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Frequently Asked Questions About the Minnesota Legislature

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Special Needs Access

What is the Legislature's policy for assisting persons with special needs?

The Minnesota Legislature is committed to complying with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and supporting the goal that individuals with disabilities shall not be excluded from participating in or be denied the benefits of any program, service, or activity offered by the Legislature. The Legislature welcomes comments and suggestions on services that will improve communication between the Legislature and individuals with special needs. Please direct comments to:

Legislative Coordinating Commission
Room 72, State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155.

See the Accessibility page for information on the Legislature's website accessibility.

Does the Legislature provide access to public hearings?

Senate and House of Representatives hearing rooms, the Senate west gallery, and the House of Representatives gallery are accessible to individuals using wheelchairs. Both the Capitol Building and the State Office Building have designated parking and entrance ramps to provide easy access to the buildings.

For individual assistance, contact:

  • Senate Sergeant-at-Arms at 651-296-1119 for help in the Capitol Building.
  • House Sergeant-at-Arms at 651-296-4860 for help in the State Office Building.

Wheelchair-accessible public access computers for using the Legislative website are available at:

  • the House Index Office, 211 State Capitol.
  • the Legislative Reference Library, 645 State Office Building.
  • House Public Information Services, 175 State Office Building.

Are there wheelchairs available?

Both the Senate and House of Representatives have access to wheelchairs for use within the Capitol or State Office Building. Advance notice is required to insure that the wheelchair is available when needed.

  • Call the Capitol Information Desk at 651-296-3962 for help in the Capitol Building.
  • Call the House Sergeant-at-Arms at 651-296-4860 for help in the State Office Building.

Is there a guide to the Capitol for visitors with disabilities?

For the latest information about accessibility and services provided to visitors with disabilities during the Capitol restoration project, visit the Accessibility tab of the Minnesota State Capitol Restoration Project website.

What television coverage is provided?

The Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate produce and distribute unedited television coverage of all House and Senate floor sessions, select committee hearings, press conferences, and other issue-oriented programming. Programming is broadcast weekdays during the legislative session from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., with extended evening and weekend coverage available for debates on high-profile issues. All broadcast programming is closed-captioned.

All House and Senate television programming is Web cast live over the Internet. The live Web cast service allows viewers to watch additional coverage not provided on the television channels or to watch extended evening coverage. In addition, all television programming is archived and made available on the House and Senate websites. Web cast programming is captioned.

Are there specific services for people who are blind or visually impaired?

  • Signs. Raised numbers identify legislative offices and rooms in the State Office Building and Capitol. In addition, Braille signs are installed throughout the Capitol Building and the State Office Building to assist those who are visually impaired. The elevators in both buildings are equipped with control signs in Braille.
  • Large print. Some of the printed material handed out in committees may be enlarged on the copying machines used by the Legislature. For assistance, contact:
    Legislative Coordinating Commission, 651-296-1121
    Room 72 State Office Building
  • Readers. Readers for printed materials can be arranged upon request. Advance notice is necessary to insure timely assistance. For assistance, contact:
    Legislative Coordinating Commission, 651-296-1121
  • Recorded Meetings. Every committee, commission meeting, and floor session is recorded. Since 2004 the audio recordings are available on the Minnesota Legislature's website.

    House Audio and Video Archives
    Senate Media Services-Senate Audio Service

    For information on getting copies of House audio recordings, contact:
    House Public Information, 651-296-2146
    Senate Supply, 651-296-5720.

    If an individual wishes to listen to the recording of a committee meeting or floor session, listening facilities are located in the Legislative Reference Library, 651-296-8338
    Room 645, State Office Building.

  • Screen Readers. JAWS and NVDA screen reader software is installed on select public access computers in the Legislative Reference Library, Room 645, State Office Building.

Are there services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing?

A public access TTY pay telephone is located near the Capitol Information Desk on the first floor of the Capitol Building.

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled may contact the Senate and House via their preferred Telecommunications Relay Service.

  • Minnesota Relay Service Minnesota Relay Service is a free service that uses a specially trained communications assistant (CA) to facilitate the telephone conversations between a person who has a hearing loss or speech disability and the person with whom they wish to speak. All calls are confidential. To make a Minnesota Relay call dial 7-1-1.
  • Sign Language Interpreters In order to provide accessibility for meetings with legislators, legislative committee hearings, and House and Senate floor sessions, the Legislature contracts with Communication Services for the Deaf to provide legislative sign language interpreting services. Interpreting services are also available for hearings or meetings with legislators in Greater Minnesota.

    To request legislative interpreting services, call 651-224-6548 (V/TTY)
    If you live in Greater Minnesota, call 1-877-456-7589 (V/TTY)

    Please make your request at least 24 hours before the service is needed. You may also request legislative interpreting services from the committee administrator or committee legislative assistant that is planning the committee you want to attend.

    You may also request legislative interpreting services by contacting the Legislative Coordinating Commission at 651-296-9002, at 651-296-1121, or at 651-296-0099.
  • Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) For CART services, contact the Legislative Coordinating Commission at 651-296-9002, at 651-296-1121 or at 651-296-0099. Please make your request at least 24 hours before the service is needed.
  • Sound Reinforcement Systems The Minnesota Senate has sound reinforcement systems for use in Capitol rooms 15, 107, 112, 123, 125, and the Senate Chamber. The systems, for the exclusive use of people who are deaf or hard of hearing, are available for the duration of a particular meeting and must be returned immediately following the meeting. Senate receivers may be signed out during normal business hours from the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, room G-1, Capitol Building. For meetings lasting beyond normal business hours, receivers are to be returned to the committee staff. Call the Sergeant-at-Arms at 651-296-1119 for further information.

    The Minnesota House has sound reinforcement systems in the 10 hearing rooms in the State Office Building and in the House Chamber. The systems, for the exclusive use of people who are deaf or hard of hearing, are available for the duration of a particular meeting and must be returned immediately following the meeting. House receivers may be signed out during normal business hours from the House Sergeant-at-Arms, room 190, State Office Building, and the Chief Clerk's Office, room 211, State Capitol. For meetings lasting beyond normal business hours, receivers are to be returned to the committee staff. Call the House Sergeant-at-Arms Office at 651-296-4860 for further information.

Is the Legislature's website accessible?

We continually refine our website in an effort to conform to ADA standards and provide our online information in an accessible format.

Text Sizing

In most Internet browsers, pressing Ctrl + Plus Sign (+) increases text size, and Ctrl + Minus Sign (-) decreases text size. Pressing the Ctrl key while scrolling up or down with the mouse wheel will also change the text size in most browsers. Alternatively, click the menu at the top of your browser and look for the "zoom" or "text size" option. This will present you with choices for scaling the text to your preferred size.

Access Keys

Our site navigation tabs have assigned access keys. In Mozilla Firefox, press Shift + Alt + the corresponding letter. This will take you directly to the page. In Microsoft Internet Explorer, press Shift + Alt + the corresponding letter, which will highlight the link, then press Enter to follow it.

  • Shift+Alt + C Jump to main content
  • Shift+Alt + N Jump to page navigation
  • Shift+Alt + F Jump to footer
  • Shift+Alt + H Minnesota House of Representatives Homepage
  • Shift+Alt + S Minnesota Senate Homepage
  • Shift+Alt + J Joint Departments and Commissions
  • Shift+Alt + E Schedules
  • Shift+Alt + B Bills
  • Shift+Alt + T Committees
  • Shift+Alt + L Minnesota Statutes, Laws, and Rules
  • Shift+Alt + P Publications

Documents in Portable Document Format (PDF)

Some documents available on the Legislature's website are in PDF format. Adobe Reader may be downloaded for free to access PDF documents. Adobe Reader includes a text-to-speech tool. To use this tool, PDF documents must be downloaded to your computer.

Instructions for using the Adobe Reader "Read Out Loud Text-to-Speech Tool"

E-Government Usability/Accessibility Compliment/Concern Page

Having accessibility or usability problems with any Minnesota state government website or software? Have you used a state website or software that works especially well for people with disabilities? Please send your comments using the E-Government Usability/Accessibility Compliments and Concerns page.

Accessibility Information and Resources

See the Minnesota Star Program's Accessibility and Usability of E-Government Services.

Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Access at the Capitol

Access at the Capitol: Information from the Commission Serving Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans.

FAQ - Special Needs Access: Information about Legislature's policy for assisting people with special needs, wheelchair services for those who are blind or visually impaired, services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Minnesota State Legislature