Baylor Spears

Baylor Spears

Baylor Spears is a reporting intern with the Minnesota Reformer. A Tennessee-native, she recently graduated from Northwestern University.

Cannabis legalization advocates turn THC customers into political allies

By: - August 15, 2022

Now that Minnesota has legalized hemp-derived THC products as of July 1, proponents of full legalization are activating a new resource in the political battle over the green plant’s future: customers.  Josh Wilken-Simon, policy director of Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Regulation, said they estimate 700,000 Minnesotans are cannabis consumers. “Many of these folks aren’t politically […]

Election results you may have missed

By: - August 10, 2022

Kathy Keena, interim Dakota County attorney, and Matt Little, a former state senator, will move on in the race to serve the south metro county. The candidates are looking to fill the seat left by James Backstrom, who retired in 2021 due to ongoing health concerns.  In May 2021, the Dakota County Board appointed Keena […]

A generational split: Sen. Sandy Pappas faces challenger Sheigh Freeberg in DFL primary

By: - August 3, 2022

Sen. Sandy Pappas was doing one of her daily door-knocking sessions recently when she recalled her first run for the Minnesota Senate District 65 seat in 1990. She was running against then-state Sen. Don Moe, who was out of touch, Pappas said.  “He was a pretty arrogant guy and didn’t really pay attention to the […]

State Rep. Tony Albright resigns following anti-abortion comments

By: - August 2, 2022

Minnesota state Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake, resigned on Tuesday from his seat that represents the exurbs southwest of Minneapolis. The announcement comes just days after he faced backlash about anti-abortion comments he made.  Albright, who represented District 55B for a decade, said earlier this year that he wouldn’t seek re-election. The district changed significantly […]

A record number of out LGBT candidates are running for Minnesota’s Legislature

By: - August 1, 2022

While advocating for the creation of a local human rights commission last summer, Brion Curran shared her concerns about being visibly gay with government leaders in Vadnais Heights.  “I was afraid to hang a pride flag at my house,” Curran said. “I thought in my community that wouldn’t be well received, and I could be […]

JBS pork processing plant in Worthington

Worthington’s early COVID response informed by past ICE raids, according to report

By: - July 28, 2022

Immigrant communities in Worthington leaned on experiences responding to ICE raids years earlier to inform early COVID-19 response and relief plans, according to a new report by the Migration Policy Institute.  As the pandemic continues and new viral hazards develop, like monkeypox, the report analyzed the experience of two cities’ — Worthington and Houston, Texas […]

GOP attorney general candidate Doug Wardlow faces campaign finance complaint

By: - July 20, 2022

Republican attorney general candidate Doug Wardlow and an affiliated political committee face a complaint filed with the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board alleging they illegally coordinated advertisements. Kent Kaiser, who served in the office of the Minnesota secretary of state for eight years under Republican Mary Kiffmeyer and Democrat Mark Ritchie, requested the board investigate.  The […]

Walz celebrates expansion of Waconia hemp business

By: - July 18, 2022

WACONIA — As a high school teacher and football coach not that long ago, Gov. Tim Walz was no doubt on the lookout for students under the sway of mind-altering substances.  As governor in the middle of a reelection campaign, Walz on Monday found himself at Hemp Acres, now one of the largest cannabis processing facilities […]

How many minors had abortions in Minnesota?

By: - July 14, 2022

The story of a 10-year old Ohio girl who was impregnated and forced to seek an abortion in Indiana due to her state’s newly restrictive abortion law has focused attention on girls forced to carry pregnancies to term after being raped. In Minnesota, 20 Minnesota girls under the age of 15 had abortions in 2021, […]

U.S. House bill to protect Minnesota watershed advances

By: - July 14, 2022

A key U.S. House committee advanced a bill Wednesday that would protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from sulfide mining. The Boundary Waters Protection and Pollution Prevention Act would permanently ban sulfide-ore copper mining on 225,378 acres of federal lands and waters in the Rainy River watershed. The House Natural Resources Committee approved the […]

Minnesota Supreme Court clarifies privilege between sexual assault counselors and victims

By: - July 13, 2022

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the confidentiality privilege between sexual assault counselors and victims seeking help cannot be lifted in a criminal proceeding without the victim’s consent.  The ruling solidifies certain privacy protections for sexual assault victims by clarifying a 1982 Minnesota statute. It prohibits sexual assault counselors from disclosing “any opinion or […]

Campaign finance board finds probable cause in Action 4 Liberty case

By: - July 13, 2022

The agency that regulates campaign finance found probable cause that the right-wing activist group Action 4 Liberty, which has been working to boost allies in upcoming Republican primaries, violated state campaign law.  The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board alleges that the group made illegal corporate campaign contributions to Republican gubernatorial candidate Neil Shah […]