Despite the DFL's new majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate, and the defeat of the marriage amendment in 2012, few people thought the Legislature would move this quickly to turn around and make same-sex marriage legal. Looking behind the scenes at the process, the effort hinged on careful lobbying, polling, timing, and the votes of a few key lawmakers.
Sen. Al Franken is raising concerns about a provision in the Senate immigration bill that would make E-Verify mandatory for all businesses. He said the requirement could be burdensome for small businesses. Although E-Verify is good at detecting the use of fake identification, research says it's not very good at detecting unauthorized workers who are using stolen or fraudulent documents.
Many senior citizens in Minnesota and around the nation are the target of fundraising mail. Tax-exempt political groups pledging to protect Medicare and Social Security send out sinister, sometimes false, missives asking for money.
Rep. Keith Ellison says a fiscal cliff proposal that would slow the growth of spending on Social Security would mean big cuts to benefits. If approved, it's difficult to say exactly how much of a cut would happen per beneficiary.
Rep. Tony Cornish says a law allowing teachers to carry guns would put Minnesota in line with other countries and states. There's little evidence to support those claims.
The state's Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board says it is considering asking for more power to crack down on campaign spending by outside political organizations.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said in a recent interview on TPT's Almanac that a close look at the votes shows what a huge responsibility this win is for his party.
It's entirely true that Democrats got more votes than Republicans this election, but Bakk's statement goes a bit too far.
Incoming House Minority Leader Rep. Kurt Daudt says he's surprised there's even talk of a tax increase given the Legislature will have more money to spend next year. But Daudt doesn't factor the state's spending obligations into his claim.
ABM spent at least $1.1 million targeting 32 races this year, many that the DFL narrowly lost in 2010. It lost only 6, and the DFL re-took control of both the Minnesota House and Senate, further cementing ABM's reputation as a juggernaut in Minnesota politics.
Behind headlines about the impending change in leadership at the State Capitol is the looming question of what newly empowered Democrats will do about a lawsuit filed against the Senate by former Republican staffer Michael Brodkorb.
For months, it appeared certain that the proposed voter ID amendment on Tuesday's ballot would be approved by Minnesota voters. Just two weeks ago, two polls found the proposal had a healthy lead among voters. But as Election Day came closer, that support quickly eroded -- and the amendment that appeared poised for success, failed.
Over the din of victory bellows and a band playing Michael Jackson covers at their victory parties, DFL lawmakers and leaders said that progress may mean tax increases, property tax changes, increased school spending and even legislation to legalize same-sex marriage.
Rep. Michele Bachmann eked out a victory over DFL challenger Jim Graves. Meanwhile, six other incumbents won easily. Reps. Keith Ellison, Erik Paulsen, Betty McCollum, Tim Walz, Collin Peterson and John Kline all won re-election.
An MPR News analysis of campaign finance reports shows that at least $10.4 million has been invested by candidates, parties, unions and political groups on both sides of the aisle to defend or challenge the Republican majorities at the state Capitol.
As legislative candidates vie for votes in the final days of the campaign, there's a separate, less obvious battle going on between the parties: In the money war between the state's Democrats and Republicans, the Democrats have the clear upper hand a week from Election Day.