Author

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.

Jill Biden promotes federal child care funding in Minnesota

By: - February 9, 2022

First Lady Jill Biden talked with Minnesota officials, parents and child care providers on Wednesday about federal investments in early childhood education and local efforts to support the beleaguered industry. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan joined Biden for the discussion […]

Reader asks: Why pass a bonding bill when Minnesota has a budget surplus?

By: - February 7, 2022

Under normal circumstances, a bonding bill would be the center of attention at the Legislature this session. But this year, the state’s projected $7.7 billion surplus has stolen some of the spotlight.  Minnesota lawmakers typically tackle public works borrowing packages — also known as bonding bills — in even-numbered years and state budgets in odd-numbered years. This […]

Lawmakers hear plea for more mental health resources for schools

By: - February 4, 2022

Braden Schmitt said conducting threat assessments of students thinking about harming themselves or others was an “infrequent” part of her job as a school psychologist before the pandemic. Now, it’s almost a daily occurrence, Schmitt said. “Despite their challenges, the students I am lucky to work with are amazing and resilient,” said Schmitt, who works […]

House education committee hears directly from high school students

By: - February 2, 2022

High school students from across Minnesota shared their concerns about school with lawmakers Wednesday, highlighting issues from mental health to career preparation. Members of the House Education Finance Committee said they wanted to hear from students as they begin the 2022 legislative session and prepare to tackle such topics as school funding and teacher workforce […]

Scott Jensen gets boost in governor’s race with strong showing in Republican straw poll

By: and - February 2, 2022

Former state Sen. Scott Jensen was a clear favorite among Republican caucus-goers on Tuesday night, where party activists had the chance to weigh in for the first time on the race for governor.  Jensen won 38% of the vote in the GOP straw poll among a crowded field of seven candidates vying for the party’s […]

Extension to workers’ comp COVID-19 presumption clears House committee

By: - January 31, 2022

A Minnesota House committee approved on Monday a bill to extend for another year a law that says frontline health care workers and first responders will be presumed eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they test positive for COVID-19. Minnesota’s existing COVID-19 presumption law expired Dec. 31, 2021. The bill from Rep. Dan Wolgamott, DFL-St. […]

Defense Department medical staff deployed to Abbott Northwestern Hospital

By: - January 28, 2022

Another federal medical team is arriving in Minnesota as the state’s health care system remains stressed by the most recent wave of the pandemic, Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday. The team of 23 doctors, nurses and hospital staff from the Department of Defense will arrive at Abbott Northwestern Hospital Saturday to care for patients and […]

3 education issues to watch during the 2022 legislative session

By: - January 28, 2022

With the pandemic disrupting schools for the third year and a $7.7 billion budget surplus on the table, education is shaping up to be a high-profile topic at the Legislature this spring. In last year’s budget, lawmakers boosted spending for K-12 education and early childhood education by more than $500 million each. Now, education advocates […]

Gov. Walz proposes legalizing marijuana and spending $2.3 billion on health and public safety

By: - January 26, 2022

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan unveiled a sweeping package of health and public safety proposals Wednesday that would cost nearly $2.3 billion over three years. Walz and Flanagan’s supplemental budget recommendations include a slew of policies the governor says will lower crime rates and improve health outcomes. They include creating grants for […]

House DFL shares child care, education spending ideas

By: - January 25, 2022

Democratic state representatives rolled out a multibillion-dollar wish list Tuesday that they say represents what it would take to fully fund Minnesota’s major early childhood and K-12 education programs. With the 2022 legislative session just days away, lawmakers are gearing up for negotiations over how to spend a projected $7.7 billion budget surplus. Leaders of […]

Minnesota’s jobless rate is lowest since 2019, but economic recovery remains uneven

By: - January 20, 2022

Minnesota’s unemployment rate fell to 3.1% in December, compared to 3.3% the month before, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced Thursday.  That is Minnesota’s lowest unemployment rate since 2019. The decline in the unemployment rate last month was caused by job-seekers getting hired, according to DEED; at other points in the pandemic, […]

Enbridge fixes aquifer breached during Line 3 construction

By: - January 20, 2022

Enbridge has stopped the flow of water from an aquifer that its workers breached a year ago during construction of the Line 3 oil pipeline in northern Minnesota, a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources spokesperson told the Reformer Thursday.   The DNR fined Enbridge $3.3 million in September and ordered the company to repair the puncture, […]