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Frequently Asked Questions About the Minnesota Legislature

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1. What is the General Register? What are General Orders?

Answer

The General Register is a list of bills that have had their second reading and await action by the full House of Representatives. In the Senate, this list of bills that have had their second reading and await action by the Senate is called General Orders.

2. What is the Consent Calendar?

Answer

A listing of local or non-controversial bills, which are given a second reading and bypass the General Register in the House and General Orders in the Senate, thus making them eligible for debate, possible amendment, third reading and final passage all in one day.

3. What is the Fiscal Calendar?

Answer

It is a list of spending or revenue bills to be taken up by the full House on a given day. The bills are drawn from the General Register, which means they have had a second reading. Bills can be placed on the Fiscal Calendar by the chair of the Ways & Means Committee or the chair of the Taxes Committee, and the intent to place a bill on the Fiscal Calendar must be announced before 5 pm on the legislative day prior to its consideration by the full House.

4. What is the Senate Agenda?

Answer

The Senate Agenda is a listing of items scheduled for action by the Senate during the floor session for a particular day. Items on the Senate Agenda - including governor's appointments, messages from the House, first reading of House bills, reports from committees, motions and other printed material - would otherwise have to be read aloud if they were not presented in printed form. This agenda saves that step. It is available to the public the morning of a planned Senate floor session.

5. How do I find out what items the Senate or the House will take up during a particular day's session?

Answer

Each house produces a calendar indicating the bills that will be discussed that day. In the House, that document is called the "Calendar for the Day," and in the Senate it is simply called the "Calendar." When a bill appears on these agendas, the measure has been given its first and second readings and is ready for third reading and final passage. There is one difference between the two agendas. A bill on the Calendar in the Senate cannot be amended once it gets there without unanimous consent of the entire Senate. However, bills on the Calendar for the Day in the House can still be amended until the Speaker of the House calls for the bill's third reading. Once it has been read for the third time, no amendments may be added without the House's unanimous consent. Remember, however, that in the Senate, once a bill is placed on the Calendar or Consent Calendar, the body must wait one day before it is taken up. So a bill placed on the Consent Calendar on a Tuesday may not be considered and voted upon until Wednesday.

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