Reporter | Politics and Government

Jessie Van Berkel writes about Minnesota government and politics at the Star Tribune. She previously covered St. Paul City Hall and local government in the south metro. 

Before joining the Star Tribune, Van Berkel reported on city and county government in Sarasota, Fla., and public safety and courts in Appleton, Wis. She is a Minnesota native who returned to her home state to work for the Star Tribune in 2014. She's a University of Minnesota graduate and a proud Minnesota Daily alumna. Outside of work, she is usually hiking, biking, camping or planning her next travel adventure. Her home is frequently littered with travel books.


Minnesota House, Senate pass $330 million in COVID-19 aid

Details of the new aid package did not come to light until shortly before the House and Senate votes, following days of private talks.


Minnesota legislators will meet Thursday for action on COVID-19 relief

Legislators are reviewing Gov. Tim Walz's funding requests for food shelves and other emergency services.


Walz predicts 40-80% in state will get virus, though most will be fine

Gov. Tim Walz said Monday that he is not showing any symptoms but will be self-quarantined at home for the next two weeks after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.


Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan's brother dies of COVID-19

He was the second person to die from the virus in Tennessee.


How $65 million was spent to influence Minnesota state government last year

Here are some of the takeaways from annual lobbying expenditure reports


Walz closer to shelter-in-place decision to fight coronavirus

The governor is getting closer to a decision on a "shelter-in-place" order that could further restrict Minnesotans' travel. He also issued orders expanding an agency's authority plus targeting scams and price-gouging.


Unemployment requests spike as Minn. businesses close for COVID-19

Emergency order waives waiting period to help workers affected by spreading coronavirus.


GOP lawmakers not amused by libraries' drag queen story hours

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, the primary sponsor of a House bill, said he does not want the readings to happen in public spaces with taxpayers subsidizing them.


Virus concerns prompt Gov. Walz to scale back Minn. budget

Scaled-back supplemental budget leaves nearly $1.2 billion unspent as governor warns that state dollars should be used to expand the state's reserves and for emergency response and preparation as the coronavirus spreads.


Signs of a compromise on insulin aid as Senate passes bill

A conference committee will next try to reconcile the two cost-control bills.