Author

Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.

Legislative score card: Who won and who lost in $52 billion state budget

By: - July 6, 2021

After months of wrangling, many missed deadlines and partisan gridlock, DFL Gov. Tim Walz signed into law a new $52 billion budget on Wednesday just hours before parts of the state government were set to shut down.  Walz held a ceremonial bill signing in the Governor’s Reception Room, the first public event in the ornately […]

Senate GOP will hold confirmation hearings on Walz commissioners as special session continues indefinitely

By: - July 2, 2021

Senate Republicans on Friday said they planned to review outstanding commissioner appointments next week, potentially moving to oust one or more members of DFL Gov. Tim Walz’s cabinet.  State Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, told her colleagues of the plan during a brief floor session. Unlike the DFL-led Minnesota House, the Senate did not adjourn […]

Sitting lawmakers will no longer be able to work as lobbyists as new law takes aim at GOP leader

By: - July 1, 2021

Sitting lawmakers will no longer be able to work as lobbyists, after a Republican amendment taking aim at House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, was adopted nearly unanimously in the House and later approved by the Senate as part of a broader tax bill.  Offered by state Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, the measure will outlaw […]

Lawmakers give final approval to $52 billion budget, averting state government shutdown

By: - June 30, 2021

Minnesota lawmakers at last completed a new $52 billion two-year budget on Wednesday with just hours to spare before parts of state government were set to temporarily shutter amid ideological differences in the divided Legislature.  DFL Gov. Tim Walz wasted no time, quickly signing the remaining budget bills, including a nearly $21 billion education bill, […]

Dead of night legislating: Lawmakers pass public safety bill, end governor’s emergency powers

By: - June 30, 2021

Minnesota lawmakers gave final approval early Wednesday morning to a $2.6 billion public safety budget bill after hours of debate that included last-minute amendments over police and criminal justice reforms that some Democrats say fell short. The deal was nearly scuttled by a separate issue that has roiled Minnesota politics and government for more than […]

Compromise public safety bill with limited police reforms prompts pushback from progressives

By: - June 28, 2021

Progressive lawmakers are pushing back against a bipartisan public safety budget agreement struck over the weekend by legislative leadership and Gov. Tim Walz, saying the legislation is inadequate to protect the lives of Black Minnesotans from deadly use-of-force by police.  On Saturday, leaders of the Democratic-controlled House and GOP-majority Senate announced a deal on one […]

GOP Senate uses budget bill to try to revoke Walz’s emergency powers

By: - June 25, 2021

DFL Gov. Tim Walz on Friday said he intended to rescind his peacetime emergency declaration to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic by Aug. 1. The additional time would allow the state to leverage continued federal aid, he said.  This is the first time Walz has provided a date for when he would relinquish his emergency […]

Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison for murder of George Floyd

By: - June 25, 2021

Convicted in the murder of George Floyd, ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison Friday, becoming the first white Minnesota police officer to serve prison time for a murder committed while on the job.  The sentencing marks a significant milestone in the effort to get justice for Floyd, […]

Nearly $800 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds will shore up health, human services spending

By: - June 24, 2021

Nearly $800 million in federal COVID-19 relief dollars will be spent in the next four years on health and human services under a budget deal struck Thursday by the Minnesota House and Senate.  Altogether, the health and human services spending will grow to just shy of $14 billion in the two-year budget cycle that starts […]

Minnesota Republicans use budget bills to focus on rising crime in the Twin Cities

By: - June 24, 2021

Minnesota Republicans offered another signal that they intend to use crime as a political weapon against Democrats in 2022, turning to an unlikely vehicle to do it Wednesday: A transportation budget bill.  The Minnesota House debated a $7 billion transportation budget bill Wednesday, with many GOP-sponsored amendments that aimed to provide state funding for law […]

Lawmakers agree to provide bonus pay to essential workers who took unpaid time off during pandemic

By: - June 22, 2021

So-called essential workers who took unpaid time off during the height of the pandemic will receive some bonus pay under a deal announced Tuesday by Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake.  “We have agreed to a worker bonus,” he said. “It’s well over $200 million.” He said he was “not at liberty” to […]

In reversal, Senate votes down refinery safety measure

By: - June 22, 2021

The GOP-led Senate on Tuesday voted down an amendment requiring refinery contract workers to complete apprenticeship-level training just days after approving the same amendment, dealing a blow to refinery union workers.  Teamsters at the Marathon oil refinery in St. Paul Park are in a contract dispute with the company over what workers say are dangerous […]