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Frequently Asked Questions About the Minnesota Legislature

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Research

How do I use the legislative Web site to research legislative issues?

Here are some ideas for searching portions of the Minnesota Legislative Web site and other sites to find information on important issues facing the Minnesota Legislature. NOTE: For detailed instructions on following a specific bill through the legislative process, see Minnesota Legislative History Guide.

  • Bills. Status information and the full text of bills introduced in the Minnesota Legislature are available within hours of introduction. You can search for bills by bill number, author, chief author, statutory citation, topic, committee, bill action, and by keyword in the bill's description. Note: The searching feature does not search the full text of individual bills, just the short descriptions. To search within the text of a bill, display the bill text and use the 'find' feature of your browser.
  • Bill Summaries.
  • Committee Information. Several committees have Web pages which give updates on issues.
  • Journals. Search the House and Senate Journals, the daily record of the legislative session.
  • Statutes and Session Laws. Current Statutes and Session Laws passed in a given year can be searched in Statutes, Laws, and Rules.
  • Research Reports.
    • House of Representatives Research Publications
    • Senate Counsel and Research Reports and Treatises.
    • House Fiscal Analysis Department -- Reports on fiscal issues and state finance spreadsheets.
    • Legislative Auditor Reports -- The Office of the Legislative Auditor Program Evaluation Division evaluates state government programs and agencies and helps to ensure accountability for the expenditure of public funds. Studies are conducted at the request of the Legislature, but all reports are available to the public.
  • Newsletters.
    • Both the House and the Senate produce weekly newsletters during session with feature articles on members and issues, new bills introduced and the actions of the committees debating them. Note: The text of Session Weekly and Senate Briefly issues is included in a search of the Legislature's Web site.
    • The House Fiscal Analysis Department publishes Money Matters, a newsletter with features on various aspects of state finance.
  • Legislative Reference Library Resources.
    • The library collection includes public policy reports and a comprehensive collection of state documents. Search it via the LRL catalog. The full text of many reports is available via the Internet.
    • Resources on Minnesota Issues -- Library staff prepare guides to information on selected legislative issues. The guides list important reports and articles, sometimes give timelines, and give contacts for further information.
    • Links to the World -- Library staff compile lists of Internet sites by public policy topic, highlighting Minnesota resources.
  • Executive Branch information.
    • Minnesota.gov links to state agency Websites, which may include statistics and reports on major issues, including education, crime, and the environment. It also links to the Governor's website.
  • Media coverage. A growing number of Minnesota newspapers and broadcast media have extensive legislative coverage.

Minnesota State Legislature