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Frequently Asked Questions About the Minnesota Legislature

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About the Legislature

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1. What is the structure and function of the Minnesota Legislature?

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2. Who determines the size of the Legislature?

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3. How can I find the laws governing the Legislature?

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4. What is a bill?

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5. What is a resolution?

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6. Who can draft a bill?

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7. What is the process for introducing a bill?

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8. Is unrelated legislation permitted to be attached to bills? Who decides what is germane?

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9. What is an omnibus bill?

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10. Are there rules governing bills that can be introduced in each body?

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11. What happens when a bill has passed one body but not the other?

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12. Is a bill dead if it fails on final passage?

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13. What is a veto?

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14. What are line-item and pocket vetoes?

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15. Is there a limit to the number of bills a governor can veto?

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16. Are there any legislative calendar deadlines?

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17. Must every bill receive a committee hearing?

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18. Is there a timeline for the governor to sign bills?

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19. Can the Legislature override the governor's veto? Is there a limit to that privilege?

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20. What happens to bills remaining on the various calendars or in a conference committee at the end of the first session of a biennium?

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21. How do I find bills on a particular subject that were passed in a previous session?

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22. Where can I read an old bill?

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Calendars

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23. How do I find out what is going on in the House and Senate every day?

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24. What is the General Register? What is General Orders? What is Special Orders?

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25. What is the Consent Calendar?

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26. What is the Fiscal Calendar?

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27. What is the Senate Agenda?

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

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Caucuses (Political Parties)

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29. What is a caucus?

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30. How are leaders in the House and Senate chosen?

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31. Are all the House and Senate employees partisan?

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32. What are the political affiliations of the heads of the Minnesota State Agencies?

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Citizen Participation

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33. How do I contact my legislator? How do I let a representative or senator know how I feel about an issue?

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34. Are there legislator contact lists?

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35. May I testify at a committee hearing?

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36. What publications are available from the Legislature?

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37. How do I get a copy of the red book, green book and blue book? What are the differences between each of the publications?

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38. How do I subscribe to the House Session Daily?

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39. How can I watch the Legislature on television?

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

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41. How do I find out who my senator and representative are?

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

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43. Who do I contact to schedule an event at the Capitol?

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44. Is there a way I can send a bulk email to all legislators?

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45. How do I find information about a bill if I don't know the bill number, bill author or anything else other than a general topic?

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46. How do I schedule a press conference or reserve a room at the Capitol?

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Committees

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47. What is a conference committee?

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48. How are committee chairs selected? How are members assigned to committees?

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49. How many members are on each committee? How many committees may each member serve on?

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50. What is the purpose of a committee? What actions can committees take?

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51. May I testify at a committee hearing?

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52. How can I find the laws governing the Legislature?

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53. Are there any legislative calendar deadlines?

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54. Must every bill receive a committee hearing?

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55. Are committee hearings open to the public?

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56. How do I find out about committee hearings?

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Copyright

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57. Use of Information

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58. Copyright Limitations

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59. Ownership

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60. Who do I contact for permission?

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Disability Access

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61. What is the Legislature's policy for assisting persons with disabilities?

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62. Are public hearings wheelchair-accessible?

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63. Are there wheelchairs available?

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

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65. How can I watch the Legislature on television?

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

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

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68. Is the Legislature's website accessible?

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Glossary of Terms

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69. Legislative Terms and Definitions

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Journals

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70. What is the Daily Journal?

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71. What is the permanent Journal?

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72. What is the distribution of the permanent Journal?

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73. Where do I find Journals of the House and Senate?

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74. Is there a charge for the Journal?

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Laws, Statutes and Rules

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75. What is a law?

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76. What are statutes?

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77. What is a rule?

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78. What is an act?

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79. How do laws, statutes, and rules differ?

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80. How can I find the law on a particular subject?

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81. When do new laws go into effect?

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82. Where do I find Minnesota Statutes and Session Laws?

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83. How do I retrieve past Minnesota statutes?

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84. What are the official versions of Minnesota laws, statutes and rules?

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85. How can I find historical data on the Minnesota Legislature?

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86. How do I cite Minnesota's legal sources?

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87. When are the numbers assigned to the sections of the statutes?

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88. How do I read the statutes? What do the italicized numbers at the end of a section mean?

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89. Where can I buy Minnesota Laws, Statutes, or Rules?

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Lobbying

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90. What is a lobbyist?

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91. Where do I register as a lobbyist?

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92. How many lobbyists are there? What is their role in lawmaking?

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Procedures (Parliamentary)

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93. What is First Reading? How many readings does a bill get before the body can vote on it? Why?

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94. Must every bill receive a committee hearing?

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95. What is the Committee of the Whole?

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96. What happens if a bill is defeated in the Committee of the Whole?

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97. What are the House Rules and Senate Rules? Why does each body have them?

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98. How are executive appointments confirmed?

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99. What is Rule 26? What are Special Orders?

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100. Are there any legislative calendar deadlines?

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Representatives and Senators

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101. What is the current pay scale for Representatives and Senators?

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102. How do I find out who my senator and representative are?

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103. How many members are in the Minnesota Legislature? How many are in the House of Representatives and how many are in the Senate?

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104. Are there legislator contact lists?

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105. How long are terms for Minnesota representatives and senators?

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106. If a state Representative or Senator resigns or dies in office, how is the vacancy filled?

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107. How do I run for election to the House or the Senate?

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108. Do Representatives and Senators receive special rights because of their office?

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109. How are leaders in the House and Senate chosen?

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110. What are the rules regarding gifts for legislators?

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111. Can I find out what bills my Senator and my Representative sponsored and how my Senator or Representative voted in a previous session?

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112. How do I find information on former legislators?

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Research

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113. How do I use the legislative website to research legislative issues?

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114. How do I cite Minnesota's legal sources?

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Schedules

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115. How do I find out what is going on in the House and Senate every day?

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116. How do I subscribe to the daily and weekly House and Senate schedule e-mail distribution list?

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117. How do I find out about committee hearings?

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118. Are there any legislative calendar deadlines?

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Sessions

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119. Are there any legislative calendar deadlines?

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120. When does the Minnesota Legislature meet?

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121. What is a legislative day?

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122. What is a session of the Legislature?

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123. What is a flexible session?

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124. What is a budget session?

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125. What is adjournment sine die?

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Staff / Employment

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126. How many people work for the Legislature and what are their salaries?

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127. Where can I find job postings and employment opportunities?

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Visiting the Capitol

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128. Do you have travel directions to the Minnesota State Capitol?

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129. Where do I park when I visit the Capitol?

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130. Are tours of the Capitol available?

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131. Who is allowed on the floor of the Senate?

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132. Who is allowed on the floor of the House?

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133. Are visitors allowed to attend sessions of the Senate and House?

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134. Is photography allowed in the Capitol building?

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135. Who do I contact to schedule an event at the Capitol?

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136. How do I schedule a press conference or reserve a room at the Capitol?

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

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138. What food services are available in the Capitol?

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139. Is there a map of the Capitol available?

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140. Are lactation rooms available?

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141. Can I find out what bills my Senator and my Representative sponsored and how my Senator or Representative voted in a previous session?

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142. How many votes are required in order for a bill to become law?

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143. How do representatives and senators vote?