Politics Friday from MPR News Weekly updates on politics in Minnesota from editor Mike Mulcahy and the MPR News staff.
Politics Friday from MPR News

Politics Friday from MPR News

From MPR News

Weekly updates on politics in Minnesota from editor Mike Mulcahy and the MPR News staff.

Most Recent Episodes

Politics Friday: How will the grow go? A look at Minnesota's future with cannabis

By this time next year, Minnesota might have quite a few new stores where people can buy marijuana in various forms. The goal is for an early 2025 rollout of licensed retail locations. But will there be enough supply to meet demand — and keep prices from rising too high? And what's going on with the effort to clear records of people who had past marijuana convictions? MPR News host Brian Bakst talked with a couple of experts about keeping tabs on expungement of certain prior cannabis-related records and the growing business of cannabis sales. Then, a peer-led conversation with a three Generation Z voters about how they're approaching the coming election. Later, a taste of sounds and voices from the Capitol and some insight from members of our MPR News politics team. Guests: Bryant Jones is a plant scientist and a subject matter expert in cannabis cultivation for Minnesota's Cannabis Advisory Council. Jim Rowader is the executive director for the Cannabis Expungement Board Minnesota Department of Corrections and a board member of the Minnesota Justice Research Center. Samia Abdulle is a student at the University of Minnesota. Jack McGregor is a student at the University of Minnesota. Thomas Knutson is a student at the University of Minnesota.

Politics Friday: How will the grow go? A look at Minnesota's future with cannabis

Politics Friday: The landscape of Minnesota education legislation and the outlook of busin...

State lawmakers have budgeted to provide more than $23 billion to schools in the current budget — a 10 percent bump over the prior budget. But many districts say they're still feeling a strain. How come? What is being done to improve literacy, student nutrition, school safety and cultural competency? MPR News host Brian Bakst talked with two leading senators on education issues: DFL Sen. Mary Kunesh, chair of the Senate Education Finance Committee, and Republican Sen. Zach Duckworth. Later, there could be movement around streamlining the permitting process for business expansion projects and clean energy developments. Minnesota Chamber of Commerce president Doug Loon talks about permitting changes under discussion and why he wants them to happen. Guests: Sen. Mary Kunesh, DFL-New Brighton, is the Chair of the Education Finance Committee. Sen. Zach Duckworth, R-Lakeville. Doug Loon is president and CEO of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Subscribe to the Politics Friday podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. What should Minnesota lawmakers' top priorities be in 2024? https://modules.wearehearken.com/mpr/embed/11378/share

Politics Friday: The landscape of Minnesota education legislation and the outlook of busin...

Politics Friday: The race is underway for Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District

U.S. Representative Angie Craig won Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District seat in 2018, but she's won two reelection races by single-digit percentage margins. She's in for another costly and competitive race. MPR News host Brian Bakst talks with Rep. Craig about her work in Congress and her upcoming campaign. Later, rural EMS providers are banking on state lawmakers to help keep them afloat. Sen. Jordan Rasmusson, R-Fergus Falls, joins the conversation to talk about what lawmakers could do to assist emergency services under financial strain. Guests: Minnesota U.S. Representative Angie Craig Minnesota State Sen. Jordan Rasmusson, R-Fergus Falls Subscribe to the Politics Friday podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. What should Minnesota lawmakers' top priorities be in 2024? https://modules.wearehearken.com/mpr/embed/11378/share

Politics Friday: The race is underway for Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District

Politics Friday: A look at the work being done in the Attorney General's office

Updated: 2:40 p.m. Anti-trust cases, consumer protection actions, defense of newly passed state laws and ramped-up criminal prosecutions — it's all on the plate of Minnesota's attorney general. MPR News host Brian Bakst talks with Attorney General Keith Ellison about proposed changes to Minnesota's gun laws, an upcoming hearing on voting rights, online scams and more. Later, we'll meet a Republican vying for his party's nomination in Minnesota's most closely watched congressional race. Joe Teirab makes his case for why he should represent Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District. Guests: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison Joe Teirab is a Republican candidate for Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District seat What should Minnesota lawmakers' top priorities be in 2024? https://modules.wearehearken.com/mpr/embed/11378/share

Politics Friday: A look at the work being done in the Attorney General's office

A space shuttle coming to St. Cloud? It's possible

A space shuttle could be touching down — metaphorically — in St. Cloud. Gov. Tim Walz last week said a donor had inquired about placing a space shuttle in central Minnesota. Walz told MPR News' Politics Friday about the offer but gave few details about the project. "Someone wants to give us a space shuttle — the space shuttle, a real space shuttle — to move to Minnesota," he said. State Sen. Aric Putnam, DFL-St. Cloud, on social media, said the shuttle could be showcased next to a new children's museum in downtown St. Cloud. The proposed site is currently a parking lot. In an interview with MPR News, Putnam said Felicity-John Pederson, a graduate of St. Cloud's Apollo High School and founder of a technology company called LVX System, owns the shuttle and is interested in bringing it to St. Cloud. The full-scale mockup of a shuttle orbiter, known as Inspiration, is currently housed near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but needs to be moved. "It was primarily for training," Putnam said. "It's the real thing. The toilets even flush. It just never went to space." Pederson said the shuttle was at the end of its life cycle and scheduled to be destroyed when his company acquired it for research it was doing with NASA. NASA wanted the shuttle donated for education, he said, possibly to St. Cloud, near the Mall of America in Bloomington or another location. "The most likely seems to be St. Cloud, but that decision is not made," Pederson said. Cassie Miles, executive director of the Great River Children's Museum, said Pederson is a strong supporter of the museum and efforts to boost the economy and quality of life in St. Cloud. "We both believe that growth is ripe right now. We're ready to make some big changes," she said. "Why not have the effort to bring it here?" But the logistics of moving a space shuttle are daunting. It would need to be disassembled, transported by truck or barge and reassembled using cranes, Miles said. Finding partners willing to help will be key, she said. Putnam said he's had conversations with people in several industries who might be able to help make it happen, including a local trucking company. Miles said she's had some preliminary conversations with St. Cloud city officials about the idea. But for the most part, she and others have intentionally kept quiet about the prospect, knowing it's likely to be met with incredulity. "It's really hard to bring up something as grand as an orbiter being parked in St. Cloud, Minnesota, without people going, 'What?'" she said. "It's hard to wrap your head around." Miles and Putnam were both surprised that Gov. Walz mentioned the shuttle during Friday's interview, but Putnam said he hopes the attention helps the effort. "Maybe this is something that helps us make it real," he said.

Politics Friday: Walz on confronting challenges at the Capitol and beyond

There are two months to go in the Minnesota Legislature's 2024 session, meaning high-level negotiations aren't that far off. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz released a package of budget revisions this week and continues to make the case for other items on his agenda. MPR News host Brian Bakst sits down with Walz to talk about how he's juggling priorities for the legislative session with demands from outside of the Capitol. Later, Minnesota Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, joins the show to talk about the GOP agenda for the remainder of the session. Guests: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson Subscribe to the Politics Friday podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

Politics Friday: Walz on confronting challenges at the Capitol and beyond

Politics Friday: The fate of a sports betting bill and a TikTok ban

This week, MPR News host Brian Bakst sits down with DFL Rep. Zack Stephenson and DFL Sen. Erin Maye Quade to talk about a sports betting bill that's garnered a lot of buzz at the Capitol. The bill would establish regulations for on-site and mobile betting venues and who can operate them. Minnesota is in the minority of states where sports betting isn't a sanctioned business enterprise. Stephenson is a leading voice in the push to change that, but Maye Quade is among those with concerns about the bill. Then, a conversation with Rep. Dean Phillips and Rep. Ilhan Omar about a bill that would ban TikTok in the U.S. that passed in the House this week. While six of the eight House members in Minnesota voted to ban the app if it doesn't change ownership, Phillips and Omar voted against it. The app is used daily by millions of Americans. But TikTok has a Chinese parent company, which has fueled concerns about user data privacy and possible foreign influence over the type of content that winds up in front of people. Omar and Phillips, who were among only 65 to oppose the bill, shared their reasons why. Guests: Rep. Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids Sen. Erin Maye Quade, DFL-Apple Valley U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips (D) U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D) Briana Bierschbach, politics and government reporter for the Star Tribune Subscribe to the Politics Friday podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

Politics Friday: Bonding bill stirs up debate, but what will it take to get a deal?

MPR News host Brian Bakst is joined by Senate Capital Investment Committee Chair Sandra Pappas and Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, the top Republican on the House Capital investment Committee. They'll have big roles in shaping this year's construction projects package known as the bonding bill. Minnesota lawmakers are sorting through billions of dollars in requests this year for publicly financed construction projects, but only a small fraction will make the cut. The package requires bipartisan cooperation between DFLers and Republicans. It was a big political week with Super Tuesday, where results from 17 states and territories all but set up the fall race between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. They won in Minnesota, but there was a significant turnout for the "uncommitted" vote, a campaign where Democrats voted uncommitted to show their dissatisfaction with the Biden administration's handling of the conflict in the Middle East. Republican Nikki Haley and Democratic U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota left the presidential race. And later, we talk with University of Minnesota political science professor Michael Minta about his takeaways and the grueling campaign to come.

Politics Friday: Bonding bill stirs up debate, but what will it take to get a deal?

Politics Friday: Minnesota's major political party chairs on presidential primaries and th...

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are closing in on their nominations. Coming up Friday at noon, MPR News host Brian Bakst talks to DFL Party Chair Ken Martin and Republican Party Chair David Hann about their party's likely presidential nominees, and what that matchup may mean in Minnesota. Later, MPR News correspondent Catharine Richert reflects on the first Talking Sense live event in Woodbury. Talking Sense is an initiative, in collaboration with Braver Angels, that aims to help people have difficult political conversations better. It's made up of online toolkits, stories that examine our political differences and live in-person events where folks can see the techniques in action. Guests: Ken Martin is the Minnesota DFL Party Chair. David Hann is the Republican Party of Minnesota Chair. Catharine Richert is a correspondent for MPR News. Subscribe to the Politics Friday podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

Politics Friday: Minnesota's major political party chairs on presidential primaries and th...

Politics Friday: A new majority leader in the Senate and a Republican vying for Klobuchar's seat

It's the second year for the DFL trifecta at the State Capitol — but the party only has a one seat majority in the Senate and is led by a new face this year. Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy stepped into the role right as this year's session began. Her predecessor, Kari Dziedzic gave up the position down after learning her cancer had returned. MPR News host Brian Bakst sat down with Murphy to discuss how she plans to keep the DFL caucus on the same page and what style she brings to the negotiating table. Murphy talked about a variety of bills that have been introduced at the Legislature. She is skeptical an immigration-oriented proposal, which backers call the North Star Act, could garner the votes to pass this year. The bill would enhance legal protections for immigrants and limit situations where local and state authorities could work with federal immigration authorities. She also said an end-of-life options bill, known to many as an assisted suicide proposal, will also take more time to work through and could spill into a future session. While Murphy said she understands the importance of both bills, she said it's important that the DFL not get ahead of what Minnesotans are prepared for. "This is an issue that is tender for the people of Minnesota, and it can be easily misunderstood," Murphy said of the bill giving terminally ill Minnesotans more avenues to end their lives with medication. "That's why I think beginning the hearing process and making sure that the legislation is clear for people so they understand what it would do and what it wouldn't do is really critical to a successful passage." However, she believes a hearing on the language of the amended school resource officer oversight bill could come as soon as next week. And a sports betting bill is not off the table in the Senate. Bakst also had an interview with a Republican who could take on three-term U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar this November. Retired Navy Commander Joe Fraser is a newcomer to the political scene. His entrance into the race makes five Republicans who have taken campaign steps to challenge Klobuchar. Fraser discussed his support for Ukraine assistance, his stance on immigration matters and his view of the U.S. economy and federal budget. After being hesitant to endorse former President Donald Trump when he entered the race in January, Fraser has now endorsed Trump as his pick for the Republican presidential nominee. "I can't answer for his behavior or the way he carries himself as the President of the United States, but he is who he is," Fraser said. And to his seeming lack of enthusiasm of sharing a ticket with Trump, "It just happens to be. I think there are a lot of Democrats out there who aren't really thrilled to share the ticket with Joe Biden." About the assault on the U.S. Capitol building when members of Congress were certifying the 2020 results, Fraser said he can't condone that behavior. "As somebody who swore an oath of support to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and bear faith and allegiances to the same, I have a hard time with anybody who can justify what they did on January 6," he said. Editor's note: Senate candidate Joe Fraser's interview was shortened for the noon broadcast. We've included the full interview in the podcast. Guests: State Sen. Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-Saint Paul U.S. Republican Senate candidate Joe Fraser MPR News Capitol reporter Clay Masters and Axios Twin Cities reporter Torey Van Oot Subscribe to the Politics Friday podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

Politics Friday: A new majority leader in the Senate and a Republican vying for Klobuchar's seat