Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a former data reporter for the Minnesota Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.

Walz signs bill funneling $300 million from settlement into state opiate response fund

By: - May 12, 2022

Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday signed a bill funneling $300 million from a multi-state settlement with opioid manufacturers and distributors into the state’s opioid response fund.  Through the fund, the settlement money will be used for opioid addiction and overdose education, prevention, treatment and recovery efforts across the state. The news comes as the federal […]

Senate GOP moves forward with tax credit, insurance product family leave proposals

By: - May 10, 2022

The Minnesota Senate passed on Tuesday a bill that the GOP majority describes as a “free-market solution” to ensuring more Minnesotans have access to paid family leave. The bill, introduced by Sen. Julia Coleman, R-Waconia, would allow insurance companies to offer paid family leave benefits product in Minnesota, which state law currently prohibits. The Senate […]

Education associations urge lawmakers to address special education funding shortfalls

By: - May 9, 2022

Nine statewide education associations on Monday called for lawmakers to cover schools’ special education funding shortfalls with a portion of the state’s projected $9.25 billion budget surplus. Minnesota school districts don’t receive enough state or federal funds to cover the costs of providing mandatory services for students with disabilities, resulting in a funding gap that […]

House approves proposal making hourly school workers eligible for unemployment benefits

By: - May 5, 2022

The Minnesota House on Wednesday approved a proposal to make hourly school workers eligible for unemployment benefits. The provision — included in the majority DFL House’s jobs bill — would allow bus drivers, cafeteria staff and paraprofessionals to apply for unemployment benefits during summer break. Labor and education unions have pushed for the change for […]

Minnesota is one of 24 states unlikely to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned, report says

By: - May 4, 2022

Minnesota is one of 24 states unlikely to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned, according to an analysis by the think tank Guttmacher Institute. That could make Minnesota an island in the upper Midwest. Three neighboring states have laws on the books to automatically make most abortions illegal if federal protection for abortion […]

How Minnesota is — and isn’t — teaching kids to read

By: - May 3, 2022

When Rachel Berger’s son was diagnosed with dyslexia in kindergarten, she thought she found the “golden key” to getting him the right support in school. Instead, the school district said they didn’t have any services for her son. Berger, who is also dyslexic, was furious. Over the next 10 years, Berger launched Decoding Dyslexia MN […]

Republicans falsely claim schools are providing litter boxes for students identifying as cats

By: - April 28, 2022

Minnesota Republicans repeated debunked tales about schools providing litter boxes for students who identify as cats during debate over the House education budget bill Wednesday. Reps. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, and Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, shared the fictional stories in support of Drazkowski’s proposal to give lawmakers control over a statewide student survey. The anecdotes show, Miller […]

Marijuana legalization party calls for ballot access law reform

By: - April 27, 2022

A marijuana legalization party is calling for changes to Minnesota’s candidate ballot access law ahead of the 2022 election, a move they say would prevent deceitful or frivolous campaigns appearing on ballots. The Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party wants all candidates for state office to be required to gather voter signatures in order to get their […]

Candidate who delivered speech while in labor may run in primary election

By: - April 25, 2022

A Minnesota state Senate candidate who made national headlines for attending a Democratic convention while in active labor has not decided whether she will suspend her campaign or run in the primary election, according to her campaign manager.   Erin Maye Quade, a former state representative, withdrew from the party’s endorsement process midday Saturday — roughly 10 […]

‘We can do that’: Walz calls for compromise, action on big issues during State of the State

By: and - April 25, 2022

Facing one of the most challenging periods of his political career, Gov. Tim Walz returned to his political roots during his State of the State address Sunday, pitching a pragmatic, optimistic call for compromise to the center of the Minnesota electorate.  Walz, giving his first State of the State address in the House chamber since […]

Photo illustration of nurses in a hospital

Minnesota’s racial disparities in health care coverage worsened last year, state says

By: - April 21, 2022

Minnesota’s racial disparities in health care coverage worsened in 2021, according to survey data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health. About 10.2% of Minnesotans of color didn’t have health insurance in 2021 — up from 7.6% in 2019, according to MDH. At the same time, the uninsured rate among non-Latino white people fell from […]

Lawmakers question state oversight of federal meal programs in third hearing

By: - April 21, 2022

Minnesota education officials on Wednesday defended the state’s management of federal nutrition funds to lawmakers, during the third legislative hearing about nutrition program fraud alleged to have taken place early in the pandemic.  Minnesota Department of Education leadership told members of the Senate education committee that the FBI investigation into the nonprofit Feeding Our Future […]