Staff Directory 6370582

Rochelle Olson

Reporter | Politics and Government
Phone: 612-673-1747

Rochelle Olson is a reporter on the politics and government team.


Olson has covered St. Paul and Minneapolis City Halls, Ramsey and Hennepin county governments as well as courts and state government. Before joining the Star Tribune in 2000, Olson worked for eight years with the Associated Press in Kansas City, Topeka, Charleston, W.Va. and St. Paul. She has a master's degree from the University of Kansas and a bachelor's from Hamline University. She grew up in Bloomington. She loves to swim and do yoga.
Recent content from Rochelle Olson

Hot Dish 05.24.24

Walz signs medical services bill, calls out National Guard to find missing canoeists
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Sen. Klobuchar still pushing Fans First bill as Live Nation faces federal antitrust suit

The Minnesota Democrat said music and sports fans should start seeing changes quickly as a result of the blockbuster lawsuit.
The bulk of the Legislature's work this session will be crafting a package of construction projects in a bonding bill.

What passed — and didn't — at the 2024 Minnesota Legislature

From cannabis to sports betting, what happened with the major bills at the State Capitol in 2024.
"I feared for my life," said Patty Day, whose federal lawsuit alleges that Derek Chauvin hurt her during an arrest in January 2020.

Woman arrested in parked van alleges Chauvin threw her to the ground, broke her tooth

Police brutality lawyers at Robins Kaplan filed the federal civil rights claim seeking damages from the city of Minneapolis and the former Minneapolis police officer who murdered George Floyd.
Sen. Nicole Mitchell, DFL-Woodbury, keeps an eye on the voting board on Wednesday, May 15, casting a vote at the last minute on a motion to expel her

Alpha News lawyer says public needs a better picture of what happened with senator's arrest

DFL Sen. Nicole Mitchell of Woodbury faces a first-degree burglary charge.
Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, and Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, exchange heated words over the pace of

Minnesota Legislature's 2024 session ends in anger and acrimony

Republicans complained of being shut out of negotiations and shouting matches erupted on the floors as Democrats passed their final bills.
Rep. Danny Nadreau, R-Rogers, speaks during Saturday's floor session at the Capitol.

Minnesota Legislature races toward deadline with bonding, rideshare bills in question

Legislators cannot pass bills after midnight on Sunday, giving them just hours to try to strike a deal on outstanding issues.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the state Republican Party's annual Lincoln Reagan fundraising dinner Friday in St. Paul.

Donald Trump talks inflation, Iron Dome, Biden and bacon at Minn. GOP dinner

Speaking to donors, leaders and activists, the former president repeatedly ripped Joe Biden and promised to fight to turn Minnesota red for the first time since 1972.

Hot Dish 5.17.24

Legislators will be pushing toward Sunday's midnight deadline
In an email announcing the bill signing, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz referred to the change as a clarification of the law.

Walz signs bill clarifying constitutional protections for religious entities under Human Rights Act

Republicans, religious groups raised concerns about gender identity and sexual orientation.
Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, said he has consistently opposed the proposed Section 8 requirement since it was first raised more than a year ago.

Sen. Latz's opposition to landlord housing voucher requirement makes him target of fellow DFLer

Rep. Mike Howard criticized Sen. Ron Latz by name in a conference committee moment this week.
In this March 7, 2019 photo, shows the Mystic Lake Casino in Shakopee, Minn. In Minnesota, a bill seeking to legalize sports betting cleared its first

Running Aces amends lawsuit, now claims tribal casinos violate federal law with illegal video games

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux say the lawsuit is a desperate stunt to influence legislators in the final days of the 2024 session.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison joined AGs in 47 other states and the District of Columbia in the case against C.R. Bard. (MARK VANCLEAVE/Sta

Ellison sues real estate broker, claims he preyed on Muslims and buyers with poor credit

The lawsuit alleges that Chadwick Banken used deceptive trade practices and discriminated against Muslims.
Associate Justice Gordon Moore asks questions as the Minnesota Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the case Cruz-Guzman v. State of Minnesota inside

Minnesota Supreme Court: Pandemic emergency declaration OK under state law

Gov. Walz used the Emergency Management Act to declare a peacetime emergency and issue a mask mandate.

Hot Dish 5.10.24

House Minority Leader Demuth: This isn't a Legislature of 104 members.
Kaleena Burkes heads the new Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Office of Murdered and Missing Black Women.

Kaleena Burkes is head of Minnesota's new Office of Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls

The Alabama native wants to help the underrepresented and disenfranchised after years on the state's Guardian ad Litem Board.
DFL state Sen. Heather Gustafson is the sponsor of the bill increasing penalties for gun straw buyers. On Thursday, the Senate approved the stronger p

Minnesota Senate passes new penalties for gun straw buyers, bans binary triggers

Hermantown DFL Sen. Grant Hauschild voted for it while saying he won't support a safe-storage bill.
Sen. Glenn Gruenhagen, left, prepares to sit in the Senate hearing room before addressing the ethics complaint brought against him by Sen. Erin Maye Q

Ethics panel: Senator who sent graphic video link needs instruction on appropriate emails

DFL Sen. Erin Maye Quade filed the complaint last year against the Glencoe Republican because of an email he sent linking to a graphic gender surgery video.
Democratic Sen. Nicole Mitchell, left, was seated next to her attorney Bruce Ringstrom Jr. during the Minnesota Senate ethics hearing Tuesday in St. P

GOP senators grill Sen. Nicole Mitchell's attorneys during ethics hearing about her burglary charge

The Woodbury DFLer didn't answer questions before the bipartisan subcommittee, but her attorney accused GOP senators of a "witch hunt." Democrats said Mitchell deserves due process.
Sen. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, listens to the ethics complaint against him during a hearing before the Senate ethics subcommittee Tuesday.

Ethics panel takes up complaint against Republican senator who sent graphic video link

Sen. Erin Maye Quade said Sen. Glenn Gruenhagen's email linking to genital surgery violated Senate ethical norms.

Hot Dish 5.3.24

Two gun safety bills pass the House late on mostly party-line votes
Incoming Minnesota Court of Appeals Judge Elizabeth Bentley is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Walz appoints Supreme Court finalist to Court of Appeals

The Minnesota law professor clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
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Gun safety bills may hinge on one senator's fate despite House support, likely passage

Bills before the Minnesota House would require safe storage and crack down on straw purchases The House passed legislation Monday creating a duty to report missing guns to law enforcement within 48 hours.

Hot Dish 4.26.24

Legislature completes jarring week jolted by arrest and charge against Mitchell
Fans arrive at U.S. Bank Stadium before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, in Minneapoli

U.S. Bank Stadium gets new executive director

Ed Kroics has worked at the stadium for operator ASM since 2016
DFL Sen. Nicole Mitchell was charged with first-degree burglary on Tuesday.

DFL state senator charged with first-degree burglary at stepmother's home

Sen. Nicole Mitchell's arrest could cause political complications for Democrats, who control the Minnesota Senate by a one-seat margin.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) watched during training camp Wednesday. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com

Former Viking Dalvin Cook, ex-girlfriend settle lawsuit for unspecified amount

Dakota County case was set to begin trial in June.

Hot Dish 4.23.24

Details coming today on arrest of Woodbury DFL senator on in Becker County burglary
Justices Sarah Hennesy, left, and Theodora Gaïtas were appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court at the State Capitol on Monday.

Two new female Minnesota Supreme Court justices come with strong public defense backgrounds

Gov. Tim Walz elevates Court of Appeals Judge Theodora Gaïtas and Stearns County Judge Sarah Hennesy.

Hot Dish 4.19.24

First Lady Jill Biden speaks to teachers union tonight in Bloomington
Andover High School teacher Amna Kiran led the push to change Minnesota law so that driver’s permit tests will be written in clear, direct English.

Andover High School teacher leads effort for more understandable driver's tests

Amna Kiran took notice and pushed to change Minnesota law after a student failed multiple times in 2019.
The lawsuit claims tribal casinos in three locations, including Treasure Island, offer card games not authorized in state law.

Running Aces files racketeering lawsuit against Minnesota tribal casinos

The horse-racing track's lawsuit comes as the Minnesota Legislature considers legalized sports betting in partnership with tribes.
Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow, is photographed in Newport Beach, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. ]

Supreme Court says no to Lindell's request for hearing on cellphone confiscation

The MyPillow founder's phone was seized in a Hardee's drive-thru.

Hot Dish 4.12.24

Walz wings it to New Hampshire for speech
Justin Anfinson, left, watched as Cathy Dessert, Vice President of the Minnesota Harness Racing Inc., fed her horse Numbered Account a carrot at the M

Ban on historical horse racing advances swiftly after Racing Commission tried to legalize casino games

Horse industry supporters showed up at the Capitol with a live horse to plead for subsidies.
FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2019, file photo, Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., speaks during an executive session of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pen

Ellison, Smith say 150-year-old act could be used to ban medicinal abortions

The Minnesota Democrats hit the alarm on the core election issue this year.

Hot Dish 4.5.24

Middle innings at the Capitol
Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, spoke at the Minnesota Senate started hearings on whether there should be a public subsidy package to help the Minneso

New sports betting bill would bar bets on college games, push notifications, in-game action

Sen. John Marty says he proposed the safeguards because his main bill hasn't gained traction.
After taking to Fox News with his doubts about marking COVID-19 on death certificates, Minnesota Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska) says he's being investig

Judge dismisses Scott Jensen's First Amendment lawsuit against the state Board of Medical Practice

The physician and former Republican gubernatorial candidate claimed he was targeted by the board for his political views.
Diane Wheatman of Hibbing laughed when she won a bonus at a puppy-themed slot machine at Fortune Bay Resort Casino in Tower, Minnesota. Thursday, Janu

Sports betting sponsors say Racing Commission move on historical horse racing is illegal

Rep. Zack Stephenson says the decision will backfire on the tracks and complicate work on mobile betting bills.

Hot Dish 4.2.24

Snow in April, just like Prince penned
Clockwise from top left: Keala Ede, Theodora Gaïtas, Sarah Hennesy, Elizabeth Bentley, Lisa Beane and Liz Kramer are the six finalists for the upcomi

Governor announces six finalists for two Minnesota Supreme Court seats

By midsummer, Walz is replacing retiring justices G. Barry Anderson and Margaret Chutich.
Secretary of State Steve Simon talks to inmates at the Minnesota Correctional Facility - St. Cloud on March 21 about the state's new law restoring vot

Minnesota Voters Alliance says new law improperly restored voting rights to felons

State Supreme Court conducts expedited oral arguments on the legal challenge. Voting in the state primary begins in June with about 57,000 felons newly eligible to vote.

Hot Dish 3.29.24

Walz is headed to New Hampshire, let's speculate.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz gave the State of the State address from the new Owatonna High School on Tuesday.

Gov. Walz reflects on historic legislative session, urges more gun safety measures

His State of the State address also included a pitch for a $989 million bonding bill, a package of construction projects focusing on affordable housing, water infrastructure projects and repairing buildings on college campuses.

Hot Dish 3.26.24

Walz will be at the new Owatonna High School Tuesday night.
New House Minority Leader Rep. Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, stands for the Pledge of Allegiance on first day of session.

Faith leaders, GOP say gender identity protections impinge on their religious freedom

Republicans say the 2023 change to the Human Rights Act could be easily fixed.
Two lawsuits were filed on behalf of property owners after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled a 94-year-old Minneapolis woman was entitled to pr

U.S. Supreme Court ruling leads to $109 million state payout for property seizures

The settlement, which must still be approved by the Legislature, is related to the government's illegal taking of home equity on forfeited homes.
Minnesota State Senator John Marty, DFL-Roseville. ] GLEN STUBBE * GSTUBBE@STARTRIBUNE.COM Friday, February 2, 2015

Gift ban sponsor Sen. John Marty still pushing for tighter rules, more disclosure

One new provision Marty pushed through the Legislature last session requires officials to disclose the financial holdings of their spouses.
Rep. Zack Stephenson, DFL- Coon Rapids, seconds the nomination of Melissa Hortman for Speaker of the House on first day of session.

Bill sponsor solves potential issue, increasing odds for legalized sports betting

The sponsor of a sports betting bill in the Minnesota House of Representatives announced a deal to settle an issue that had the potential to scuttle the entire effort to bring legalized gambling to Minnesota.

Hot Dish 3.19.24

State leaders ensnared in situations created by Minneapolis City Council, Hennepin County Attorney
Uber driver Mohamed Egal checks the app on his phone to accept a rider on Feb. 16 in Minneapolis.

Uber, Lyft pay causes Capitol conundrum after Minneapolis vote

Walz seeks statewide solution, asks City Hall to reconsider minimum pay levels.
Gov. Tim Walz said his smaller, supplemental budget proposal is focused on safety, children and water.

Walz proposes modest 2024 budget adjustments

The biggest ticket item in the governor's supplemental budget is a phasing in of advance payments on the child tax credit next year.
Gov. Tim Walz looks to Attorney General Keith Ellison asks a question during a Board of Pardons meeting June 28, 2023 at the Minnesota Senate Building

Will Gov. Walz reassign prosecution of trooper Londregan to AG Ellison?

Ellison said his office is studying the situation, which is "up in the air."

Hot Dish 3.15.24

Vice President Harris does a Tour de St. Paul
Vice President Kamala Harris spoke to the media after touring Planned Parenthood in St. Paul on Thursday.

Vice President Harris makes historic visit to Planned Parenthood in St. Paul

Walz, other officials joined Harris at the Minnesota abortion provider as part of her Fight for Reproductive Freedoms Tour.

Hot Dish 3.8.24

Smoking State of the Union launches a million memes
Majority Leader-elect Kari Dziedzic in her new office at the Minnesota Senate Building.

Sen. Dziedzic: Wigs for cancer patients should be covered by insurance

The former majority leader says she wants to make life easier for others with cancer.
Marta Lukasewycz of Edina fills out information before voting in the presidential primary.

Biden, Trump win in Minnesota on Super Tuesday, heading to a repeat

Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips didn't carry his home state.
Fans wait for doors to open for the first of two Taylor Swift concerts during the Eras Tour outside U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Friday

Taylor Swift ticketing fiasco prompts bill for upfront disclosure of full ticket prices

The Minnesota proposal would also ban deceptive resale websites and speculative selling.
Rachel Bohman is running as a Democrat in Minnesota's First Congressional District.

Rachel Bohman seeks to challenge Minnesota GOP Congressman Brad Finstad

The Rochester native worked in Hennepin and Anoka county elections before returning home.
Susan Sheridan Tucker, executive director of the Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling, took a seat next to Rep. Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids, wh

Legalized sports betting advances at Capitol amid concerns

House panel focused on problematic fallout of expanded gambling in Minnesota.
Republican businessman Jamie Page is running in Minnesota’s Third Congressional District.

GOP candidate enters race for open west metro congressional seat

Jamie Page wants to succeed U.S. Rep Dean Phillips in the Third Congressional District.
New Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy and the rest of the Senate recited the Pledge of Allegiance at the opening of the session in St. Paul.

Early tensions emerge as Minnesota lawmakers convene 2024 legislative session

DFLers at the State Capitol have less money to spend this year than last.

Hot Dish Feb 12

Leaders predict a more routine year at the Capitol after COVID, gigantic 2023
Tom Holien, educational programs coordinator for the House, pointed toward the rotunda ceiling as he took a group of interns on a pre-session orientat

Minnesota's 2024 legislative session will focus on bonding projects, fixes to new laws

Legislators won't spend much money this year after passing the largest budget in state history last session.
In a response letter, Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said "we concur in whole" with the audit's results, and that he's become awa

New Minnesota parole board seeks citizen members to decide who gets out of prison

State corrections commissioner will no longer make the decisions himself.
St. Paul Sen. Erin Murphy was elected majority leader by her caucus on Tuesday.

DFLers choose St. Paul Sen. Erin Murphy as new majority leader

Murphy will succeed Sen. Kari Dziedzic, who stepped aside for health reasons.
Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, got a hug from Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.

Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic will step down from leadership after cancer returns

The five-term Minneapolis senator left the 34-member caucus stunned with her surprise announcement during a noon virtual meeting.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Fraser is a military veteran and business executive.

Republican military veteran enters 2024 race for U.S. Senate

Political newcomer Joe Fraser of Minnetrista is seeking the GOP nomination to run against DFL Sen. Klobuchar.
Minneapolis Attorney and Guthrie Consultant Bill McGrann talked with (standing-right) MCDA Executive Director Steve Cramer during a lunch meeting in t

Prominent Minnesota lawyer, lobbyist William McGrann has died

He founded the public affairs law firm McGrann Shea in Minneapolis and worked with professional sports teams and civic and arts organizations.

Hot Dish 1.26.24

Two governors and a red hot actor visit the North for celebration, research
Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan read to a classroom of children at Tutor Time in Brooklyn Park on Monday, Jan. 22, before announcing a progr

Walz touts child care savings for Minnesota military families

Minnesotans could save up to $1,800 per month per child.
Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Ellison joins lawsuit claiming NCAA transfer portal violates antitrust laws

Federal suit claims rule impedes athletes' ability to profit from name-image-likeness rights.
Sen. Jeremy Miller said he believes his plan could get bipartisan support to pass the Legislature.

Sports gambling proposal by GOP senator kicks off issue for 2024

Sen. Jeremy Miller seeks compromise to help tribes, tracks and Minnesotans who want to bet.