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Control of the Minnesota House and Senate will switch again when the 88th session of the Minnesota Legislature convenes in January.
(Published Nov 15, 2012)
The Nov. 6 election ushered in yet another swing of Minnesota’s political pendulum as the DFL party won majorities in the House and Senate. Just two years ago, the Republicans wrestled control of the Legislature when they won majorities in both the House and Senate.
Although there are two pending recounts (House District 8B in Alexandria and Senate District 20 in Northfield), based on initial tallies, the House of Representatives now includes 73 DFL members and 61 Republican members. During the 2012 session, the Republicans held a 72 to 61 majority, with one vacant seat. That vacancy was due to the election of former representative Lyle Koenen to the Minnesota Senate.
By the numbers
In the House, the two parties each saw 46 incumbent members re-elected for the 2013 session. There will be 15 new Republicans and 27 new DFLers seated in January. Of the 27 new DFL members, 11 served in the Minnesota Legislature prior to the 2011-2012 biennium. In total, 31.1 percent of the House members did not serve in the 2012 session.
In the Senate, the DFL now holds a 39- to 28-seat majority. In 2012, the Republicans held a 37- to 30-seat majority. The Senate Republicans will return 19 members from the 2012 session while the DFL will return 25 members. There are nine new Senate Republican members and 14 new DFL members. Of those 23 new members, seven were House members in 2012 while four had held legislative seats in the House or Senate prior to the 2011-2012 biennium. There will be 12 members of the Senate in 2013 that have not previously served in the Minnesota Legislature, which is roughly 18 percent of the Senate.
Days after the election results were announced, the House and Senate DFL members voted on their leadership teams. Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) will be the Senate majority leader while Sen. Katie Sieben (DFL-Newport) will be the deputy majority leader. Sen. Sandra Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) is the Senate president-elect while Sen. Rod Skoe (DFL-Clearbrook) was elected to be the Senate Taxes Committee chair, and Sen. Richard Cohen (DFL-St. Paul) was elected to be the Senate Finance Committee chair. The Republicans elected Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) to be the minority leader.
In the House, the speaker-elect is Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) while Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) was elected to be the majority leader. The House Republicans elected Rep. Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) to be the minority leader.
The leadership teams in the House and Senate will now be organizing the committee structure, including assigning the chairs of the committees. The committee structure, chairs, and membership will likely be announced before Jan. 8, the first day of the legislative session.
New faces with city experience
A number of current and former city officials and/or city staff were elected to the Legislature, as follows: (This list was developed by League staff. If you are aware of other newly elected legislators with city experience, please let the League know.)
Voter ID amendment does not pass
A question on the ballot asked voters if the Minnesota Constitution should be amended to require a photo identification to vote. Fifty percent was needed for the amendment to pass and when the votes were tallied, the estimated percentage of yes votes was 46.14 percent.
Though the amendment did not pass, League staff will continue to monitor and track elections and voter registration legislative activity to ensure city concerns are represented.
Take time to introduce yourself
This is a great time to introduce yourself to the newly elected legislators in your area. Let them know you are a resource on city issues and share your contact information with them. Utilize the League’s advocacy guide (pdf) for more tips on how to advocate for your city.
The League’s intergovernmental relations (IGR) staff members will be introducing themselves to new legislators in the coming weeks before session begins on Jan. 8. The IGR staff will also be sharing tips for effective advocacy in a webinar on Dec. 10. Registration will be available online soon.
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Contact Gary Carlson
(651) 281-1255 or (800) 925-1122