Why aren’t you moving to Minnesota?

You know we’re one of the good states, right? Look at us, being all sane and wholesome and supportive of all of our citizens.

That’s a rally for LGBTQ+ rights at our state capitol. It’s not that big, but that’s only because those rights aren’t as threatened here. In fact, our legislature just passed an important set of bills.

The Minnesota Senate Friday passed a trio of proposals aimed at legally safeguarding people who come to Minnesota for abortion and gender-affirming care and outlawing what’s called conversion therapy for minors.

The moves come as states around the country have banned or seriously limited access to abortion in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and after 12 states – including Minnesota’s neighbors Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota – have banned gender-affirming care for minors.

We want more people to live freely right here, so come on up!

Supporters said the bill showed Minnesota would treat all people with respect and love.

“I wish that other legislatures across this country shared our values. They don’t. But guess what? If you need gender affirming care — and that is life-saving care, it’s medically necessary care. If you need it, you can come to Minnesota,” said Sen. Clare Oumou Verbeten, DFL-St. Paul, one of the bill’s cosponsors. “If you’re scared, or you’re looking for a new place to build your family, we want you here in Minnesota. We want you to take refuge here.”

We also have a budget surplus — we went woke, and we’re thriving here.

In the first State of the State address of his second term, Gov. Tim Walz detailed his vision for how a new Democratic trifecta in charge of Minnesota government would leverage a historic budget surplus for a new “Minnesota Miracle.”

Speaking to a joint session of the Minnesota Legislature on Wednesday night, Walz highlighted many of Democrats’ priorities, including billions more in spending for schools, families and the state’s most vulnerable. The more than $17 billion in new spending Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party members have planned aims to cut child poverty by roughly 25 percent and make the state the “best place to raise a family.”

“We have the resources. We have the shared vision. And for the first time in half a century, we have the political will to get this done,” Walz said at the conclusion of his roughly 30-minute speech. “So let’s not waste this opportunity. Let’s get to work building a state we’re proud to raise our kids in.”

We also have Republicans. Every news story has to leaven the good news by bringing on some dour Republican ass who whines about how we’re not torturing trans kids enough, and how we ought to give more tax breaks instead of providing services to everyone, and praying for a Ron Desantis to come along and flay the Democrats, but ignore them. They’re in the minority.

Are you packing up yet? We want you here, every one of you. We definitely need more people to populate our universities, but everyone is welcome.

The downsides: well, it does get a little chilly up here, but probably the worst thing about Minnesota is we might get a little smug about our superiority to our benighted neighbors. When you’re One Of Us, though, that’s not so much of a problem. One of Us, One of Us, One of Us!


  1. birgerjohansson says

    Slogans to attract migrants:

    “Minnesota- almost as good as Canada but much closer.”

    Ads for Texas:
    “Minnesota – we have winters but also electricity!”

    Ads for Alabama:
    “Move to Minnesota. Or just move!”

  2. imback says

    One of Us, One of Us, One of Us!

    Quoting one of my favorite films Freaks (1932) is always good.

  3. birgerjohansson says

    BTW do you have some odd geological features that would look good on a poster? End moraines, ice-transported giant rocks, “fossil” sand dunes from the medieval dry spell? Karst features?

    Anything to break the stereotype of flat states of fields with a rectangular grid of roads. Show you stand out a bit.

  4. says

    birgerjohansson@1 “Minnesota- almost as good as Canada but much closer.”

    All of Minnesota is north of Hamilton, Ontario. (And there’s just a small sliver south of Toronto.)

  5. birgerjohansson says

    ahcuach @ 5 Thanks

    I raided Wikipedia.
    There is a zone in southeast with steep hills and streams that will look good on posters.
    The northeast has the “mixed laurentian forest” -also good for showing you are not just cornfields. Land of 10 000 lakes- excellent!

    Sadly no vegetated sand dunes but the Minnesota river is a relic of the river that drained Lake Agassiz.

    No one is dumb enough to believe another fake rhunic stone but if you want, I can come up there and make mysterious crop circles.

  6. moonslicer says

    This is great news!

    Here in Ireland since 2015 a lot of us LGBT folks have had rights. Same-sex marriage became legal in that year, and discrimination against LGBT people is forbidden by law. Also in 2015 lots (not all) of us transgender people gained legal rights, and it’s hard to imagine the difference it makes. You can get out and live your life. And you’re not living on sufferance. You have the force of the law behind you.

    This is not to say that absolutely everything is hunky-dory. We’re still looking for legal recognition of transgender kids under 16 and of NB people of all ages. Harassment of LGBT people hasn’t completely disappeared. But recently some deranged teacher decided he wasn’t going to acknowledge an NB pupil in his school. He’s religious you see, and so he’s “opposed to transgenderism” and he’s been pretty stubborn about it. The court wasn’t terribly impressed. He’s lost his job and did a stretch in jail (for contempt of court) and has incurred some serious fines. Some haters just can’t stop hating.

    Knowing that you have the law on your side and that you’re actually regarded as a citizen of your country changes the landscape entirely. A huge boost for the morale.

    Let’s drink a gin and soda
    To the state of Minnesota!

  7. says

    birgerjohansson @7

    More Minnesota stuff: When I was growing up (near Chicago), our family often would go to Leech Lake in Minnesota (and my grandfather, Axel Jorgensen, born in Oslo, had been going there since the 1940s or so). Leech Lake is named appropriately. After swimming, we’d occasionally have to pull one off of ourselves.

    The Mississippi River starts in Minnesota, at Lake Itasca. I have pictures of my visiting there in the 1960s. The big shtick is being able to walk across the Mississippi on stepping stones. Oh, also, it is gorgeous up there.

    Minnesota has the northernmost point of the contiguous 48 states, up near Lake of the Woods.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    ahcuah @ 10 You have brought the best slogan.
    “Minnesota -our leeches are natural, not political”

  9. ekinodum says

    We stopped at a scenic spot by the road in Minnesota to walk our dog (on our way home to California), and picked up about 200 ticks in two minutes.

    That broke our previous record by 199 ticks.

    Everyone lauds the progressive politics and nice people, but no one mentions the ticks.

  10. wzrd1 says

    @11, OK, I’m fine with that. Reconstruction Pt II shall now begin, US Army deploying.
    I’m still mystified as to why the Diplomatic Corps rejected my application…

    As for moving to Minnesota, for the past week, I’ve been outside my Pennsylvania home wearing shorts and a tee shirt. Were I to try that in Minnesota, my Raynaud’s would have my hands white and purple, at risk for ulceration and possible amputation and my nuts would be frostbitten.
    That leaves me two preferred choices to eventually retire to. Hell or Texas. I figure I’ll live in hell and rent out Texas. I figure I should be able to reap a dollar per year profit.

  11. says

    #10: Only one?

    #13: I mention the ticks all the time. I was explaining to my students just the other day how one appropriately dresses for field trips: long pants, long sleeved shirts, cuff straps, and soaking wrists and ankles in poison.

    But which is preferable, leeches and ticks, or Republicans?

  12. raven says

    BTW do you have some odd geological features that would look good on a poster?

    Strangely enough, I’ve been to Minnesota a few times.

    Minnesota used to claim to be the Land of 10,000 lakes.
    It is actually more than that. If you like swimming, fishing, and human powered watercraft i.e. canoes and kayaks, it is a good place to live.
    I also noticed quite a few mosquitoes.

    The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

    Nature preserve in Lake County, Minnesota
    The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a 1,090,000-acre wilderness area within the Superior National Forest in the northeastern part of the US state of Minnesota under the administration of the U.S. Forest Service. Wikipedia

    There is also the Boundary Waters Canoe area Wilderness on the border between Minnesota and Canada.

    It’s very large at a million acres. It is next to a similar region in Canada, also large.
    You can put a canoe or kayak in there and paddle all the way to the Arctic ocean.

  13. says

    But which is preferable, leeches and ticks, or Republicans?

    So, on the one hand you have disgusting, mindless, bloodsucking parasites, and on the other…worms that comprise the subclass Hirudinea within the phylum Annelid, closely related to the oligochaetes, which include the earthworm, and have segmented bodies.
    Tough choice.

  14. yaque says

    “… But which is preferable, leeches and ticks, or Republicans?”

    But you repeat yourself …
    I’m thinking, I’m thinking!
    are those leeches and ticks gluten free?
    what’s behind door three?

  15. says


    It’s Monday morning. The coffee hasn’t infused yet. How, objectively and replicably and in the field (not just the lab), does one distinguish between “leeches and ticks” and “Republicans”? And saying “well, leeches and ticks can’t vote” won’t work, I lived in Chicago for a while…

  16. lb says

    My father grew up in a very small town southwest of Minneapolis. Both his parents and most of the family, while good people, were rabid Lutherans. He left after college, joined the air force and never went back.

  17. birgerjohansson says

    Ib @ 20
    I see similarities. Rural north Sweden had regions with mega-religious people. Mostly evangelicals but also the lutheran State Church.

  18. silvrhalide says

    @3 With the exception of karst, all of those geographical features can be found in Connecticut, New Jersey and downstate NY (ie., NYC/the five boroughs and Long Island).

    @15 Leeches and ticks spread less disease than Republican propaganda/misinformation. See Covid 19 pandemic.
    Leeches are also used to prevent gangrene, blood clots & to restore circulation in some patients, notably diabetic ones. They secrete an anticoagulant and their bloodsucking actually does improve blood circulation in some patients, which means, that unlike Republicans, they are occasionally useful and not just a parasitic annoyance.

  19. says

    Dear PZ, I truly admire Minnesota. But, at my age and with my frailties, I’d freeze my assets off if I moved there! I despise the gun fetishist rightwingnuts that (over)run Scarizona, but the climate and weather in some of it is quite nice.

  20. Tethys says

    BTW do you have some odd geological features that would look good on a poster? End moraines, ice-transported giant rocks, “fossil” sand dunes from the medieval dry spell? Karst features?
    Anything to break the stereotype of flat states of fields with a rectangular grid of roads. Show you stand out a bit.

    Only the west side of Minnesota is flat, as it was once the bed of Glacial Lake Agassiz. The southern part of the state was prairie before agriculture arrived, now it’s rolling farm fields.

    The southeast side along the lower Mississippi River Valley is the only unglaciated region, which does happen to be ancient Karst. It’s bluff country, with multiple trout streams, lovely small towns, the Mayo Clinic, and also good for Ordovician fossils.

    The eastern side of the state is Hardwood forest, which gives way to bog and mixed conifers as you go north to Lake Superior and the ancient remnant of old growth White Pines preserved at Itasca State Park. (Source of the Mississippi River) It’s very similar to Scandinavia, but our mountains are long ago eroded away.

    The largest end moraine has Interstate Highway 94 built on it, and stretches far into Wisconsin.
    The St. Croix river valley that forms part of the border with Wisconsin is highly picturesque, and has multiple state parks that are within a short drive of the Metropolitan Twin Cities. Jumping from the Dalles is a popular summer activity, in addition to any water based form of recreation.
    It too is carved by glacial rivers, so the valley is enormous in comparison to the size of the current river.

  21. birgerjohansson says

    cag @ 22
    Only during Christmas. The tradition only carries on by inertia. It tastes the way I assume the dwarwen combat bread of Discworld tastes.

    Tethys @ 26
    If the ordovician rocks have those remarkable ortoceratite fossils you should emphasise it as a symbol för the state. For instance use stone slabs with prominent ortoceratites for floors in public places. It makes the region stand out and become memorable.
    And even if your local caves in the karst are modest, give them publicity. I don’t know if you have “charismatic” animal species, that would be a plus.

  22. birgerjohansson says

    It is easy for old states on the East coast to have their own recognizable character. California is so distinct that it also stands out. In between are the places that get unfairly bundled together as “flyover states”.
    Minnesota should really strive to make its progressive policies and unique qualities known.

  23. Tethys says

    Birger I don’t know if you have “charismatic” animal species, that would be a plus.

    Timber Wolves? They are more charismatic than the mosquitos. IIRC, MN is one of the few states where wolves weren’t hunted to extinction. They are found in the northern part of the state, along with Moose, black bears, and other boreal type animals. We also have a sportsball team named Timberwolves.

    MN has never managed to agree on an official state Fossil. We tend to publicize the lakes, boating, fishing, etc as a main tourist attraction.
    We have fossil cephalopods, but I don’t think our Ordovician dolomite is suitable for cutting into slabs. The Cretaceous strata near PZ also contain some enormous orthoconic and nautiloid species.

    At another state park in Biwabik MN, you can see wolves, tour the defunct iron mine, and see slabs of 1.8 billion year old stromatolites that are classified as a semi precious gem called Mary Ellen Jasper. It’s exceptionally well preserved, unlike the Ordovician stromatolites of the Karst area, but apparently some intrepid local has slabs available for sale.


  24. Peter Bollwerk says

    I’d be tempted if it wasn’t so goddamn cold there in the winter.
    I’m leaving California this year, mainly due to the climate. It’s too damn hot and dry now. (thanks Obama! haha)
    I’m heading up to Washington state, where the climate I used to enjoy seems to have migrated.

  25. birgerjohansson says

    Maybe Minnesota can convince uterus-havers in North Dakota to move there, now that the opportunist governor has passed a ban for abortion at six weeks.

    And pretty much anyone who do not like living in New Iran -aka states run by the Nasty Party- might consider moving somewhere nice, but it will be easier to steal the populations of the northern states to Minnesota.

    Critics may say it solidifies the MAGA majority but if the state is gerrymandered to hell you might as well abandon ship before they decide to de-regulate how nuclear powerplants are built.

  26. StevoR says

    @ 29. Tethys : FWIW Wikipedia notes Minnesota’s state floral emblem as Cypripedium reginae the Pink and white lady’s slipper which is a great choice and an endangered species.
    (See : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cypripedium_reginae )

    Seems Minnesota has multiple proposed choices of state mammals with the White tailed Deer facing off against the eastern wolf /Timber wolf and Black bear and the Ictidomys tridecemlineatus variously known as the thirteen-lined ground squirrel / striped gopher / leopard ground squirrel / squinney but formerly & somewhat hilariously called the leopard-spermophile! ( See : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteen-lined_ground_squirrel ) Minnosota’s state grass is Wiild Rice, it’s state amphibian is the Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens), state fish is the Walleye (Sander vitreus) state reptile Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) state bird is, umm no kidding*, the Common Loon (Gavia immer), state mushroom is Morchella esculenta and it has not one but two state insects the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and Rusty Patched Bumblebee (Bombus affinis) which are probly both spider food! Perhaps PZ can suggest a state Minnesotan state spider?

    FWIW My state of South Auistralia has the wonderfully named Sturt Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa) as its state floral emblem, the Hairy Nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons), Sprigginia is our state fossil chosen as recently as 2017** and Opal is our state’s gemstone. (See : https://www.pmc.gov.au/publications/australian-symbols-booklet/state-and-territory-symbols/symbols-south-australia )

    As for for moving to the United States of America? For me – no way! Sorry. Not even the nice bits, tempting as they are.

    .* At least not by me – that’s what Wiki is currently saying.. ?

  27. birgerjohansson says

    Tethys @ 29
    I might buy some of those stromatolite stones for American friends.
    They are very close go the age of the Baltic shield but a million times more interesting than granite.

  28. birgerjohansson says

    “Northern Leopard Frog”
    As of this moment renamed “The Mexican Staring Frog of Sri Lanka ”
    (if you are old enough to have seen the first seasons of South Park you will get it).

  29. says

    I love you PZ, but I will keep my transgender and my husband’s transgender asses here in the Seattle area :). You should come back!!! I bet we could get you on with UW! :)

  30. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Do I get to hang out with Paul Westerberg?

    Actually, nix that. Don’t meet your “heroes.”

  31. VolcanoMan says

    @raven #16

    “You can put a canoe or kayak in there and paddle all the way to the Arctic ocean.”

    Well…almost. There are some quite necessary portages (it’s weird to hear Americans pronounce that word…they say it like porridge but with a T in there), bypassing hydroelectric dams, and areas of non-navigable whitewater…and of course crossing between river systems when required. The first route to spring to mind is the Rainy River-Lake of the Woods-Winnipeg River-Lake Winnipeg-Nelson River route (which, incidentally, was the way most of the fur traders went in the 18th and 19th century,* although they quickly switched to the Hayes river path out of Lake Winnipeg as it was less treacherous), but it does seem rather circuitous. I’m pretty sure there are at least a couple ways to get from the Boundary Waters/Quetico region to the Albany River (which is a straight shot to James Bay), but again, there are some portages. If it was me, I’d probably start in the eastern area of the Boundary Waters (which drains to the Atlantic ocean, via the Great Lakes), enter Lake Superior (if you dare) and paddle north to the Nipigon River and up to Lake Nipigon and the Ombakika river, then portage across the height of land between the Ombabika and Ogoki rivers; the Ogoki then flows into the Albany River. That actually might be a lot of work though, because the portion between Lake Superior and the Ombakika portage is all against the current. Going through Manitoba (starting in the western part of the Boundary Waters) means you are always travelling WITH the current.

    *A French dude named Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye (who is typically just called “La Vérendrye” for obvious reasons) and 53 other guys, including 3 of his sons, mapped the crucial section between Lake Superior and Lake Winnipeg in the early 1730s, setting up settlements on Rainy Lake, Lake of the Woods and Lake Winnipeg and allowing for the passage of thousands of fur traders in the decades to follow. One of those sons, Jean-Baptiste, was actually killed (alongside many Cree indians and 18 other Frenchmen) in 1736 by the Sioux, a victim of a long-standing inter-tribal conflict at the aptly-named Massacre Island on Lake of the Woods – his father actually managed to restrain the Cree from starting a war of revenge, although his primary motive for pursuing peace was protecting the fur trade, obviously. Anyway, La Vérendrye’s work is memorialized in the La Vérendrye Trail, a series of 7 roads in southern Manitoba, going along the Winnipeg and Red rivers, roughly paralleling his journey (those roads bear signposts marking them as part of the La Vérendrye Trail). Also, his surviving sons continued exploring North America, and two of them may have been the first Europeans to see the Rocky Mountains north of New Mexico (though a British dude named Anthony Henday has a competing claim, which could be valid if La Vérendrye’s kids were looking at another, lesser mountain range and mistook it for the Rockies). God man, I find this time period (from the beginning of the Age of Exploration to the start of the 20th century) just so bloody interesting. I know it came along with a lot of terrible things (like colonization and genocide), but imagine having massive blank spots on your map, dreaming of what might lie there and then heading out there to see for yourself.

  32. raven says

    @39 VolcanoMan

    I don’t know much in detail about that area. I’ve been close but never been there.

    I did know someone long ago that did an all summer paddle trip starting at Boundary Waters Canoe area and ending in the arctic. It was decades ago and I’ve long since lost track of them.

    As far as I can reconstruct, they started on the north side of the Laurentian Divide. Wikipedia: The Laurentian Divide between the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay watersheds runs northeast–southwest through the east side of the BWCAW, following the crest of the Superior Upland and Gunflint Range.[4]: 9 
    All the water on the Laurentian divide side ultimately flows north into Hudson Bay.

    Journey 4 Renewal: Canoeing from Minnesota to the Hudson Bay
    Four Women pay it forward for Wilderness Canoe Base with a 1,239-mile expedition”

    ” In 2016, four alums from the camp decided to pay it forward. They paddled 1,239 miles over 66 days from Wilderness Canoe Base to Hudson Bay–by way of the Boundary Waters, Rainy River, Lake of the Woods, Lake Winnipeg, Hayes River, God’s Lake, and God’s River–raising over $40,000 for Wilderness Canoe Base in the process. They paddled past towns like International Falls, MN, and Kenora, MN, portaged dams, waterfalls, and Class IV-V rapids, ran whitewater up to Class III, and crossed enormous lakes.

    It doesn’t look entirely straight forward but you can expect that on a 1,239 mile long trip, much of it through the middle of nowhere.

  33. GMBigKev says

    I’d either have to be in Minneapolis itself, Bemidji, Duluth, Mankato, Rochester, or St. Cloud…

  34. drewl, Mental Toss Flycoon says

    I moved to Minnesota in ’87 to get the fuck out of Idaho. Winters here are killing me, so what do I do? I buy a house. At least we got lotsa water. I live 8 blocks from the Mississippi river, and she is running fast and high. My usual bench for Little Dog and me is 10 feet under water.

    But spring is coming, and I’ve seen three red headed woodpeckers so far, more than last year already…

  35. VolcanoMan says


    That sounds like a fun trip, people re-creating a major fur trade route and experiencing a kind of version of what life was like for such people. There are actually a couple really excellent Youtube channels I’ve found that document similar adventures (my favourite one is called Northern Scavenger – their most recent large expedition was an attempt at paddling and portaging from Great Slave Lake to Bathurst Inlet on the Arctic Ocean last summer; also, there’s a nutty Newfie called Justin Barbour who has undertaken some insane adventures in northern Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador). If you enjoy watching (and vicariously experiencing) that kind of thing, there’s no better place to see it.

    I have actually canoed extensively in that region of northwestern Ontario (not directly across from Boundary Waters, but close) when I worked at the Experimental Lakes Area, back when it was still operated by the Canadian federal government. That no-good douchebag who inexplicably managed to become Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, decided to nix it from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans research budget a couple years after I worked there, and a world-class environmental field station (basically a massive natural laboratory – the study I worked on involved distributing tiny amounts of isotopically-tagged mercury in the water and around the marshes and surrounding forest watershed of a small lake, to track how it moved through the ecosystem…and that was only one of dozens of lakes being used for similar long-term study of everything from acid rain to eutrophication) sat vacant for a couple years until the International Institute for Sustainable Development out of Winnipeg worked something out and took ownership, continuing the work of government scientists on existing projects, and starting new ones. It’s a truly stunning area – some of the lakes are so clear that you can see through 5+ metres of water right to their sandy bottom, and the diversity of wildlife is quite impressive. I’ve always loved the Canadian Shield though. Sure, there’s mosquitoes (from June to mid-September) and wood ticks (from late May to the end of June), but it’s worth paying a price of blood to experience.