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Library News - Legislators

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?

 

Representative Paul Thissen was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to the Minnesota Supreme Court on April 17, 2018, replacing Justice David Stras. Sixteen other Minnesota legislators have served on the Minnesota Supreme Court:

Name Minnesota Legislative Service Minnesota Supreme Court Service Notes
John Berry

Territorial House 1857;

Senate 1863-1864

Associate Justice 1865-1887  
Kathleen Blatz House 1979-1994

Associate Justice 1996-1998;

Chief Justice 1998-2006

 
Daniel Buck

House 1866;

Senate 1879-1882

Associate Justice 1893 -1899

He was elected to the Supreme Court in 1892 for a term that started in January 1894, but another judge resigned and he was appointed to take his place before his elected term started.

Loren Collins

House 1881-1884

Associate Justice 1887-1904  
Francis "F.R.E." Cornell House 1861-1862; 1865 Associate Justice 1875-1881  
Wallace Douglas House 1895-1898 Associate Justice 1904-1905  
Charles Flandrau Territorial Council 1856

Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court Associate Justice  1857-1858; 

Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice 1858-1864

He was also a member of the Territorial Democratic Constitutional Convention in 1857.

Alexander "Sandy" Keith Senate 1959-1962

Associate Justice 1989-1990;

Chief Justice 1990-1998

He also served as Lieutenant Governor from 1963 to 1967. He is believed to be the first person to serve in all three branches of Minnesota state government (Star Tribune 7/7/1990).

William Mitchell House 1859-1860 Associate Justice 1881-1900  
C. Donald Peterson House 1959-1962 Associate Justice 1967-1986  
Peter Popovich House 1953-1962

Associate Justice 1987-1989;

Chief Justice 1989-1990

 
Walter Rogosheske House 1943-1948 Associate Justice 1962-1980  
Albert Schaller Senate 1895-1914 Associate Justice 1915-1917  
Robert Sheran House 1947-1950

Associate Justice 1963-1970;

Chief Justice 1973-1981

 

Thomas Wilson

House 1881-1882;

Senate 1883-1886

Associate Justice 1864-1865;

Chief Justice 1865-1869

He was a member of the Territorial Republican Constitutional Convention in 1857. He is unique for having served as a legislator after his time on the Minnesota Supreme Court, rather than before.

Lawrence Yetka House 1951-1960 Associate Justice 1973-1993  

 

Three Minnesota legislators served on other states' territorial supreme courts: 

  • Warren Bristol (Minnesota House 1866; Minnesota Senate 1867-1869) served on the New Mexico Territorial Supreme Court from 1872-1885. Notably, he presided over the New Mexico trial of "Billy the Kid." 
  • Alonzo Edgerton (Minnesota Senate 1859-1860; 1877-1878) served on the Territorial Supreme Court of Dakota, was a U.S. Senator for Minnesota, and was a member of the South Dakota Constitutional Convention.
  • John North (Minnesota Territorial House 1851; Minnesota Republican Constitutional Convention 1857) served on the Nevada Territory Supreme Court. He also served on the Nevada Territory State Constitutional Convention.

In early Minnesota history, there were other leaders who served both as part of the constitutional convention and as justices on the supreme court: 

  • Bradley Meeker was not a Minnesota legislator but was a member of the Territorial Democratic Constitutional Convention in 1857. He served on the Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court as an Associate Justice from 1849-1853.
  • LaFayette Emmett was a member of the Territorial Democratic Constitutional Convention in 1857 and served on the Minnesota Supreme Court as Chief Justice from 1858-1865.

Three Minnesota Supreme Court justices, Aaron Goodrich, Andrew Chatfield, and Moses Sherburne served in other state legislatures, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Maine respectively. Moses Sherburne was also a member of the Minnesota Territorial Democratic Constitutional Convention in 1857.

 

Today is the first day of session and you will want to make sure you know all 201 legislators--take the Minnesota Legislator Quiz!  Can you get a perfect score?

Governor Mark Dayton announced last week that he will appoint Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith to fill out the term U.S. Senator Al Franken plans to vacate in early January.  Article V of the Minnesota Constitution states, "the last elected presiding officer of the senate shall become lieutenant governor in case a vacancy occurs in that office."  Since 1974, the governor and lieutenant governor have been elected jointly—rather than separately--and have been of the same party.  This change was the result of a constitutional amendment question on the ballot in 1972.

Current Senate President Michelle Fischbach is a Republican and Governor Mark Dayton is a Democrat, raising the question—how many instances in Minnesota’s history have the governor and the lieutenant governor been from different political parties?

Using lists of governors and lieutenant governors from the Legislative Reference Library and Minnesota Historical Society, Legislative Reference Library staff found five time periods when the two positions were held by individuals of different parties.

1899-1901    Governor John Lind was a Populist-Democratic-Silver-Republican when he served as governor from January 2, 1899 to January 7, 1901.  Governor Lind served his entire term with Republican Lieutenant Governor Lyndon Smith although Lieutenant Governor Smith’s tenure extended until January 5, 1903.

1905-1909    Two Republican lieutenant governors served under a Democratic governor.  Governor John A. Johnson served from 1905 until his death on September 21, 1909.  Governor Johnson’s two Republican lieutenant governors were Ray W. Jones (January 5, 1903 to January 7, 1907) and Adolph O. Eberhart (January 7, 1907 to September 25, 1909).

1915    Democratic Governor Winfield Hammond’s brief, one-year tenure as governor (January 5 to December 30, 1915) was in tandem with Republican Lieutenant Governor J.A.A. Burnquist.  Burnquist began serving as lieutenant governor two years earlier on January 7, 1913.  Governor Hammond’s death on December 30 elevated Burnquist to governor and Sen. George Sullivan, also a Republican, to lieutenant governor.

1936-1937    Farmer-Labor Governor Hjalmar Petersen served from August 24, 1936 until January 4, 1937 with Republican Lieutenant Governor William B. Richardson.  The pair were elevated to their positions due to the death of Governor Floyd B. Olson.  William Richardson was not sworn into the position of lieutenant governor and served concurrently in the Minnesota Senate.  Although Hjalmar Petersen served as a Farmer-Labor governor, he ran for other offices under different parties.  Before he ran for the Minnesota Legislature he had been a member of the Republican Party.  Later in his career, he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican Party endorsement for governor in 1946 and an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor endorsement to run for the U.S. Senate in 1958.

1961-1963    From January 3, 1955 until January 8, 1963, Democratic-Farmer-Labor Lieutenant Governor Karl Rolvaag served under two governors--one of a different party.  Rolvaag first served under fellow DFL Governor Orville Freeman from January 5, 1955  to January 2, 1961.  He then served under Republican Governor Elmer Andersen from January 2, 1961 until January 8, 1963.  The gubernatorial recount kept Republican Governor Elmer Andersen in office between January 8, 1963, when DFL Lieutenant Governor A.M Keith took office, and March 25, 1963, when Karl Rolvaag was deemed the winner.   Once again, the governor and lieutenant governor were of the same party.

See the Library's President and President Pro Tempore of the Minnesota Senate list for other instances of Presidents of the Senate becoming lieutenant governors through succession.

See the Smart Politics blog post, Minnesota On Eve of Rare Governor and Lieutenant Governor Partisan Split, for an analysis of the amount of time the top two constitutional offices in Minnesota have been occupied by members of different political parties.

(We made every effort to be complete.  Please notify the Library if you have additions or errors to report.)

The Library's legislator quiz--developed last year for new Library staff--proved to be very popular with staff, lobbyists, and legislators!  The quiz has been updated and improved for the new session -  you can now select all current legislators or focus on either the House or the Senate.

Play the quiz!

 

Representative Lyndon Carlson surpassed a number of records today!  He is now the longest serving House member - ever. He is also the longest serving member in the history of the Minnesota Legislature.

Three former legislators are tied for second-longest-serving legislator. Phyllis Kahn is the second longest serving member of the Minnesota House of Representatives and is tied in length of service with two legislators who served in both bodies--Anton J. Rockne and Carl Iverson.  (Anton J. Rockne has the longest Senate tenure.)  Check out the length of service for all legislators including those who have served just one day!

 

 

It’s easy to create a list of bills by author in the Legislature’s bill tracking system.  How many of them became law?  The bills that became law include a number in the “Law” column, indicating that they passed and received a chapter number in the annual Session Laws.

But the list of ‘laws passed’ is not complete – not because the system doesn’t work correctly, but because it is difficult to account for all the ways that language from a legislator might become law.

Some of the bills could have been incorporated into larger bills, such as an omnibus bill.  For example, Rep. Kim Norton was the author of HF512 in 2015, establishing a child support work group.  That bill did not pass, but the language was incorporated into SF1458, and passed into law, Chapter 71 of 2015.

Many times, when a separate bill is wrapped into a larger bill, a see reference will be listed on the status screen – but that doesn’t always work. 

In 2015, Rep. Norton introduced HF39, designating Highway 14 as the Black and Yellow Trail.  If you check the bill status system, it appears to be introduced, referred to committee, going no further.  But it passed! (See article 3 of Chapter 287, and a photo of a sign on the completed trail.) It received a hearing and was included in the Omnibus transportation bill that year, even though there was no “see” reference in the bill tracking system.

As a legislator, what if you introduce a bill that is never heard in committee, yet it passes in the other body and is incorporated into an omnibus bill during conference committee?  Is that your bill that passed?

Sometimes a legislator introduces a bill identical to one or many other bills - clone bills.  If your bill is not the one that passes, is it legitimate to still consider the bill as one you have passed?  Scott Magnuson, long-time Senate employee and legislation-watcher, has an opinion.  He says no.  The chief author of the bill that passes is the one who has done the hard part of taking it through all the committees.  "If you are the chief author, you have to be passionate," Scott said. 

Rep. Norton agrees with Scott that clones or bills that are filed as a courtesy and were never heard should not be claimed as passing a bill. On the other hand, she noted, “Sometimes an author researches an issue, files a bill, and gets a Senate author--but because of committee budgets or partisan politics, it may not be heard. If heard, it may not be included in the House Omnibus bill...BUT your Senate author may have better luck getting it included on the Senate side and it eventually passes. I believe that House author can/should take credit for that bill.”

A list of laws each member passed also doesn’t account for the work of legislators in committees and in floor session, where they track other members’ bills for language that may harm their districts, or craft amendments that help their districts.

While talking about the difficulty of definitive tracking, Scott Magnuson had a recommendation for every legislator who wants to carefully account for their work each session.  Get a really good staff person who will track it for you, year by year.

In the midst of today's serious floor debates, a little history break:

In today's "This Day in Minnesota History" page, the Minnesota Historical Society featured James Goodhue, founder of the first Minnesota newspaper, The Minnesota Pioneer (forerunner of today's Pioneer Press). It prompted a tweet by Vic Thorstenson, "Unfortunately, for Mr. Goodhue, he looks like he also encountered the first-ever barber in MN territory."  That reminded me of an article I recently saw about a barber who practiced in the Central House Hotel in 1849, while looking for information on all the sites in which the Legislature has met. The very first territorial legislature met in the Central House Hotel in St. Paul, in 1849.  Maybe Mr. Goodhue, and many of the very first legislators, frequented this barber? This is text from an ad in Mr. Goodhue's newspaper.

"William Armstrong, a Castillian by birth, continues to smooth the countenances of the male public at Central House, amputating the beard with the utmost facility, upon new and scientific principles.  He also performs the operation of hair-cutting and hair dressing, in the latest fashion and most approved style of the art.  Shampooing in the Asiatic method, as taught in Constantinople, is also his forte.  It will be his delight to render these operations as agreeable as possible without the aid of chloroform."

Blegen, Theodore C. "Minnesota Pioneer Life as Revealed in Newspaper Advertisements," Minnesota History, v. 7, no. 2, p. 99-121.

The Library's talented programmer, Mike Schatz, put a quiz on our internal library page a while back to help new staff recognize our bosses - all the legislators.  During this busy week of 76 hearings (as calculated by lobbyist Gary Carlson, posted on Twitter), we thought we should share the fun quiz on our legislator database page.  Perhaps you are stuck waiting for a hearing, or have a break between hearings? Challenge your friends. 

Play the quiz

Former state legislator, Minnesota House Speaker, and U. S. Congressman Martin Olav Sabo died yesterday.  Library staff remember Sabo as a user of the Legislative Reference Library through the years.

But in particular, we remember him fondly for a visit to the Library when he and former Representative Tom Berg came bearing wonderful pastries!  They had collaborated with several former legislators and staff to write the book, Minnesota's Miracle: Learning From the Government That Worked, by Tom Berg.  Shortly after the publication of the book, they brought pastries to thank Library staff for help with all of the research.  We were pleased to be given credit in the book – and honored to receive a visit from the two of them!