Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez was a senior political reporter for the Reformer.

DFL, GOP lawmakers announce different COVID precautions for upcoming legislative session

By: - January 28, 2022

The DFL-led House and Republican-led Senate outlined divergent approaches to how each chamber will work during the upcoming legislative session, which starts Monday. House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, issued a memo Friday saying they will continue to limit public access to the House chamber and lawmakers’ offices.  “Only elected members of the House and […]

House Speaker Hortman: Hennepin County Sheriff Hutchinson should resign

By: - January 26, 2022

House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson should resign. “His conduct constituted an egregious violation of the public trust, and I don’t think he can be effective as the chief law enforcement officer of Hennepin County under these circumstances,” Hortman said Wednesday in an interview with the Reformer. “He should […]

Senate GOP legislative agenda: Get tougher on crime and cut state taxes

By: - January 26, 2022

Senate Republicans on Wednesday outlined a broad vision for how they would address rising violent crime, spend the $7.7 billion projected surplus and educate children they say have had their learning disrupted by the pandemic.  “We know crime rates are up, kids are falling behind and record inflation is eating away at family budgets,” said […]

Walz seeks $5.1 billion to expand early learning, child care and enact paid family leave

By: - January 25, 2022

Gov. Tim Walz unveiled a $5.1 billion proposal to fund schools, expand early learning programs and implement a paid family leave program he says will provide Minnesota students and families more options for pre-kindergarten and keep the state competitive. The plan outlined on Tuesday would be funded with a mix of one-time state general fund […]

Actions of three officers present at George Floyd’s killing scrutinized in federal trial opening

By: - January 24, 2022

Federal prosecutors in St. Paul said Monday that ex-Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane had a lawful duty to step in and stop their superior officer, Derek Chauvin, when he knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, eventually killing him. Special Litigation Counsel Samantha Trepel of the […]

Carlos Mariani still loves and respects the Legislature where he served for more than 30 years

By: - January 24, 2022

Among the slew of legislative retirements announced in recent months is that of veteran House DFL lawmaker Carlos Mariani of St. Paul. He is serving his 16th term and was first elected in 1990, well before the age of Twitter, where political news and talking points now tend to circulate.  Mariani, who is Puerto Rican, […]

More calls for Hennepin County Sheriff Hutchinson to resign

By: - January 21, 2022

A growing number of state lawmakers are calling on Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson to resign a day after the Minnesota State Patrol made public investigative materials saying that Hutchinson was driving more than 120 miles per hour seconds before his Dec. 8 DWI crash.  On Friday, state Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, who served four […]

An hour before DWI crash, Hennepin County sheriff called for a ride to a bar

By: - January 20, 2022

An hour before he crashed his county-owned vehicle, Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson called an Alexandria cab driver asking whether any bars were still open, according to investigative audio released Thursday by the Minnesota State Patrol.  The trove of released material  also contained new information, including that Hutchinson was driving more than 120 miles per […]

Gov. Walz identifies $2.7 billion in state infrastructure spending priorities

By: - January 18, 2022

Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday issued his opening offer in negotiations for an infrastructure and public-works proposal that would spend $2.7 billion to maintain the state’s assets, pay for housing and protect the environment.  The so-called bonding bill authorizes the state to borrow money in the form of general obligation bonds to pay for capital […]

Gazelka calls for tougher penalties for ‘young hardened criminals’

By: - January 14, 2022

Minnesota Republicans previewed their tough-on-crime legislative agenda on Friday, with one state lawmaker and GOP gubernatorial contender calling for mandatory minimum sentences for those accused of carjacking.  State Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, said he planned to introduce two bills once the legislative session starts on Jan. 31. One would create minimum sentences for […]

Commission tables vote on changing sentencing guidelines for repeat offenders

By: - January 13, 2022

The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission on Thursday postponed a controversial vote that would have eliminated the practice of weighing the custody status of repeat criminal offenders during sentencing.  The delay comes weeks after emotional public testimony against the plan. Last month, fierce debate over the proposal lasted for hours and included testimony from lawmakers, police […]

Legislative auditor: Commerce Department lacked jurisdiction in energy company investigation

By: - January 12, 2022

A law enforcement unit of the Minnesota Commerce Department lacked statutory authority to investigate an energy company charged with swindling customers, the Legislative Auditor’s office said Wednesday.   The Commerce Fraud Bureau (CFB) may only investigate offenses related to insurance fraud, “but we found that it sometimes also investigates other types of fraud, contrary to what […]