Brian Bakst, MPR News

Brian Bakst

MPR News

Saint Paul, MN, United States

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Past articles by Brian:

Minnesota notches another new low in unemployment

Minnesota’s low unemployment rate reached a new record in May, when the seasonally adjusted jobless figure hit 2 percent. → Read More

Walz keeps money edge as campaigns, groups stock up

There’s a big money gap between DFLer Tim Walz and Republican Scott Jensen as their race for governor takes shape. New campaign finance reports show where they’re putting all that cash. → Read More

In upbeat Capitol speech, Walz spotlights ‘unfinished business’

As Minnesota moves into a post-pandemic mindset, Gov. Tim Walz urged the Legislature to solve urgent issues and position the state to reach long-term goals. His State of the State speech comes with one month left in the 2022 session. → Read More

Liquor interests ponder 'cease-fire' as part of growler, distiller deal

A proposal is circulating among interest groups that would clear the way for expanded sales of growlers and other changes in Minnesota liquor laws. It’s not yet a done deal, and it wouldn’t guarantee the Legislature doesn’t make other changes. → Read More

Bill to dump Russian holdings clears Legislature

Minnesota would shed any investments in companies or government securities based in Russia and Belarus under a bill approved on a pair of unanimous votes. → Read More

Minn. lawmakers pushed to act fast on opioid settlement deal

Minnesota lawmakers could vote soon on a bill paving the way for opioid legal settlement money to begin flowing. → Read More

Unemployment rate falls, labor market tightens

Wages are climbing as unemployment drops and labor force participation rises. But inflation persists and employers are competing for increasingly hard to find workers. → Read More

Republicans propose paid family leave plan

Some Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature proposed a plan Monday that would use tax credits as an incentive for some businesses to begin to provide paid family and medical leave to their employees. Some Democrats who have been working on a larger more expensive plan called the GOP plan inadequate. But DFL Gov. Tim Walz said he was pleased to see Republicans enter the debate. → Read More

Bakk to leave Capitol after 28 years

Sen. Tom Bakk will retire at the end of the year after nearly three decades in the Minnesota Legislature. → Read More

Despite plans, precautions, COVID-19 nearly broke Minnesota hospitals. Why?

The COVID-19 pandemic defied the preparations of health care and political leaders, and has taken a toll on a care system that could last for years. As Minnesota heads into the third year of COVID, hospitals in the state are just crawling out of what may be their hardest struggle with treating patients since it all started. So why were hospitals so overwhelmed for so long? → Read More

Ready or not, the 2022 election is underway

It’s precinct caucus night in Minnesota, which serves as the starting line for a candidate selection process that will culminate with November’s vote. What does that mean? Here's a guide. → Read More

DFL allows ineligible voters to take part in precinct caucuses

Following a court case, the DFL Party says it will allow people without full voting rights to participate in precinct caucuses. → Read More

Friday is MN deadline to apply for help with rent

Demand has picked up for COVID-19-related rental assistance, so state officials have set this Friday at 9 p.m. as the deadline for people to apply for help. → Read More

Gov. Tim Walz tests positive for COVID-19

The governor received a positive test result for COVID-19 after another family member contracted the virus. None of the Walz family members are said to be experiencing serious symptoms. → Read More

Latest on COVID in MN: Omicron variant surfaces in Minnesota

State public health leaders on Thursday said the variant was found in a Hennepin County man who’d traveled recently to New York City for an anime convention. Officials are briefing reporters on the situation. → Read More

Walz opts for insider for new MPCA commissioner

Gov. Tim Walz has chosen engineer Katrina Kessler, an assistant commissioner since 2019, to lead the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. She assumes the job months after the governor’s prior commissioner resigned amid a confirmation fight. → Read More

More sizzle in Minnesota tax revenue

Lawmakers will be awash in extra money in their 2022 session based on strong tax revenues and a pot of federal cash. → Read More

Judge rejects bid for required masking in Minn. schools

The longshot legal challenge sought to force Gov. Tim Walz to declare a new peacetime emergency around COVID-19 for the purpose of requiring face coverings in school buildings. → Read More

GOP donor Lazzaro denied release after federal court hearing

New details about the charges against Anton Lazzaro emerged in court as he sought release from custody pending trial. His arrest on sex trafficking charges contributed to upheaval in the state Republican Party’s leadership. → Read More

Minnesota GOP chair urges vote on her leadership

Under fire on several fronts, Minnesota Republican Party Chair Jennifer Carnahan said she welcomes a vote of confidence or no confidence. It comes amid fallout from a sex-trafficking case involving a top GOP donor and ally. → Read More