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    by Scott McClallen   Four Senate Republicans announced bills they called the “Parent’s Bill of Rights.” In a morning press conference, Sens. Justin Eichorn of Grand Rapids, Michelle Benson of Ham Lake, Paul Gazelka of East Gull Lake, and Roger Chamberlain of Lino Lakes announced the bills they said would increase school transparency. They said COVID restrictions and remote learning had hurt children’s primary education, including reading and writing. Senate File (SF) 2909 aims to ensure schools have a regular system to notify families of children’s activities at school and says schools must not withhold information about their child’s well-being or education. “It is the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children,” Eichorn said in a statement. “We have seen the rights of parents eroded over time and replaced by heavy-handed bureaucracy. If we want to improve education in Minnesota, then we need schools that are transparent, accountable, and give parents a seat at the table. Our Parents Bill of Rights empowers moms and dads to have a voice in our children’s education.” SF 2666 would...
    ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — What our kids learn in school became a hot topic during the pandemic, and now school politics are spilling over to the Minnesota State Capitol. In the state’s divided legislature, there are competing proposals to improve student outcomes. Republicans on Monday rolled out what they call the Minnesota parents “bill of rights,” which would allow parents to request more details about what’s being taught in the classroom. READ MORE: DFL Elects Melisa López Franzen As Senate Minority LeaderIf that sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the latest Republican Party effort to consider new laws about school lesson plans. Similar debates are taking shape across the country. “The parent is the child’s first and most important teacher and advocate,” Sen. Justin Eichorn (R-Grand Rapids) said. “We have seen the rights of parents eroded over time and replaced by heavy-handed bureaucracy. If we want to improve education in Minnesota, then we need schools that are transparent, accountable, and give parents a seat at the table.” Senate Republicans say a slate of bills they’ve put forward empower parents, who...
    During the last two years, public safety was a top issue at the Minnesota Legislature, where conversation centered mainly on police accountability measures after the killings of George Floyd and Daunte Wright. Public safety again figures to be top of mind in St. Paul when the Legislature convenes on Jan. 31, but this time with a new focus: violent crime. Republican and Democratic state lawmakers say they will roll out a host of plans aimed at reducing crimes like carjackings and robberies that have plagued the Twin Cities metro area over the past year. Lawmakers in both major parties often argue public safety should not be politicized. And both say they expect to work to find common ground on policy to address crime. At the same time, crime is expected to be a potent campaign issue later this year, a situation that could fuel a rancorous and partisan debate at the Capitol. The House is controlled by Democrats while the Senate is held by Republicans, and both legislative chambers will be up for grabs in November elections. The first glimpse...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Last year when rioters broke into the U.S. Capitol building and members of Congress were whisked away to a safe location, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar — a key lawmaker during election certification — said she shared a goal with Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri: That against all odds, they would complete their work. At 3:30 a.m. the next morning, Jan. 7, they delivered the remaining ballots to the House. READ MORE: After Half-A-Year, Mask Mandates Return To Minneapolis, St. Paul“We took that walk through the broken glass, through the statues that were spray painted to the House and finished our job,” she said. “And it gave me this faith in our democracy that no matter what, it will triumph.” Democrats in Minnesota’s congressional delegation on Thursday reflected on the U.S. capitol attack one year after a mob breached their workplace and threatened a symbol of American democracy. But Republicans remained silent. In interviews with WCCO, Sens. Klobuchar and Tina Smith and U.S. Reps. Dean Phillips, Betty McCollum, and Angie Craig recounted the...
    (CNN)On Tuesday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to brag."In 2016 I almost won Minnesota," he wrote. "In 2020, because of America hating anti-Semite Rep. Omar, & the fact that Minnesota is having its best economic year ever, I will win the State! 'We are going to be a nightmare to the President,' she say. No, AOC Plus 3 are a Nightmare for America!" THE POINT -- NOW ON YOUTUBE! In each episode of his weekly YouTube show, Chris Cillizza will delve a little deeper into the surreal world of politics. Click to subscribe! There's lot to unpack there.Trump *did* come close to winning Minnesota in 2016. The final results looked like this:Hillary Clinton: 46.9% (1,366,676 votes)Read MoreDonald Trump: 45.4% (1,322,891 votes)So yes, Trump did almost win Minnesota -- losing by about 44,000 votes out of more than 2.6 million cast. And yes, the narrowness of that result means that there is at least the possibility he could win it again.But that doesn't mean he will win it again -- more on that in a minute -- and...
    As presumptive Republican candidates for governor in 2022 begin to make their intentions known, some common issues have surfaced. Gov. Tim Walz, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, public safety and election integrity — all are likely to populate the speeches and media messages of the GOP candidates. State Sen. Michelle Benson“An extreme agenda is dividing us with radical, leftist policies that aren’t Minnesotan,” Sen. Michelle Benson said last week when announcing her candidacy. “Trying to defund the police while crime rates are skyrocketing. Shutting down schools, and crippling neighborhood businesses, when the science and common sense says it’s safe to keep them open. I’ve seen enough, and it’s time to get to work.” Statements from other current candidates — Scott Jensen, Michael Marti, Michael Murphy and Neil Shah — have touched on the same themes, while the latest candidate to get in the race, former Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, voiced similar criticisms in his announcement speech Wednesday morning. But with one significant exception, those core GOP primary issues play much better with Republicans than with the state as...
    FOX 9 reports: “The wildfires that caused the first closures of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in 45 years continue to burn. Sunday night, forestry officials held a community meeting to discuss the John Ek and Welp fires, both of which have been burning for a week. … Because of the remote locations of the fires, crews are not able to access fires from the ground and are instead utilizing airdrops.…Meanwhile wilderness crews are evacuating visitors still in the BWCA, which will be closed until at least Friday.” Kristi Belcamino writes in the Pioneer Press: “A three-alarm blaze that broke out Saturday afternoon just west of Selby and Hamline avenues burned through the night and into Sunday before it was extinguished, officials say. Nobody was injured in the fire, which started about 6:30 p.m. and sent massive plumes of black smoke throughout the area, but it consumed four buildings in the 1400 block of Dayton Avenue, according to St. Paul Fire Chief Butch Inks. More than 50 firefighters worked through the night to extinguish the blaze, which was just behind...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The leader of Minnesota’s Republican Party is doubling down that she knew nothing about sex trafficking accusations against a former political strategist and friend. Minnesota GOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan said on News Talk 830 WCCO’s “The Paul and Jordana Show” Tuesday afternoon that she met Anton “Tony” Lazzaro back in 2016. READ MORE: GOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan Pushes Back After More Republicans Call For Her Ouster “I was running for state Senate in downtown Minneapolis and I door knocked every high rise in the city, and his was one of the doors I knocked on, he didn’t answer. As a lot of people did they reached out to me after, and he was one of the people that reached out,” Carnahan said. Lazzaro and 19-year-old Gisela Medina are charged with trafficking children for sex. Lazzaro raised thousands of dollars for several Minnesota Republicans. Medina was a leader for the College Republicans at the University of St. Thomas. Jennifer Carnahan (credit: CBS) “I think to imply guilt by association is just wrong,” Carnahan said. “I didn’t have any...
    Turns out this guy had a lot of high-level GOP connections. The Star Tribune’s Paul Walsh reports: “The drumbeat of condemnation from prominent Minnesota Republicans grew louder Friday, after one of their strategists and political donors was jailed on charges that he sex-trafficked minors last year. … The FBI arrested Anton “Tony” Lazzaro, 30, on Thursday on charges of conspiring with others to recruit and solicit the minors to engage in commercial sex acts. … State GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said in a statement Friday that ‘if the allegations against Mr. Anton Lazzaro are true, this is an abhorrent act that we condemn in the highest possible terms.’” For detailed background on the Lazzaro case, read this post in the Daily Beast.  Jose Pagliery writes: “Anton Lazzaro, a young Republican strategist and former congressional campaign manager in Minnesota, was arrested on underage sex trafficking charges Thursday morning, according to federal law enforcement. … Lazzaro, an occasional Fox News guest who flaunted his wealthy lifestyle on social media, was indicted on five counts of sex trafficking of a minor, one count...
    Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical SocietyLeonard A. Rosing, c.1905. Photograph by Johnson & Company.When Leonard August Rosing became chairman of the Minnesota Democratic Party in 1896, he had his work cut out for him: Republicans had controlled the governorship since before the Civil War. But Rosing was successful in unseating Republicans and getting Democrat John Lind elected governor in 1898. Eight-year-old Rosing arrived in Minnesota with his parents from Malmö, Sweden in 1869. The Rosings settled on a farm near Cannon Falls in Goodhue County. Young Leonard expected to become a farmer like his immigrant father, August. Rosing worked on the family farm until the age of twenty. Deciding he did not want a life in farming, he took a job as a store clerk in Cannon Falls. Bright and ambitious, the hardworking young man saved his money. He married Mary Belle Season in 1886. Known as a “natural salesman,” Rosing became the junior partner in a village boot and shoe store in 1888. By 1893 Rosing was the senior owner, with Samuel Kraft as his partner. Article continues after...
                        The commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Laura Bishop, resigned Tuesday and the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer-Labor Party (DFL)  called her resignation the result of a “temper tantrum.” Bishop resigned ahead of a vote that would have more than likely fired her. Bishop said in her resignation letter that, “For many, the agency can never go far enough in our protections, while at the same time, a segment of the Republican caucus will always believe the agency goes too far.” The Minnesota GOP was set to vote her out just after she released her letter. Republican lawmakers have disagreed with Bishop’s push to enact vehicle emissions standards after she took steps to pursue implementing California emissions standards in Minnesota and her positions on other environmental issues. According to Minnesota Public Radio, Republicans also were unhappy with Bishop for circumventing the legislature when it came to some policy decisions. “They’ve accused Bishop and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency of circumventing the state legislature and taking important policy decisions away from...
    Republican state Sen. Carla Nelson narrowly won reelection even as Joe Biden was decisively carrying her district. Daily Kos Elections is pleased to present new data from Minnesota breaking down the 2020 presidential results for every district in the state House and Senate—which, unusually, are held by opposite parties. Democrats went into last year’s election hoping to net the two seats they’d need to retake the upper chamber after four years in the minority, but despite winning more Senate votes statewide, Team Blue only flipped a single seat. More painfully still, Joe Biden carried 37 of the Senate's 67 seats, a comfortable majority similar in proportion to his share of the statewide vote, which he won 53-45. Compounding the Democrats' poor showing, two of the party's sitting senators, Tom Bakk and David Tomassoni, announced weeks after the election that they would become independents, which earned the duo committee chairmanships from the GOP majority. This state of affairs has given Republicans and their new allies a 36-31 edge in the chamber. Altogether, six Republicans sit in Biden seats. The bluest of...
    NEW YORK (AP) — If the nation is in the midst of a historic reckoning on racism, most leaders of the Republican Party are not participating. On the same day last week that a jury convicted the police officer who killed George Floyd, Republicans in Washington focused much of their energy on condemning the longest-serving Black woman in Congress. In the days since, former President Donald Trump attacked what he called the “racist rants” of basketball icon LeBron James. And some of Trump’s staunchest supporters on Capitol Hill are considering forming a new group that initially planned to champion “Anglo-Saxon political traditions.” Beyond simple rhetoric, Republican state lawmakers are pushing forward with new voting restrictions that disproportionately affect people of color and are resisting legislation designed to prevent police brutality. The moves reflect a stark political reality: As America grows more diverse, the Republican Party continues to be led almost entirely by white people, particularly men, who cater to an overwhelmingly white base. And despite fierce criticism from civil rights leaders and growing concern from business leaders who are traditional...
    When police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis last spring, the Minnesota Legislature negotiated for several months before passing a slate of changes to policing standards, such as banning “warrior”-style training and restricting neck restraints. Ever since, Democrats who control the Minnesota House have been pushing additional plans to further reshape policing and criminal justice in the state, even as Republicans who control the state Senate have opposed many of those ideas. In the wake of Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter shooting and killing 20-year-old Daunte Wright after a traffic stop, the two parties reacted by largely digging in on their long-held positions. As DFLers renewed calls for another round of police accountability measures, Republicans said their work in 2020 did address law enforcement issues in Minnesota — and stood by their opposition to additional reforms as onerous and potentially risky for police. In light of the stalemate, some Democrats turned to tougher tactics, saying they would try to halt negotiations on a two-year budget — which lawmakers have to pass by late June to avoid a government shutdown —...
    Minnesota Republicans criticized Gov. Tim Waltz’s response to the shooting of a black man saying it “fuels the fire” of protestors, Fox News reported. Police shot Daunte Wright, 20, on Sunday in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, which sparked protests and riots throughout the city, Fox News reported. State Republicans criticized Waltz for commenting on the fatal encounter between Wright and police, saying that his comments will spur further protests. (Related: Protests And Riots Erupt in Minneapolis After Officer Allegedly Shoots And Kills Black Man) “Governor, your words fuel the fire of protesters. You of all people should know to wait until the @MnDPS_BCA finish their investigation,” the Saint Paul Republicans tweeted. “In your tweet, you should have stopped after the words, “praying for Daunte’s family. Everything after that was inappropriate.” Governor, your words fuel fire for protesters. You of all people should know to wait until the @MnDPS_BCA finish their investigation. In your tweet, you should have stopped after the words, “praying for Duante Wright’s family”. Everything after that was [email protected]_DPS — Saint Paul Republicans-MNGOP (@SPRCC_) April 12, 2021 Republican criticism follows...
    Calling for open borders. The Forum News Service reports (via the Bemidji Pioneer): “Three Republican members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation have written a letter to President Joe Biden, asking his administration to prioritize a bilateral plan to reopen the U.S.-Canada border, which has been closed to nonessential travel since last March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. … Reps. Michelle Fischbach, Pete Stauber and Tom Emmer sent the letter Monday, Feb. 22, in advance of Tuesday’s meeting between Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. … ‘We write to express our serious concerns over the continued closure of America’s northern border. As you may know, Minnesotans along our Canadian border rely heavily on tourism and cross-border travel to support their businesses. They have been hit especially hard by the pandemic-related travel restrictions, devastating local economies,’ the letter reads.” A report from the Line 3 protest. The Star Tribune’s Zoë Jackson writes: “Steps away from the construction of the Line 3 oil pipeline in Cloquet, a handful of tents and lawn chairs surround a campfire. With temps in the single digits, Alex...
    Minnesota’s 2022 governor’s race could have a familiar face in Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow, but the prospect has some state Republicans worried. “Mike, if you did it, I would get behind you,” Lindell said former President Donald Trump told him of a potential gubernatorial run. Lindell said he also believes his full embrace of Trump's politics will help him in his potential run. “Of course it would help. Why wouldn’t it help? The guy was the best president in history,” Lindell said. Lindell has moved from his famed infomercials into the political arena with his unwavering support for Trump, but his embrace of Trump’s claims of voter fraud have Republicans wondering if such a strong ally of the former president is the right fit for a state he lost twice. “While Republicans have gained some seats in a patchwork across the state, winning statewide has been a much trickier puzzle for them to solve,” said Republican operative Michael Brodkorb. “It bends any political logic that Mike Lindell is going to be any key to helping...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Senate Republican majority has released its list of priorities for the 2021 legislative session, focusing on COVID-19 recovery plans, balancing the budget without raising taxes, and supporting plans to help Minnesota families. “Over the last four years, Senate Republicans have fully-funded state government without raising taxes — in fact, we cut taxes for middle-income earners for the first time in 20 years,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said. “So, in 2021, Senate Republicans will work to safely reopen schools and businesses to recover our economy. We will keep life affordable by balancing the budget — without raising taxes. That means no new gas tax, no new income tax, no new sales tax. And we are going to ask government to tighten its belt as well.” For COVID-19 recovery, the GOP cited reopening Minnesota’s businesses that have safety plans in place to reopen without restrictions, specifically from Gov. Tim Walz, whose emergency orders during the course of the pandemic have been a sticking point for Senate Republicans. All attempts to strip Walz of those powers have...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s Legislature convenes on Tuesday for its regular session, but it won’t look like a normal one. Here’s a preview of the top issues, and changes, coming this year. OVERVIEW The Minnesota Legislature remains split after the 2020 election. When the session starts, the DFL-led House will meet entirely online because of the pandemic. The Republican-controlled Senate will try a hybrid approach. CAPITOL CLOSED The public doesn’t have much access to the State Capitol right now because of COVID-19. That means face-to-face interactions are being replaced by phone calls, e-mails, and online meetings. BUDGET The big task for lawmakers this session is striking a compromise on a new two-year budget. Minnesota is projecting a $641 million surplus in the budget that runs through the end of June. But after that, a $1.3 billion deficit is expected over the next two years. Republicans and Democrats will have to find a way to fill in the roughly $50 billion gap. COVID-19 Of course the pandemic will be on the agenda, too. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has relied on executive...
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