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.

From surplus to deficit? Minnesota budget forecast Tuesday sets stage for legislative session’s final 2 weeks

By: - May 4, 2020

Tuesday’s billion dollar question: Will Minnesota face a sudden budget deficit after expecting a $1.5 billion surplus just weeks ago?  The state budget office — known as Minnesota Management and Budget or MMB — is preparing to publish a budget forecast Tuesday, required by law for lawmakers to tap into a $2.4 billion budget reserve. […]

Minnesota state Sen. Scott Jensen plays golf during legislative hearing, prompting criticism

By: - May 1, 2020

State lawmakers working remotely have typically participated in Zoom meetings from their home or work offices.  State Sen. Scott Jensen, however, carried on his legislative duties during a round of golf Thursday, triggering criticism from the chair of the DFL Party. During a hearing by the Senate Health and Human Services committee on Thursday, Jensen, […]

Worthington activists criticize Peterson press conference for excluding JBS pork packing plant workers

By: - April 29, 2020

A group of Worthington activists said Wednesday they were “concerned and dismayed” to learn that a planned press conference about meat packing plant closures led by Rep. Collin Peterson and Gov. Tim Walz excluded meatpacking plant workers.  “Workers, organizers and residents are concerned and dismayed that the press conference does not include impacted workers and […]

Minnesota Senate votes 42-25 in favor of legislative authority, oversight of $2B in federal COVID-19 funding

By: - April 27, 2020

The state Senate advanced a measure Monday that would give Minnesota lawmakers explicit authority to decide how to spend roughly $2 billion from the federal government to stop the spread of  COVID-19. By a 42-25 tally, the Republican-led effort earned some DFL votes, including the former Senate DFL leader, Sen. Tom Bakk of Cook.  The […]

Senate GOP leader calls for renegotiating labor contracts with government workers

By: - April 24, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, on Friday said the state should renegotiate several labor contracts with thousands of government workers, arguing the state’s worsening budget picture calls for public employees to forego planned salary raises.  The contracts — which a House committee advanced on Thursday on a party line vote — still […]

Minnesota schools won’t re-open this spring

By: and - April 23, 2020

Minnesota schools will remain closed through the end of the school year in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday, five weeks after he first closed schools so educators could plan for distance learning. That means most of the state’s 875,000 students have at least another six weeks of distance […]

House GOP pushes for tax exemption on Payroll Protection Program loans

By: - April 23, 2020

House Republicans on Thursday called for immediate action to change Minnesota’s tax code so that federally-guaranteed business loans to cover payroll during the pandemic won’t be taxed as income.  Minnesota businesses have received $9 billion from the recently-approved Paycheck Protection Program through April 16, according to data from the Small Business Administration. Congress created the […]

Gov. Walz, Mayo Clinic, U announce deal to test 20,000 Minnesotans daily

By: - April 22, 2020

Gov. Tim Walz announced a strategy Wednesday to test up to 20,000 Minnesotans daily for COVID-19, dramatically ramping up the state’s capacity in an effort to get a clearer picture of the pandemic. The joint effort with the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota will test for active infections, as well as people who […]

More than 2,200 U.S. meat packing employees sick, 17 dead in COVID-19 outbreaks, report says

By: - April 22, 2020

More than 2,200 people have fallen sick with COVID-19 in at least 48 U.S. meat packing plants, and 17 have died as of Tuesday night, USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found Wednesday.  The comprehensive review of outbreaks in the nation’s meat packing facilities found that Worthington’s JBS pork plant is among […]

Minnesota issues health guidelines to keep packing plants running during pandemic

By: - April 21, 2020

Minnesota health officials, who have deployed to Worthington to conduct wider testing of the JBS workforce and surrounding community, have issued guidelines for how meat packing facilities can safely operate. The closures of meatpacking plants in Iowa, South Dakota, Colorado and Minnesota this week because of COVID-19 outbreaks are raising questions about how to safely […]

JBS pork processing plant in Worthington

Minnesota wants to test all JBS pork packing plant employees after COVID-19 outbreak

By: - April 21, 2020

Minnesota faces its most serious COVID-19-related crisis yet with the discovery of an outbreak at a JBS pork packing plant in Worthington, the southwestern Minnesota town where a coronavirus outbreak has infected at least 26 workers and some of their family members. State health officials said Monday they want to test all employees at the […]

JBS pork processing plant in Worthington

COVID-19 outbreak at JBS pork plant in Worthington

By: - April 17, 2020

Gov. Tim Walz is deploying a team to Worthington, as a JBS meatpacking plant is now the site of a COVID-19 outbreak there.   As in Iowa, South Dakota and other states, Minnesota now faces a threat to a key agribusiness sector, source of the nation’s food supply and economic driver in the rural southwest part […]