Rachel E. Stassen-Berger / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Real ID, the legislation that would give Minnesotans assurance that their state-issued identification would meet federal standards, still isn't completed at the Legislature. The joint-House-Senate committee charged with crafting a compromise to get a bill to Gov. Mark Dayton's desk hasn't even met in public for days. Behind the scenes, leaders say they are still trying to complete the task.
ST. PAUL—Democratic state Rep. Tina Liebling has been known around the Minnesota Capitol as a policy wonk since she arrived in the House in 2005. Liebling, an attorney with a master's degree in public health, represents the Mayo Clinic-focused Rochester district, has served on health committees, chaired a health committee and spoken out on health care issues for more than a decade. She digs into details of legislation. Now, she wants to take the policies for which she has long been known to a statewide stage. On Sunday, she announced that she would run for governor.
ST. PAUL—The debate over transportation funding — and the hard divide on solutions — is back at the Minnesota Capitol. On Tuesday, the Minnesota House released its plan to fund the state's roads and bridges. Like the plan the Senate released earlier this week, the proposal redirects current spending to roads. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, as he has before, is proposing increasing the gas tax to pay for transportation needs.
ST. PAUL—Senate Republicans say Gov. Mark Dayton is jeopardizing the possibility of the Legislature approving a law to bring Minnesota's driver's licenses into compliance with federal Real ID standards. "I am very concerned," said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, a Republican from near Nisswa. "Senate Republicans have a simple strategy: We just want to focus on Real ID. Let's get Real ID done."
ST. PAUL—Minnesota Republican House members on Wednesday amplified their moves to increase penalties for people who block highways, airports and mass transit as part of protests. "If you block a freeway, if you close an airport or if you interfere with mass transit, you should go to jail," said state Rep. Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River, at a news conference. He was joined by House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and state Rep. Kathy Lohmer, R-Stillwater.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota has joined with other states in suing the federal government over President Donald Trump's executive action on immigration. "It does not pass constitutional muster, is inconsistent with our history as a nation, and undermines our national security," Attorney General Lori Swanson said late Wednesday night. "America can keep its people safe without sacrificing bedrock constitutional principles."
ST. PAUL — The long-running debate over Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota is back with renewed strength to strike down the century-old ban. "We are going to pass Sunday liquor sales out of the House this year," promised House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown.
ST. PAUL — Three-term Minnesota Auditor Rebecca Otto will run for governor, she told the Pioneer Press, joining what is expected to be a crowded race to replace DFL Gov. Mark Dayton. "I'm different. I'm authentic," she said in a Friday interview. "Minnesota has given me great gifts. I love this state. I want to see it have the very best future possible." With Dayton leaving office after his current term, the 2018 race for governor will be without an incumbent for the first time since 2010. Minnesota is considered prime territory for either party to pluck.
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans may soon have a clearer answer on whether their driver's licenses will work next year for federal purposes. By January 2018, everyone who wants to board an airplane will need Real ID-compliant identification. Passports and enhanced driver's licenses, which Minnesota now offers for an extra fee, meet those requirements, but because the state long resisted the decade-old rule, the state's regular driver's licenses do not.
ST. PAUL — Christine Leitner of St. Paul showed up on the very first day the Ramsey County elections office opened for voting to cast her ballot since she’ll be vacationing out-of-state on Election Day. “I wanted to get it done as soon as possible so I didn’t forget,” she said. Despite that civic-mindedness she hadn’t known there would be a constitutional amendment question — changing who decides legislators’ pay — on the ballot. Leitner is not alone.