Dave Orrick / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL—A bipartisan group of lawmakers want to make it illegal to sell cigarettes and other tobacco products to anyone under 21 in Minnesota. The current age is 18. The proposal by a group of House members would also cover nicotine products like e-cigarettes. Why would we change? The harder you make it for people under 21 to buy nicotine, the fewer people will get sick and die, supporters say.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota lawmakers want to crack down on people who falsely claim their pets are true service dogs. They have the support of many who rely on highly trained service dogs and say they're increasingly seeing the accommodation abused by owners of dogs of all sorts, from accessory-cute to vicious. "This was brought to me by a lady who had to have her service dog put down after being attacked by a fake service dog," said Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston, who is pushing the bill in the House.
ST. PAUL—The general says she's being hamstrung in her mission. On Tuesday, March 6, Minnesota National Guard Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne — the newly appointed commissioner for the state's IT department, said delays by the Republican-led Legislature are prohibiting her from doing what she was hired to do: fix Minnesota's beleaguered computer system for vehicle registration and titles.
ST. PAUL — Two Minnesota lawmakers want Minnesota to get an extension so that people can still board domestic airplanes with regular driver's licenses after Oct. 10. On Tuesday, Feb. 27, Reps. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, and Dennis Smith, R-Maple Grove, asked Gov. Mark Dayton to seek an extension from the federal government on a fall deadline over compliance with Real ID, a new, higher-security identification regimen.
ST. PAUL — Al Franken, what's next for you? "It's a good question, and one I'm not quite ready to answer yet." That's how the former U.S. Senator answers the question in a letter to supporters that arrived in inboxes Friday morning.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Capitol was a tapestry speckled with blaze orange Thursday, Feb. 22. It wasn't deer hunting season. It was a major gun control rally. Blaze orange, aka hunter orange (and briefly aka tangerine tango), has traditionally been the fashion dominion of gun-toting hunters or construction workers. The color is legally required during some fall hunting seasons in Minnesota, Wisconsin and scores of other states as a safety measure — so hunters can see each other and not shoot each other.
ST. PAUL — State Rep. Erin Maye Quade left Wednesday's sexual harassment training for the Minnesota House of Representatives in tears. The Apple Valley lawmaker — a central figure in the #MeToo movement's presence in the Minnesota Capitol — needed a few minutes to compose herself before speaking with a reporter.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota House members had better attend an upcoming all-day sexual harassment and bias training session — or they'll lose one of their most basic powers of influence: seats on committees. That edict has come down from House Speaker Kurt Daudt, a Republican from Crown who has said the House will have "zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior" in the wake of the national #MeToo movement that cost two male lawmakers their seats.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota's computer system that handles vehicle registrations and titles is a mess. To fix it, state information technology officials say they need $43 million — and some of it right away. The system, known as MNLARS, has already cost $93 million and was supposed to work. Many lawmakers are angered by it all, and some have vowed that heads must roll before they approve any more money.
ST. PAUL — Lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton will most likely take out a massive taxpayer-backed loan this year to fund a pile of construction projects. The only questions are how much should the loan be and which projects should be funded? Spoiler alert: Democrats say it should be bigger than what Republicans say. Support from both parties is needed to pass a construction spending plan. Both sides agree that money must be spent on infrastructure, ranging from crumbling state buildings to new water-treatment plants.