Pat Kessler

(credit: CBS)

Dayton Signs Bill Retracting Commissioner Raises For Now

Minnesota lawmakers voted Thursday to cut the paychecks of more than two dozen state commissioners. That’s after Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton passed out pay hikes to all 26 members of his cabinet, causing intense political controversy. Some of the raises were as high as $35,000.

02/26/2015

(credit: CBS)

Should Lawmakers Limit Police Use Of License Plate Images?

Right now, police departments scan and keep millions of license plate images for future investigations.

02/25/2015

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Dayton Questions Termination Of UMD Hockey Coach

On Tuesday, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton added his name to a list of state lawmakers protesting the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s decision to terminate the contract of the women’s hockey coach.

02/24/2015

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Deal Stalls Agency Leader Salary Hike, Grants Lawmaker Power

The Minnesota House has endorsed a deal that stalls commissioner pay hikes until June but gives Gov. Mark Dayton a narrow window to boost those salaries.

02/19/2015

(credit: CBS)

Auditor: MNsure’s ‘Failures Outweighed Its Achievements’

A lack of adequate testing before the state’s health insurance exchange launched in 2013 and other issues meant the exchange’s “failures outweighed its achievements” in its first year, the legislative auditor concluded in a report released Tuesday.

02/17/2015

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Dayton Enraged By DFL Move To Suspend Pay Raises

The hefty pay hikes proposed for Gov. Mark Dayton’s cabinet were already controversial when the State Senate met on Thursday. But it was Dayton’s fellow Democrats who voted to suspend the raises until July 1. “That will give the legislature time I think to put the kind of thoughtful review into the study and the salary to make sure that it indeed is warranted,” Sen. Tom Bakk said.

02/12/2015

(credit: CBS)

Dayton, Republicans At Odds Over Cabinet Raises

Gov. Mark Dayton regards stinging criticism from legislative Republican over his raises for agency commissioners as being done out of revenge. Dayton lashed out Wednesday over the GOP’s attention to recently announced raises, which were authorized by lawmakers in 2013.

02/11/2015

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Dayton Asks For $10M To Replace Aging Aircraft

Gov. Mark Dayton said he wants to replace two aging aircraft that serve as Minnesota’s official state planes.

The Democratic governor is asking the legislature for $10 million dollars to replace them, because he says the current planes are becoming dangerous.

02/10/2015

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Are Massive Raises For Dayton’s Cabinet ‘Outrageous’?

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is giving members of his Cabinet a big payday: They’re getting double-digit raises totalling tens of thousands of dollars.

02/05/2015

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Reality Check: The Price Of Not Buying Health Insurance

Minnesotans have until Feb. 15 to sign up for health care insurance or pay a tax penalty. And this year, that penalty could really sting. According to MNsure, the state’s health care exchange, the 2015 penalty for not buying insurance coverage is:

02/04/2015

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PolyMet Mine Hearing Brings Clash Of Interests

A House committee opened hearings Tuesday on a plan to open a copper-nickel mine on northern Minnesota’s Iron Range.

02/03/2015

(credit: Como Park Zoo and Conservatory)

Minnesota Zoo Seeks Emergency Funding From Government

The Minnesota Zoo is asking the legislature for help with a million dollar budget deficit. Zoo officials said they may otherwise be facing some difficult decisions to make it up, including the possibility of closing some exhibits.

WCCO-TV–02/02/2015

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Reality Check: Last Winter’s Snow Removal Cost Minnesota $136M

Two words we learned last year that we hope we don’t hear again anytime soon: Polar Vortex. Last winter set new records for Minnesota cold, and now we’ve learned it also set a new record for how much money was spent on snow and ice removal.

01/30/2015

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Goin’ To The (Frozen) Lake: Amelia & Mark Visit St. Peter

Winter doesn’t stop WCCO’s road trip around Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We’re Goin’ to the Lake even when there’s no snow and the lake is actually a river! Mark Rosen and Amelia Santaniello start our winter tour in St. Peter in the Minnesota River valley of southern Minnesota.

01/29/2015

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Lawmakers Seek To Attract Health Care Workers To Rural MN

Minnesota’s need for rural health care services is growing at exactly the time the number of health care professionals is shrinking. In six of the largest counties in northwestern Minnesota around Crookston, it’s a crisis.

01/28/2015

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Pat Kessler Makes Washington Post’s ‘Best Political Reporters’ List

The whole WCCO team is pretty proud of one of our own Wednesday. Pat Kessler was just named one of the best political reporters in the country by the Washington Post’s influential and popular blog – The Fix.

01/28/2015

(credit: CBS)

Dayton Lifts Education In $42 Billion Budget But Test Awaits

Every Minnesota public school student would be worth more in the eyes of the state if lawmakers support Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget proposal. Dayton wants to increase the basic per-pupil funding formula for school districts by 1 percent in each of the next two years.

01/27/2015

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Dayton Pushes Gas Tax Hike In New Transportation Plan

Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan for transportation would repair or replace 2,200 miles of state roads and 330 bridges, but would come at a noticeable cost to taxpayers. Dayton released a large-scale proposal Monday that depends on adding a new 6.5 percent tax on gas and higher vehicle registration fees.

01/26/2015

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Reality Check: Will MN Finally Get Sunday Liquor Sales?

Minnesota lawmakers are taking aim at a nearly century-old law that’s been very difficult to take off the books. Liquor stores cannot legally open on Sundays. If it’s hard to understand why, you are not alone. It’s an 82 year old law some lawmakers are trying to repeal.

01/23/2015

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Lawmakers Introduce Bills To Legalize Sunday Liquor Sales

That Sunday beer-run across the border could become a thing of the past. Minnesota lawmakers introduced bills Thursday to repeal a decades-long ban on Sunday liquor store sales.

01/22/2015

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Lawmakers Criticize Minn. Child Protection System

Minnesota lawmakers are outlining their proposals to change the state’s child protection system. Four legislators were rolling out a plan Wednesday. They serve on a task force Gov. Mark Dayton created after media reports of bureaucratic faults in the death of a 4-year-old boy.

01/21/2015

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Minn. Woman Sits With First Lady At State Of The Union

A Twin Cities woman was President Obama’s guest at the State of the Union address Tuesday night. Rebekah Erler wrote the president last year about how tough the economy has been on her family.

01/20/2015

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Reality Check: Minnesota’s Evolving Rural Profile

Since 1960, it’s been an unstoppable population shift, and a new study from the Center for Rural Policy and Development shows a 50-year migration from rural Minnesota to the urban corridor stretching from St. Cloud through the Twin Cities and Rochester.

01/16/2015

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Lawmakers Debate Police Use Of License Plate Readers

Minnesota lawmakers opened hearings Thursday on a bill to regulate how long police can keep computer images of your car and license plate. Police store tens of thousands of those images — even if you haven’t committed a crime.

01/15/2015

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Office Space Disputes Threaten Capitol Renovation

Minnesota lawmakers are caught in a dust-up over office space at the State Capitol, and it’s threatening to delay the massive Capitol restoration now underway. The three-year, $272 million project is on time and on budget. But the tenants in the new building — including the governor, the Senate, the House and the attorney general — cannot come to agreement over how much space they will control.

01/14/2015

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