful and inadequate, he urged Republicans to reconsider.
Gov. Mark Dayton, shown in April, vetoed a bill that would have cut off state money for abortions and another to require that abortion clinics be lice

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

They would have ended state funds for abortions and enacted restrictions.
Sen. Melisa Franzen, DFL-Edina, holds her six-day-old son during the first session of Minnesota Senate chambers.

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

Long hours, late nights at Capitol mean less time at home with spouses, kids.
Demonstrators gathered at the Burnsville offices of Minnesota Republican congressman Jason Lewis in the wake of his vote on Thursday to repeal and rep

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.
The Minnesota Poll found more mixed feelings toward other Trump positions on foreign policy, immigration and homeland security.

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.
The Minnesota House meets in session in this photo taken April 28, 2016

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.
Rep. Melissa Hortman, with Rep. Leon Lillie, has refused to apologize for calling out her male colleagues over a card game.

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…

Republican attorney Harry Niska joins race for AG

Attorney from Ramsey says he would focus on consumer protection, public safety.
Sherry Green of St. Paul Park participated in the annual Minnesota Concerned Citizens for Life march at the State Capitol in 2015. MCCL has renewed ef

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.
Beyond metro: One of Dayton’s legacies might be a DFL that’s lost its kinship with the rest of Minnesota.

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.
Gov. Mark Dayton called on the Legislature to act swiftly in giving final approval to spending $105 million in federal funding on 28 road-and-bridge p

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. Governor Tina Smith

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

Her surprise decision clears way for fellow DFLers.
Gov. Mark Dayton

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.
Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt

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.
Matt Toburen, the public policy director of the Minnesota AIDS Project, leads a meeting with activists while holding up a sheet with stats about AIDS

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

Stubborn rate of new infections prompts call for strategy to knock down numbers.
Supporters of President Donald Trump and anti-Trump protesters clashed in the hallway outside the rotunda at a national March4Trump Saturday, March 4,

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.
Board of Regents Chairman Dean Johnson and University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler at a 2015 meeting. After four white men were elected regents l

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.
State police agencies seized 488 pounds of meth in 2016, up nearly 500 percent from its lowest levels in 2009. Photo provided by the Minnesota Departm

'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…
Steve Burwell, the owner of Fairview Wine and Spirits in Roseville, helps a customer.

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.
Minnesota Management and Budget commissioner Myron Frans, right, shakes hands with Governor Mark Dayton after the Minnesota Budget and Economic Foreca

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…
Minneapolis mom Alison Yocom, left, and her 13-year-old son, George, who is transgender, were wary after President Donald Trump this week rescinded fe

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.
Protestor Amanda Wolfson, second from left, of St. Paul, sent a message without speaking while joining other protestors at a hearing that included dis

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.
Rep. Ilhan Omar hosted a forum at Mixed Blood Theatre aimed at providing residents of her House district "the necessary tools to protect and organize

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

First Somali-American state legislator finding her way at the Capitol.
Labor organizer and civil rights activist Nellie Stone Johnson, shown in 1988.

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…
Dave MacLennan, Cargill CEO

Trump's trade talk rattles Minnesota corporate leaders

Cargill boss, others say globalization has helped Minnesota companies.
Governor Mark Dayton celebrated his 70th birthday with his staff in the State Capitol.

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
Gov. Mark Dayton celebrated his 70th birthday with his staff in the State Capitol on Thursday.

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.
Gov. Mark Dayton celebrated his 70th birthday with his staff in the State Capitol on Thursday.

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…
Gov. Mark Dayton left the news conference after announcing that he had prostate cancer Tuesday, a day after fainting while delivering his State of the

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. Mark Dayton collapsed near the end of his annual State of the State speech Monday night as bystanders rushed to help. They included state Sen. M

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.
U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, a candidate for the Democratic National Committee chair, spoke alongside other candidates for the DNC chair at a pa

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…
Lisa Paal and Debbie Dodge played bingo Monday at a bar in Blaine, saying they were excited for Trump’s presidency.

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.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler

Kaler asks Legislature for 12 percent boost in U funding

He says taxpayer dollars won't go to coach buyouts.
Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith unveiled a 2017 tax proposal.

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.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton ] CARLOS GONZALEZ - December 27, 2016, St. Paul, MN, The Star Tribune sits down with Governor Mar

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.
State Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis, the nation’s first Somali-American legislator, was sworn in on Tuesday with her peers.

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…
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton photographed during an interview at the Minnesota Governor's Residence.

'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.
In May, Michele MacDonald waited in the back of the convention hall before the GOP convention debated whether she would be allowed to speak.

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 Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka: "My first priority was my district. So now I know I have to think broader, I want to think broader."

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.
Ilhan Omar addressed supporters at her election night party at the Courtyard Minneapolis Downtown after she won a seat in the Minnesota Legislature.

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.
Ilhan Omar addressed supporters at her election night party at the Courtyard Minneapolis Downtown after she won a seat in the Minnesota Legislature.

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

She filed reports of threats, bigotry with two Washington, D.C., agencies.
Minnesota Management and Budget commissioner Myron Frans, right, shakes hands with Governor Mark Dayton after the Minnesota Budget and Economic Foreca

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.
Myron Frans, commissioner of the Minnesota Management and Budget office, said the economic forecast will not include projections on how the economy mi

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.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, talked Wednesday with new House member Dario Anselmo, who beat Ron Erhardt in Edina's District 49A.

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.
Erik Paulsen hugged one of his daughters after he addressed the Republican victory party crowd.

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.
Protesters in North Dakota occupying a bridge faced off against police near Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

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…
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, right, joined Rep. Erik Paulsen in Plymouth on Wednesday.

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

Congress members stump for their respective candidates.
Gov. Mark Dayton, shown at his news conference last week where he talk about increasing health premiums. On Thursday, Dayton proposed issuing rebates

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.
Statewide, 55 percent of likely voters in the Minnesota poll say the comments captured on a 2005 video that emerged publicly earlier in October disqua

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.
U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen participated in a celebration for the upcoming completion of Highway 610 in Maple Grove on Thursday, Oct. 20.

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.
Gov. Mark Dayton discussed his decision to ask for a special session to deal with soaring health insurance rates on Friday.

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.
Jason Lewis, left, and Angie Craig are running as the Republican and DFLer in Minnesota's Second Congressional District.

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

The DFL and GOP candidates drowned out Independence Party contender Paula Overby.
Philando Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, and Uncle Clarence Castile, smiled as Gov. Mark Dayton announced the new panel.

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.
DFL chair Ken Martin : “The state is changing, and it’s changing rapidly.”

Political outreach to minorities intensifies in rural Minnesota changes

As rural demographics shift, so does networking strategy of both parties.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Thursday, July 28, 2

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.
In this image from video, Donald Trump greeted supporters outside the Trump Tower in New York on Saturday. Trump insisted Saturday he would "never" ab

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.
Secretary of State Steve Simon says he thinks a high number of Minnesotans are motivated to vote this fall.

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.
Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt, left, Gov. Mark Dayton, center, and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk in August after a discussion then about a special

Gov. Dayton again says special legislative session before election unlikely

Transportation funding was still the sticking point in the most recent talks.
Justice Anne K. McKeig was surrounded by family as she was sworn in to the Minnesota Supreme Court by Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea at St. Catherine U

Minnesota swears in its first American Indian Supreme Court justice

The court now has its first first female majority since 1991.
Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shake hands after a joint statement at Los Pinos, the presidentia

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…
“The sad truth, trafficking is a gigantic problem in Minnesota,” said U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn.

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.
U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez

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.
Political buttons were front and center at the Republican Party booth at the State Fair, kicking off the campaign season.

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.
Gwen Jorgensen wins gold for the United States in the women's traithlon on Aug. 20, 2016 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

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."
Gov. Mark Dayton announced the nearly $900,000 in new education funding last week in Bemidji.

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…
Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt, left, Governor Mark Dayton, center, and Senator Thomas Bakk, made their way out of the Veterans building at the Capit

Gov. Dayton, legislative leaders abandon special session hopes

Gov. Mark Dayton won't call legislators back after impasse over light rail.