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.

Lawmakers poised to miss self-imposed deadline on $52 billion budget

By: - June 4, 2021

Lawmakers working to finalize a new $52 billion budget are poised to blow past a second deadline without much public evidence of progress.  Friday was the self-imposed deadline for so-called working groups who are debating how to cut taxes and spend billions of taxpayer dollars on schools, public safety, health programs and other areas of […]

City workers work to reopen George Floyd Square to traffic

By: and - June 3, 2021

They arrived before sunrise, working quickly to begin stripping away the barricades that have kept the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue closed for more than a year since George Floyd was murdered by former police officer Derek Chauvin there. City crews, escorted by members of the Agape Movement, made the first steps towards […]

Senate, House Republicans clash with Walz over eviction moratorium, emergency powers

By: - June 2, 2021

Senate and House Republicans are clashing with DFL Gov. Tim Walz over his emergency powers and calling on him to lift his eviction moratorium, taking their dispute public on Wednesday amid private budget negotiations.  Walz last month announced a broad budget deal with legislative leaders hours before the regular legislative session adjourned. Since then, working […]

State layoff notices go out as budget negotiations drag on

By: - June 1, 2021

Minnesota state government employees received layoff notices this week, a preemptive move as state officials begin the process of planning for a potential government shutdown if political leaders fail to approve a new two-year budget by June 30.  It’s still quite early, and the notices are a formality as legislative leaders and DFL Gov. Tim […]

Lawmakers decide on billions in spending, shrouded in secrecy

By: and - June 1, 2021

In 2019, after Gov. Tim Walz had ensconced himself with House DFL and Senate GOP legislative leaders behind closed doors to hash out a budget, he told journalists he was frustrated with the lack of transparency into the backroom deals that have come to define the close of Minnesota legislative sessions. Two years later, he […]

Sen. Tina Smith signs on to letter requesting DOJ antitrust investigation into beef processing industry

By: - May 28, 2021

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith has signed on to a letter asking the Justice Department to investigate whether four large beef processors have a monopoly on meat processing that some members of Congress say is leading to high retail beef prices. Led by South Dakota Republican Sen. Michael Rounds, the bipartisan effort includes two dozen U.S. […]

Smith’s first committee hearing as chair highlights Native American safe, affordable housing problems

By: - May 27, 2021

Homes on tribal land lack heating at more than 100 times the national average, and plumbing is deficient at five times the national rate, according to testimony provided during a Senate subcommittee chaired by U.S. Sen. Tina Smith.  The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a housing crisis affecting Native Americans, leading to a hearing Thursday in […]

Los Angeles Times journalists sue Minn. State Patrol over injuries sustained during George Floyd protests

By: - May 26, 2021

Two Los Angeles Times journalists are suing the Minnesota State Patrol for injuries they sustained while covering protests last May in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Derek Chauvin. Houston Bureau Chief Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Carolyn Cole, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, were among a group of journalists who were assembled near the Minneapolis Police […]

4 days left to finalize a $52 billion budget, but ‘working groups’ meet largely out of public view

By: - May 24, 2021

Just four days remain for lawmakers to finalize a $52 billion budget, at least according to a deadline DFL Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders announced last week. For the most part, insofar as any decisions are being made, they are happening behind closed doors.  On the last day of the legislative session, the governor […]

Minn. Attorney General Keith Ellison will lead prosecution against Brooklyn Center officer accused of killing Daunte Wright

By: - May 21, 2021

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will be leading the prosecution against former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter, who is accused of second-degree manslaughter in the April 11 shooting death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.  The decision to have Ellison’s office prosecute Potter is a victory for activists who had called for either Ellison or a […]

What happened over the past four-and-a-half months at the Minnesota Capitol

By: and - May 21, 2021

It was supposed to be one of the most consequential legislative sessions in a decade. Instead, lawmakers adjourned on Monday announcing only a broad “numbers-only” budget that still needs to be crafted and passed by June 30 or force the state into a partial government shutdown. Faced with an $883 million budget deficit, a state […]

New House Republican caucus gives Shakopee lawmaker the boot

By: - May 19, 2021

Troubles keep mounting for freshman state Rep. Erik Mortensen, the Shakopee Republican who can’t seem to get along with fellow conservatives.  Mortensen has been kicked out of the New House Republican Caucus, previously a five-man group of conservatives who defected in 2018 to form a new caucus.  State Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, sent a letter […]