Political

Budget Surplus Expected to be $1.65 Billion

About $250 Million More than Expected

ST. PAUL, Minn.-Minnesota’s projected budget surplus has grown to more than $1.65 billion. State budget officials released the updated figures Tuesday. Lawmakers had previously been expecting a $1.4 billion budget surplus. The revised estimate kicks off the Legislature’s budget-setting process at the Capitol this year. They’ll need to approve a new budget before adjourning in late May. But there have…

Bush Promotes New Book, Reflects on Painting and the Press

  NEW YORK (AP) – Former President George W. Bush says he didn’t intend to criticize President Donald Trump when he recently said that a free press is essential to democracy. Speaking by telephone Tuesday with The Associated Press, Bush said he was simply responding to a reporter’s question about the role of journalism. Trump has referred to the press…

Longtime Cloquet City Admin. Takes Job With St. Louis County

Brian Fritsinger Held Cloquet Position Since 1999

CLOQUET, Minn. – After 18 years as Cloquet’s city administrator, Brian Fritsinger is packing up but not going too far. Fritsinger has been hired as the new deputy county administrator for St. Louis County. He raised his three children in Cloquet and calls the city home, but he tells FOX 21 it’s time for the next chapter in his career….

Pence Asks Indiana Court to Keep Some Government Emails Secret

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Vice President Mike Pence is asking the Indiana Supreme Court to let him keep secret some documents emailed to him while he was the state’s governor. The request comes after an Indianapolis lawyer earlier this month sought the overturning of state appeals court decision access to emails sent to Pence in 2014 in which a staffer for…

Republican Proposes Raising UW Tuition by Inflation, Income

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A key Republican legislature says Governor Scott Walker’s plan to cut University of Wisconsin System tuition could hurt taxpayers and lawmakers should consider letting the system raising tuition according to inflation or income increases. Representative Dale Kooyenga, a member of the Legislature’s powerful budget committee, wrote on the Right Wisconsin website last week that cutting tuition…

Trump Budget will Hike Defense Spending by $54 Billion

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House says President Donald Trump’s upcoming budget will propose a whopping $54 billion increase in defense spending and impose corresponding cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid. The result is that Trump’s initial budget wouldn’t dent budget deficits projected to run about $500 billion. White House budget officials outlined the information during a…

Candidates for Wisconsin Superintendent Face Off at Forum

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Candidates to be Wisconsin’s to education official will meet for their first head-to-head forum since advancing form last week’s primary election. The race to lead Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction is proving to be feisty, with bribery allegations and accusations of improperly using work email to campaign. Incumbent Superintendent Tony Evers and challenger Lowell Holtz will meet…

Sunday Liquor Sales Passes Minnesota Senate

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ The Minnesota Legislature has voted to repeal the state’s long-standing ban on Sunday liquor sales. The state Senate passed a bill undoing the Prohibition-era ban on a 38-28 vote Monday. It follows the House’s overwhelming approval of similar legislation last week. Lawmakers have struggled for years to lift the ban but those efforts have regularly…

President Trump to Skip Correspondents’ Dinner

President Announced Decision in Tweet

WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump says he won’t be attending the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner this spring. In a tweet on Saturday, the president doesn’t give a reason but says he wishes “everyone well and have a great evening!” The annual fundraiser for college scholarships mixes politicians, journalists and celebrities. Trump has long had an adversarial relationship with…

State Candidate Sent Campaign Email from Schools Account

Email Appears to be Violation of State Law

MADISON, Wis. (AP) State superintendent candidate Lowell Holtz sent a campaign-focused email detailing his support among Republicans using his Whitnall Public School email address during a school day. The email sent in May appears to be in violation of the state law prohibiting the use of government resources for campaign work. The email was provided to The Associated Press by…

Minnesota Secretary of State Visits Duluth

Secretary of State Simon came to Duluth to speak about Minnesota having the number one ranking in voter turnout.

DULUTH, Minn. – Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon was in Duluth brag bragging about Minnesota’s claim to the highest voter turnout. In the 2016 election, 74% of eligible Minnesotans voted last year. Secretary of State Simon said the state should be proud of its voting record. “We’ve got a good thing going in minnesota. We got back to number…

Wisconsin Attorney General Appeals Redistricting Ruling

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel has filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a ruling striking down GOP-drawn legislative boundaries as unconstitutional. Schimel filed the appeal with the nation’s highest court on Friday. Schimel had said he would appeal since a panel of judges last month struck down the maps and ordered the Republican-controlled…

Agency Publishes Timetable for Mexico Border Wall

SAN DIEGO (AP) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it plans to start awarding contracts by mid-April for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. The agency said Friday on a website for federal contractors that a request for bids would be published on or around March 6. Companies would have to submit “concept papers” to design and build prototypes…

Minnesota House Passes Real ID Bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota House has passed a Real ID bill by a vote of 72-58 after years of concern about government overreach and data privacy surrounding the federal law. Lawmakers are staring down a January 2018 deadline to distribute federally-approved IDs before Minnesota residents are barred from boarding domestic flights and entering military bases with their…

Renee Van Nett Announces Campaign for Duluth City Council

  DULUTH, Minn. – Renee Van Nett announces campaign for Duluth’s 4th district City Council seat. Van Nett founded the Cross Cultural Alliance of Duluth, which works to use cross-cultural collaboration to build a foundation of justice, education, and wellness for the community. She has also worked on various boards including the Duluth Citizen Review Board, Civil Service Board, The…

Trump Signs Executive Order to Reduce Regulation

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump  has signed a new executive order taking aim at government regulations. The president says the order will direct each federal agency to establish a regulator reform task force. The task forces will then recommend which regulations they can simplify or eliminate. The president has long argued that excessive regulations are “killing jobs, driving companies…

Rep. Walz Mulling Democratic Bid for Minnesota Governor

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Democratic U.S. Representative Tim Walz says he’s weighing a bid for Minnesota governor. The six-term congressman told Minnesota Public Radio News, Thursday that he plans to make a decision by April. Walz says representing southwestern Minnesota gives him critical experience to boost Democrats’ standing outside in rural Minnesota. Walz narrowly survived his own re-election in…

Ohio, Wisconsin Leaders Prepare for Trump Effect

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Republican legislative leaders from Ohio and Wisconsin are joining forces as they prepare for massive changes in how the federal government under president Donald Trump deals with states. Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberg and Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Thursday in Ohio, that they hope to enlist others in asserting the role of states in…

Walker Appoints Risch to Head Financial Institutions

MADISON (AP) – Governor Scott Walker has appointed a former lobbyist for the Wisconsin Bankers Association to head the state agency that regulates the banking industry. Walker announced Thursday that he was appointing Jay Risch to head the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Risch currently serves as deputy secretary of the department. He is replacing Lon Roberts whom Walker appointed…

Dayton Blasts Trump’s Transgender Bathroom Reversal

ST. PAUL (AP) – Governor Mark Dayton is urging Minnesota schools to continue allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. His Thursday pronouncement follows President Donald Trump administration’s decision this week to lift an Obama-era directive. It leaves the decision regarding bathrooms to individual states and school districts. Although the Obama guidance was not legally binding, transgender…

Superior Mayoral Primary Results

Spring election is April 4, 2017

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Tuesday was the Wisconsin primary election, and for Superior, that meant narrowing down to two opponents for the race for mayor. In the running was Brent Fennessey, Kalee Hermanson, Jim Paine, and Mike Herrick. Polls closed at 8 p.m. and shortly after that the official results were in: Brent Fennessey  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  ….

Sen. Franken Tours Denfeld Techology Department

Senator Addressed Concerns About High-Tech Education

DULUTH, Minn. – U.S. Senator Al Franken toured the Duluth Denfeld High School’s technology department Tuesday, to see how students here are learning to fill tomorrow’s high tech jobs. The was part of the Senator’s “Advancing Career Pathways Tour” across Minnesota.  America is facing a shortage of high-tech workers, something Sen. Franken wants to see addressed. “We have skills gaps…

State Lawmakers Channel Grief Into Fight Against Opioids

ST. PAUL (AP) – In statehouses across the country, lawmakers with loved ones who fell victim to drugs are leading the fight against the nation’s deadly opioid-abuse crisis, drawing on tragic personal experience to attack the problem. In Minnesota, for example, state Senator Chris Eaton’s daughter died of a heroin overdose in 2007. Eaton has since spearheaded a law granting…

Minnesota House Approves Sunday Liquor Sales

The bill approves the sale of liquor on Sundays. It still needs to be passed by the Senate.

The Minnesota house voted to allow stores to sell liquor on Sundays. Lawmakers passed the bill 85 to 45. It’s the first step in reversing the prohibition-era law. The bill still needs to go to the Senate. The owner of Keyport Liquors in Superior said he doesn’t think that the extra day of sales will affect his business too much,…

Minnesota House Approves Sunday Liquor Sales Bill

The bill now moves onto the State Senate

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House passed legislation, Monday, that would legalize the sale of liquor, beer, and wine on Sunday, the first time in state history that standalone legislation on the issue has been voted on or approved. The bill passed on a bipartisan 85-45 vote, and now heads to the Senate for consideration. Sunday liquor sales has been…

Walker Asks Public for Help Selling His Budget

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ Gov. Scott Walker wants Wisconsinites who like his budget to help him rally support. Walker’s campaign launched digital ads Monday encouraging citizens to write to their legislators in support of key elements of his budget proposal. Republican legislative leaders have been cautious about Walker’s proposed spending increases since he unveiled his budget earlier this month. Democrats…

Trump Announces New National Security Adviser

PALM BEACH, Fla (AP) – President Donald Trump has tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new national security adviser. Trump announced the pick Monday at his Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago. He says McMaster is “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.” Trump says retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who had been his acting adviser, will now serve…

Proposal: Regulate Powdered Alcohol Like Liquid Alcohol

MADISON (AP) – Two Democratic state lawmakers have proposed subjecting powdered alcohol to the same regulations as liquid alcohol. Senator Tim Carpenter and Representative Debra Kloste said Monday they’ve introduced a bill to expand the state’s definition of alcohol to include powdered forms. The federal government in 2015 approved a powdered alcohol product all Palcohol. Since then, state s have…

Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Dies in NYC at 64

NEW YORK (AP) – Russian officials say its ambassador to the United Nations has died suddenly in New York City. Vitaly Churkin was 64. Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Vladamire Safronkov, told The Associated Press that Churkin became ill in his office at Russia’s U.N. mission and was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where he died Monday. His cause of death…

Sunday Liquor Sales Ban On MN House’s Chopping Block

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota could take the first step toward erasing the state’s ban on Sunday liquor sales. The House was expected to vote Monday on a bill that would allow liquor stores to open on Sundays. It’s a perennial issue at the Capitol that consumes plenty of attention but has never moved forward. House Speaker Kurt Daudt…

Plaintiff in Roe v. Wade Passes Away

Norma McCorvey Later Became Pro-Life Activist

DALLAS (AP) Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” at the center of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, has died. She was 69. Journalist Joshua Prager, who is working on a book about McCorvey, says she died Saturday morning at an assisted living center in Katy, Texas. Although McCorvey was the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, she later…

Minnesota Lawmaker Strengthens Bid to Lead DNC

New Hampshire Democrat Drops Bid, Backs Rep. Keith Ellison

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) New Hampshire Democrat Ray Buckley has dropped out of the race for Democratic National Committee chair and is throwing his support behind Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. Buckley’s announcement comes a week before DNC members gather in Atlanta to choose a new chair. Ellison and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez are seen as the main contenders. Buckley announced…

Lieutenant Governor Visits Duluth to Celebrate Local Businesses

Highlights Many Different Local Businesses

DULUTH, Minn.-Lt. Gov. Tina Smith visited Duluth today highlighting Minnesota’s innovative economy. The event followed the recent launch of the Innovative Minnesota Campaign. It’s meant to celebrate emerging discoveries in technology throughout the state. “Innovation is embedded in our Minnesota identity,” she said. “Our state annually ranks among the top five in new patents and is home to many leading…

Senate Confirms Scott Pruitt as Head of EPA

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Scott Pruitt was approved on Friday by a vote of 52-46. Pruitt served six years as Oklahoma’s attorney general and was closely aligned with oil and gas companies in his home state, whose executives backed his political campaigns. He filed 14 lawsuits as…

White House Denies National Guard Immigration Roundup Report

(AP) – The Trump administration considered a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press. Staffers in the Department of Homeland Security said the proposal had been discussed as recently as last Friday. The 11-page document…

Wisconsin Lawmakers Ditch Plans to End Daylight Saving Time

MADISON (AP) – Two Republican lawmakers have scrapped a bill to end daylight saving time in Wisconsin amid a backlash on social media and now want to make the sunshine-extending time change permanent year-round in the state. Representatives Samantha Kerkman and Michael Schraa introduced a bill last week that would have eliminated daylight saving time in Wisconsin. The change would…

Rep. Kind Not Ruling Out Run for Governor Against Walker

MADISON (AP) – Democratic U.S. Representative Ron Kind says he is not ruling out a run for governor in 2018 against Republican Governor Scott Walker. The western Wisconsin congressman from La Crosse has frequently been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor, but he’s never run. But Kind tells Wisconsin Public Radio, on Thursday, that the state needs new leadership…

Trump Weighs Mobilizing National Guard for Immigration Roundups

UPDATE: http://www.fox21online.com/2017/02/17/white-house-denies-national-guard-immigration-roundup-report/ (AP) – A draft memo obtained by The Associated Press outlines a Trump administration proposal under consideration to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants. Millions of those who would be affected in 11 states live nowhere near the Mexico border. The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as…

Superior Mayoral Candidates Meet with Young Professionals

Members had the opportunity to talk one–on–one with candidates about issues important to them

SUPERIOR, Wisc. – In less than a week, Superior residents will vote on which two candidates they’d like to see on the ballot for mayor. Tonight, the Superior Young Professionals hosted a meet and greet with the four mayoral candidates. Members had the opportunity to talk one–on–one with each candidate about issues that are important to them. “I think the…

Walker Signs Pro-Cheese Bill, First to Pass this Year

MADISON (AP) – Governor Scott Walker has signed into law the first bill to pass the Legislature this session, a measure to help Wisconsin’s cheese industry. Walker on Thursday, signed the bill making it possible for tax incentives to be extended to help finance construction of a $30 million cheese packaging and distributing plant in the village of Oostburg near…

UW-Madison Students Demand Free Tuition for Black Students

MADISON (AP) – The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s student government is demanding free tuition for black students. The Associated Students of Madison adopted a resolution Wednesday saying blacks were legally barred from education during slavery and that the flagship school remains out of reach for students of color. The resolution demands free access, tuition, and housing for all black people, including…

Rep. Duffy Not Running for Senate

Clears Way for Other Republicans to Get in Race

MADISON, Wis. (AP)-Wisconsin Republican U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy says he won’t challenge Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in 2018, clearing the way for other Republicans who had been waiting for his decision to get in the race. Duffy announced Thursday that he decided against challenging Baldwin, who will be up for re-election for the first time next year. Duffy is in…

Local Political Expert Reacts to Trump’s First Month

Some of President's Policies Have Been Controversial, But Professor Believes They Fall in Line with Campaign Promises

DULUTH, Minn. – Donald Trump has been president for almost a month now, and there has been a lot of analysis about how his presidency has gone so far. Political experts, like UMD Political Science Professor Cindy Rugeley, have followed the President’s first month closely. She points out that even though many of President Trump’s policies have been controversial, they…

Minnesota Democrats Work to Pass Wage Theft Prevention Protections

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Lt. Governor Tina Smith was joined by Minnesota workers and legislators at the State Capitol today, to rally and urge the Legislature to hold employees that commit wage theft accountable for their failure to pay for work already performed. Wage theft occurs when employers don’t pay workers what is owed to them for work performed. The…

New Group Supports Nolan for Governor

Nolan Hasn't Officially Announced He's Running for Governor

MINNESOTA-The Coalition to Draft Democratic Congressman Rick Nolan for Minnesota governor was announced yesterday. The group distributed a letter signed by more than 100 political, business, and civic leaders. It’s expected in the coming weeks, that the organization will try to gather even more support for Nolan. The Congressman has not officially announced yet, whether he’s running for governor.  …

Redistricting Attorneys Could be Paid More than $275,000

MADISON (AP) – Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature have signed contracts to pay attorneys representing them in a redistricting lawsuit a flat fee that could reach $275,000. Documents released Wednesday show that one contract calls for paying attorneys with the law firm Kirkland and Ellis up to that amount for the filing of five briefs in the case that…

Mediation Program Helps Struggling Minnesota Farmers

ST. PAUL (AP) – Low commodity prices are causing financial pain on Minnesota farms, but bankruptcies are rare thanks in part to a state mediation program. Minnesota Public Radio reports the farmer-lender program requires lenders to offer struggling farmers the chance to renegotiate debt terms with the help of a mediator before repossessing any property. The program began during the…