Baylor Spears

Baylor Spears

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

How Minnesota schools are navigating funding uncertainties this November

By: - September 16, 2022

Few school districts are asking residents for more funding this November, fearing rejection from voters concerned with inflation and worried their requests will be drowned out by midterm campaigns.  At least 21 school districts will ask voters to raise or maintain school operating levies this fall, the fewest since 1980, when the Minnesota School Boards […]

Star Tribune sues Department of Defense for records

By: - September 7, 2022

The Star Tribune filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense earlier this month for failing to provide records and communications between Gov. Tim Walz and high-ranking DOD officials from the period just after the police murder of George Floyd.  In the days following Floyd’s death, Walz took command of a situation that was […]

Legislative audit finds Southwest Light Rail extension delayed and over budget due to planning issues

By: - September 2, 2022

A legislative audit of the Southwest Light Rail green line extension found that poor planning and decision-making are responsible for the delays and cost overruns that have plagued the project since it started in 2011.  The Metropolitan Council is overseeing the design, engineering, construction and future operation of the light rail line, which is now […]

Progressive think tank backed by unions launches in Minnesota

By: - September 1, 2022

Minnesota labor unions are funding a new progressive think tank in Minnesota aimed at developing data-driven public policy recommendations that support high-paying jobs, quality education and the environment.   North Star Policy Action launched on Thursday and will focus on researching and communicating policies that address climate change, economic and racial equity, and education.  It is […]

Political divisions are on display at the Great Minnesota Get-Together

By: and - August 30, 2022

A mother crouched down to pin “Walz Failed” buttons on each of her children near Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Jensen’s campaign booth. Outside the Miracle of Birth barn, fairgoers cooled themselves with “Walz Failed” fans. Overhead, a plane circled every few minutes with a banner screaming “Walz Failed.”  The Republican message to voters was ubiquitous […]

Pete Buttigieg visits the bus and the fair

By: - August 25, 2022

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg got appreciative shouts at the State Fair’s opening day Thursday, before making an idiosyncratic fair food choice that may foretell a battleground state in the upcoming midterm elections: fried Ohio buckeyes. Fairgoers circled around Buttigieg and his hosts — Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and Rep. Ilhan Omar — grabbing […]

Walz and law enforcement officials discuss safety at upcoming State Fair

By: - August 23, 2022

Gov. Tim Walz and law enforcement officials discussed safety at this year’s Minnesota State Fair, where upwards of 100,000 people per day are expected starting Thursday.  “Minnesotans need to know that this team has put together an incredible plan, that they’re out here to assist folks,” Walz said. He said fair police will also seek […]

Attorney General Ellison urges U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Indian Child Welfare Act

By: - August 22, 2022

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and 23 other state attorneys general urged the U.S. Supreme Court in an amicus brief to reject a challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act, which protects the sovereignty of Native American children, their families and tribal communities. The case, Haaland v. Brackeen, was brought in 2017 by a white […]

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 […]