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Library News

It's a Budget Year

By Molly Riley

March in an odd-numbered year is a perfect time to remind you of the Library’s state budget resources. We regularly compile historical resources that provide context and perspective on issues of importance to the legislature and state government. Two new resources we published this fall provide historical perspective on the state budget.

Major Appropriation and Finance Bills and Laws, 1995-present is a handy resource this year. Relying on sources from the House Fiscal Analysis Department, Senate Counsel, Research, and Fiscal Analysis, and the Library's vetoes database, we compiled a chronological list of major appropriation and finance bills and laws from 1995 to the present, including bills that received line item or full vetoes. This page makes it easy to pull up transportation finance bills from the past ten years, or to compare a vetoed version of an omnibus appropriations bill with the one that was signed into law.

The second resource to note is our Minnesota Governor's Proposed Biennial Operating Budget page, which includes digital versions of proposed operating budget documents back to the late 1990s. (Older proposed operating budgets are also available in print in the Library.) This page provides quick access to Governor Walz’ proposed budget documents for FY2020-2021, alongside those of former governors. These two new pages complement our Minnesota Governor’s Proposed Capital Budget page, which includes digital versions of all proposed capital budget documents back to 1975.

This winter has been brutal!  Stop by the Legislative Reference Library on the 3rd floor of the Minnesota Senate Building for glimpses of beautiful summer scenes for a reprieve from the snow and dark!

'Sweet Summer,' Carol Blackburn's collection of evocative summer nature photographs, will be on display until summer arrives.  Carol is a longtime LRL librarian and a freelance photographer in her spare time.

This is the fourth art exhibit the Senate location of the Legislative Reference Library since the opening of the Minnesota Senate Building in early 2016.  Please stop by!

 

The Legislature's website has a fresh new look!  After months of work by a dedicated team of legislative programmers, the new site was rolled out over the weekend. 

The programming team included Chris Cantey (Legislative Coordinating Commission), Mike Schatz (Legislative Reference Library), Max Carlson (House Chief Clerk's office), Matt Burress (House Research), Ariel Zannou (Senate Information Systems), and Isaac Holmlund (Revisor of Statutes).   Also thanks to Krista Sheely (Senate Information Sytems), Mike Speiker (House Chief Clerk's Office), and Jason Judt (Revisor of Statutes).

It's back by popular demand!  Learn the names of the brand new legislators and refresh your memory on the returning members by taking the Minnesota Legislator Quiz! Can you get a perfect score?

 

29,000 legislative tapes!

By Elizabeth Lincoln


Library staff are excited to announce a new searchable database of 29,000 legislative audio files covering 1991-2003!

Until recently, tracking down the history of legislation often involved a trip to the Legislative Reference Library (LRL) or the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS)--or both! Before the Legislature began recording meetings digitally in 2004, all audio was recorded on cassette and reel-to-reel tapes.  Interest in researching these primary materials has not waned--legislative staff, state agency staff, attorneys, and private citizens continue to use these rich primary research materials.  But, the tapes were inconvenient to use and they took up enormous amounts of space at LRL and MHS.  

A 2017 appropriation allowed the Legislative Reference Library to undertake the digitization of 29,000 audio tapes.  This digitization project and resulting database enhances the existing collection of digital hearings and floor sessions, making these valuable primary records of the Legislature accessible to anyone at any time and preserving them into the future.  Researchers are now able to listen to all committee hearings and floor sessions back to 1991. The database draws upon other sources of information such as House and Senate floor logs and committee members for each standing committee.

For further information on researching legislative proceedings, consult the Legislative Reference Library’s legislative history guide and resource list or contact a librarian at 651-296-8338 or by email.